Sunday Reset

Our week has come to a close.  The babes are sleeping.  The house is quiet.  For now.  During the last week, I yelled on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Thursday was rough.  Kids were crazy.  No one was listening.  I stepped on a Lego ship.  Need I say more?  Wednesday, there was a fight about homework (really with the math games?!  Is there not another way for him to learn less-than, more-than?  Whatever happened to the alligator eats the bigger number?!) and it ended with a thrown pencil, crumpled paper and then bed.  No one was happy Wednesday night.  No one.  Overall, I have to say that the week went well (aside from the above-mentioned incidents).  This week, I renewed my pledge to a rule I made about seven years ago: Commit to No.

The rule is pretty simple.  If you say no, commit.  Don’t give in.  If you can’t commit (or don’t have the energy and know that you’ll give in,) don’t say no.  Here’s the thing: You will actually say yes more.  If you Commit to No, you will have to evaluate everything in a different light.  Is this really a big deal?  Can I really commit to no on this?  If the answer to either of these questions is no, say yes.  

About a year ago, I read an article in one of those parenting magazines written by a dad.  You know, those ones that you read and think, Who the hell is this guy?  God, I wish my husband would read this…  Are there really dads out there who write this shit?  The article started out with the dad read something about what children remember the most from what their parents tell them.  The dad decides to ask his son what he hears him say the most.  The dad, expecting his son to say I love you or You are smart or Share!,  is shocked when his kid says the thing he hears his dear old dad-di-o say the most is No.  I re-read this about five time.  Why? Because my stomach had a sick ache.  I was sure my kids would say the same of me.  So sure, in fact, that I never wanted to ask them for fear that they would confirm my worry.  I say no all the time.

Why do I say no so much?  I have no idea.  Because I am lazy:  Will you put chocolate in my milk?  No. Can I paint?  No.  Because I am tired:  Can you chase us?  No.  Can we walk to the playground instead of drive?  No.  And sometimes for no reason.  Now Mamas…  I read back over the above questions and I am ashamed.  But I am being honest.  So please judge me quietly… And then look at all the questions you say no to.  Maybe you’re perfect and always tell your kids yes.  Or maybe you’re like me and say no too much.

Using the Commit to No rule, as I have for the last week, you I can guarantee that you will say yes more.  You will be required to do more, run more, deal with bigger messes and make a shit-load more chocolate milk.  But, your kids will be happier.  And they will do more of the things you ask them to do.  And you will yell less.  Committing to No will enable you to say yes more.  And it’s freeing.

I am definitely more tired at the end of this week.  All this saying yes-shit is exhausting.  But I didn’t yell nearly as frequently as I was at one point.  And my kids are happier.  And they did help me more, beg less, stop whining and… oh hell, they are still whining but I think they are whining a little less.  I think I am going to Commit to No again next week.  I want my kids to remember me saying Yes.

Peace Mamas.

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Lies, lies, lies.

So what drives me crazy?  Lying.  Oh how I detest lying!  Few things get under my skin then bold-faced, look-you-in-the-eye lying.  Which is exactly what happened tonight.

From the bathroom (this time, washing hands before dinner, not bedtime- surprise, surprise!): “You peed on me!”  “No I didn’t!”   “Yes you did, look there- there’s pee on my sleeve!”  “That’s not my pee.”  “Yes, it is!”  “No it’s- Owww!”  Boys, what’s going on in there?  Why is your brother crying?  “I dunno.”  “He hit me with his head, in my head!”  “No I didn’t!”  And so it begins.

Did you head-butt him?  No.  Well, he’s crying and you both have red dots on your forehead.  How did that happen?  I dunno.  Did you hit him with your head?  No.  Why is he crying?  Because he’s a baby and he peed on me.  I don’t think that makes sense.  Why do you have that reddish purple spot on your forehead?  He has one too… Did you head-butt him? No.  Look, I am pretty sure that’s what happened and I would like you to own up to it.  I don’t remember.  Did. You. Do. It?  No.

Seriously.  This conversation actually went down.  Pee on a sleeve.  Head-butting.  Lying.  I took a deep, deep breath.  Like the kind of breath you hope will cleanse you of all the rage coursing through your veins.  It was about 50% effective this time.  You have a choice to tell me the truth.  If you choose to lie, you’ll be sent to your room until you can tell me the truth.  Did you hit your brother with your head?  No.  Go to your room.  (In a calm, rational voice.  No yelling!)

He came down about four times and lied and was sent back to his room.  Things were shouted: You don’t love me!  I wish I had a different family!  You treat me like a fat rat!  (Where the hell did he get that one- hilarious!)  And this went on for about 20 minutes.  I kept my cool.  Reminded myself that he would come clean if I showed no emotion and stayed consistent.  Eventually, I went up and sat on his bed.  Honey, I know you are lying to me.  And I know that it must be making you feel terrible.  Let it out.  You’ll feel so much better.  Silence.  “Mom, I hit him with my head.”  Hallelujah!!!  Mama hugged that child so tight, told him she was proud.  That was about the moment she felt wet on her cheek from the child’s sleeve against her face.  Oh right, the piss.  On my face.  Shit.

No yelling.  It worked.  It actually fricken worked.  Will it work every time? No way in hell.  But it worked tonight.  We had a nice dinner.  There were only 37 complaints about dinner, one fight over who got the blue cup and two arguments about who wanted to share the favorite part of their day first.  (This is record-setting, people.)  And no one yelled.  It was a beautiful thing.  Day One: Back on the Wagon.

How do you deal with your kids lying?