my original title said Foul instead of Fool- typing late at night does that to me 🙂
Tonight was a real test if I was going to display the gentleness that I have been striving towards with my kids.
I decided to let the kids sleep in the living room tonight which meant a later night because it was out of the normal routine.
It is 10:15pm and Isaiah is still up. I want him to come sleep on the brown couch with me instead of the green couch. He wants me to sleep on the green couch. I tell him that I want to sleep on the brown couch. Back and forth we debate.
The loud sobbing starts, the girls are already asleep but not for long with this act starting.
I try to reason with him that I cannot sleep with him on the green couch because it will make my back hurt. This only causes louder crying. Seriously, what am I thinking trying to reason with a 3 year old at 10:15 at night. foolish.
I give in and lay on the green couch. The tears stop, he is silent as he nuzzles up against me. He is asleep within 5 minutes. You gotta choose your battles wisely.
This same scenario has played out many times with a different result because I did not choose gentleness.
Instead of was too proud and stubborn to keep the peace. I was determined to force my way and my will upon an irrational toddler. (at total duh moment for me- he does not even have the same rational thinking abilities that I have so why do I try?) And the results were 20 minutes of crying and screaming back and forth at each other. And often lots of spanking to let them know I am the boss and will get my way. (I am not anti spanking, i have used it plenty but after 10 years of parenting- realizing it is not always the most effective and I often used it out of anger).
Tonight I could have listened to the voices in my head(whether they be actual words spoken to me in the past or things I read or things I saw on tv, etc.). The voices saying:
- “You know you are going to spoil him.”
- “Give in this time and he wont listen to you.”
- “You’re teaching him that he is the boss.”
- “You can’t give in to him.”
To all that I say, “blah, blah, blah.” Many times I have listened to those voices instead of the small voice that says to be gentle and loving. True, he won the battle tonight. But I too won a battle tonight. But my son wasn’t the enemy to win against. My battle was within me. The battle to stay calm and gentle when I really wanted to smack some booty and yell how I am tired and want to sleep etc. I could have gone the latter route and “got my way” but it would not have lead to peace.
So I don’t think he won and I lost. I think we both won. He got to have his mom close to him as he fell asleep, not an evil thing to want. By him getting his way does not turn him into a brat. He is a good boy who cleans his room when I ask, says “yes, mom” most times when I ask him to do something, is super sweet to kids younger than him, continually thanks me for taking him places or giving him things and the list goes on. My perspective is shifting lots as I get older and have been doing this mom thing for over a decade now. Man, I wish I knew these things years ago when I was a younger mom but perhaps I can spare other young moms from making my mistakes.