And today is one of those days. Well, this week, actually, is one of those weeks where I feel like I suck as a mother. Not really because of something that I’ve done but because our boys’ behavior is just. not. nice. Nor is it fun, thoughtful or endearing.
In an attempt to fix this issue, I put roughly a dozen parenting books on hold at the library, pulled several others off the dusty shelves here at home, and have found myself looking to online resources and magazines for advice. Because I have this sense that it’s us. The reason they are being absolutely obnoxious is us. The only explanation for their crazy, yes, I’d even call it pissy, behavior is that…we’re doing something wrong. Surely, we are bad parents or we wouldn’t be experiencing these tirades from a three and six year old.
But, are we so bad? Even while I’m piling guilt on myself I have a little voice in the back of my mind saying, “Pssst…your kids are pretty darn lucky, little lady.” In a quiet moment, I have to agree with this voice. We listen to them. Provide them options. Allow them to play often and express their opinions. They have a surplus of toys, they’re clothed, fed, housed and get a lot of attention.
What explains these grouchy outbursts every night, then? From where on earth do these scowling faces come? And, the demands about dessert (even when food hasn’t been tasted)? Or the occasional raised fists (when they are told it’s time for bed), yelling (when it’s time to pick up toys) and slamming of doors (when teeth need to be brushed)?
I get it that it’s not fun to be told what to do. But here’s an idea…do it first, without being told, and then you don’t need to be grouchy. (If you heard sarcasm with a hint of snarky through the wires, it wasn’t your imagination.)
So I’ll see if the books give me tips on fixing this. Or if this, too, is just a phase that will pass. In the meantime, you’ll find my husband and me at the dining room table attempting to gather our thoughts amidst all of the outrageous behavior.