Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stop it, mom!

It's been one of *those* days. Or has it been one of *those* weeks?! I just can't seem to get it right. On the motherhood front, that is. In fact, as I type these words, I feel the hot sting of tears welling up in my eyes. A fear that I might be damaging my little ones. Its a cycle that just doesn't seem to end this week. The two boys have picked up a REALLY bad habit the past few weeks of yelling at each other. And I'm not talking playful banter, I'm talking mean-spirited, spiteful words and tones.

"Stop it!" (Picture daggers and evil being thrown with each word) seems to be a favorite right now. "Stop it, Quinn!" "Stop it, Turner!" "Stop it, mom!" Oh those words send me. It's not just the words, its the tone. The meanness that should NOT come from a two year old heart. Or maybe it should. If I believe in a sin nature (which I do!!!) I should probably be more surprised when a loving, caring and thoughtful word flows forth. But oh the nails on the chalkboard.

And I swear they totally have me. The worst offenses happen as we are traveling 70mph on I-75 and I am utterly defenseless. Every threat of consequence is empty, because lets be honest, what am I *really* gonna do about it? Even by the time we get to where we are going, the *teachable moment* has passed us by (going 70mph, I might add.)

Example today, after lunch, even Olivia got into the act. The "stop it's" started to fly. Then the physical pickings started to happen. I calmly and collectively put O in a time out. Her response? "NO!" Okay, I don't know about you, but the sassy attitude and disrespect from a 4 year old gets me like no other. I'm sure Super Nanny (or the Holy Spirit for that matter) would have me coolly and calmly walk over to her, give her a choice to enter time out by her own free will or have me carry her there. Instead, I whip out my pointer finger and order her to time out (again.) Her reply? "NO!"

In the maturity of the 37 year old mother that I am, I reply, "FINE!" And I pick her up and forcefully put her in time out (don't send the authorities to my place, it wasn't THAT forceful.) In which she replies, "NO" and stands up. I warn her if she sasses back during time out there will be a consequence of soap in the mouth. She replies "no" under her breath but certainly loud enough for me to hear. Crap. I have to follow through. I get the soap. And stomp back to her. She starts screaming, kicking and shaking her head violently. I manage to rub my finger to her lip. Just as she opens her mouth a crack she pushes my hand away and my thumb nail catches the inside of her lip/gum line. She is screaming bloody murder and a touch of blood trickles down her chin.

Now we are both in tears and I apologize for accidentally hurting her. But what I really want to do is blame her.
"If you hadn't disobeyed me in the first place... "
"If you hadn't pushed my hand..." etc.

After the tears and theatrics were done, (and once O stopped crying too) we managed to talk it out. I explained that consequences could be avoided with obedience. (Maybe that one was more for me than her.)

I guess all in all, I'm just having a hard time figuring out what is worth punishment and what to let slide. What are my personal issues (being disrespected, pride, expectations etc.) and what are true character issues that need to be addressed in my children.

I am sad that I don't do it perfectly. I am sad that my kids don't do *it* perfectly. I am sad that Jesus had to die on the cross because we don't do it perfectly. I am thankful for grace and mercy. But I just wish I didn't have to learn hard lessons at the expense of my kids.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. As would prayers! Lord knows we need 'em around here! And if you can't relate because your children are angels than you can just STOP IT!


Kelly's Lucky You said...

I'm a new follower stopping by for UBP. I love when you write about the maturity of a 37 year old - that "Fine!" comes out of my mouth way too much, hehehe. Also, "no, YOU!" just like kindergarten *sigh*.

Nice to meet you. Stop by and see me and I hope you'll follow back!

Inviting you to Facebook Fan-You-Back!

jenny from mommin' it up said...

I feel ya! "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Dr. Leman really helped me deal w/ Joshua's kindergarten-induced sassiness. I need to get it out and read it again so I can apply it to Sophie's new-found kicking habit! It's an easy read w/ an alphabetical topic index in the back - woohoo!

Stef said...

Popping my head into the party! I hate being the heavy...mommyhood would be much funner if someone else got to be the bad guy. But then again, we would miss out on the "increase of love."
Guilt doesn't always mean you have done just means we wish we didn't have to do it emotionally.
You are a great mom!
stef at

Melissa said...

Woah, Mom, let's take a breather. We all go through this. There was a time when I was exhausted with my newborn that my daughter's attempts to get attention through acting out in all ways, drove me to my limits. After losing my control twice in one day, I began praying for the strength to be a better parent.

While that helped, it helps to get your priorities straight, you're right. Maybe you should make a list of the things that are important to you and why to decide what you should discipline and what you can let go.

Watch the nanny. She has a nice way of pointing out that with kids, you always get what you give.

Stick your ground. Consistency is everything. It doesn't matter if they have you when you are in the car. They don't because you control their environment. You Always have them. Don't let your confidence falter.

Change your attitude. Are all limbs attached? Is everyone alive? Then, its okay. We can calmly deal with things from there.

Remember, children are learning. They learn how to interact with people from you primarily and then they practice those habits with their sibling and then outside the home. They are not doing things to upset you or get you worked up. They just need to be led in the right direction. They are learning.

Ok, now that I officially sound like Mommy Poppins, I should say that I am not, at all. It's all documented on my blog, I swear :)

Found you through the UBP and really glad I did.

Heather said...

Hey Elizabeth! The one thing that came to mind is more about how you respond AFTER you feel that you've screwed up. Let's face it, we're going to make mistakes as mom - not that we want to. But the one thing I'm learning is to immediately own my actions when they are wrong towards my daughter and apologize and ask for forgiveness. It doesn't make what I did right, but I am showing her the right way of dealing with things when I do something wrong. Just my two cents! I sincerely appreciate your vulnerability in sharing about this! :-) There are many days I feel like a complete failure as a mom, but I have to give myself some grace. I'll always be a "new" mom. My little girl is four, but I have no idea what it will be like for her to be five or 10 or 15. Every stage is new to me. Thanks again for this post!