Today, we got up and did all the things. The kids had breakfast, we started working on the letters “w” and ”z,” I made fresh fruit pouches, and we just hung out.
But, then, it happened. Everything, all at once, went to hell. Toys needed cleaned up and the reward was going to be playing outside.
The living room was easy, they had that done in no time. Their bedroom, though, was a different story entirely. Jax disappeared, and Luci spent an hour, an hour screaming bloody murder. Simply because she didn’t want to pick up. Seriously? Yes. Super serious.
I should have talked to God. I should have taken a step back, prayed, and asked for guidance. But, I am flawed. Just as I am sure the rest of you are, too. Next time, I will do better.
But, friends, I yelled. Oh boy, did I yell. I swatted her butt, and I took every single toy in that room away. I left the doll house, etc. but the actual toys they need to go with that stuff is put away. They are currently in bags in the basement. (The toys, not the kids, just to clarify.)
I do not beat my children, I promise. But I do see nothing wrong with the occasional swat to the bum if nothing else is working. We’ve tried it all. Gentle parenting, corner sitting, ignoring the behavior, the list is endless.
I did give her a chance to calm down and choose what she wanted to do. I didn’t entirely just jump to a spanking and remove the toys. But, after being continually screamed at, I lost my shit. I know, I do. She’s only almost 5, we haven’t been sleeping great, and life is just full of stressors right now. But, please, understand this is a battle we’ve been trying to conquer for years. This is nothing new to us, and something has to change, it’s just time.
We recently started breaking down picking up into lists as a way to make it easier. And it did, for a short time. They would pick up one set of toys at a time and work their way to the end of the list. That worked well for a short time, but we’re back to straight doing absolutely nothing.
These little humans will pick up toys no problem for their dad and grandma. If mommy isn’t home, it’s easy to do what their told, but if mom is asking, holy buckets. How dare I ask them to clean their messes! What a mean, mean mama I am. No, not really. I know it isn’t mean to ask children to clean up after themselves and help take care of the hurricane they’ve sent through the house.
Yes. When Luci gets up from her nap, I will apologize. We will talk about what happened and work through it together without our voices raised. No, the toys will not be coming back upstairs for an undetermined amount of time. I may have crossed the line with my voice and giving her a swat, but that doesn’t mean I was entirely wrong.
Learning has to happen, and a lesson, or two, needs to be taken from what we endured this afternoon. I struggle when my children don’t listen, because all I want to tell them is that I’m the mom and I need listened to too, just the same as other adults. But, all that plays in my mind is that scene from Matilda. You know, the one where the dad says “I’m big, you’re little. I’m smart, you’re dumb,“ etc. and I would never say those things to my little people, so I have to learn to be gentle and kind with them. Just as I want them to grow up and go into the world being gentle and kind to others, I have to first plant that seed in them for it to be something they can harvest and share with the world when that day comes.