Tuesday was not a good day. It felt like all I did was roll my eyes, tut and eventually yell at my kids. I have many reasons as to why, but in the spirit of positivity I won’t dwell on them.
I woke up yesterday and decided that I need to make it up to my girls. Yes, the ‘mom-guilts’ were dragging me down in full force.
I decided that for one day, no matter how hard it was, I was going to try my hardest not to say “No”. Instead I will attempt to respond to all their little requests, demands and orders (deep breaths), with kindness and positivity, even if the answer is in fact “no”.
It started off a little rough.
“Mommy, can I have 5 Oreos?”
Instead of saying “No”, my reply was, “I think two is enough, don’t you?”
Their response was acceptance. Clearly they were just pushing their luck.
Then there was the usual ‘outfit-of-the-day’ challenge. The plan was to take them to the nursery to play on the kids play area while I do a bit of blogging and have a cappuccino and soak up some fresh air and warm African sunshine. The youngest wanted to wear a party dress. Instead of saying “No, that’s impractical.” I explained that she wouldn’t be able to climb to the top of the jungle-gym/climbing frame, or slide down the slide if she wore a dress because then all the boys would see her knickers. She stared at me, blinked then chose a pair of tights! Whatever works right?
When we got there and we were ordering I asked them if they wouldn’t please share a toasted sandwich instead of a whole one each. They revolted. So I decided to get them one each. Normally I’d have said “No,” because I knew they wouldn’t eat it all. Me saying no would only have resulted in some kind of scene or tantrum, and I quite frankly was not up for that. As I predicted they didn’t eat any of it so we brought it home as take-away. In my head I apeased the control freak side of me by telling myself that at least I won’t have to cook or prepare lunch and quite possibly even dinner! Win, win! Apart from the empty pocket!
I let them play for a couple of hours. I did some blogging and Instagramming.
Eventually it was nearing the lunch rush and I decided to stop hogging the large table I’d commandeered and I went to sit on the bench and just watch them play. Eventually they tired and came to sit by me. When I asked if they were ready to go home, they said yes.
It was so strange. I’m so used to arguing and cajoling for almost every request.
It was so refreshing to have them just be ready.
We went home after that and the day progressed well. I let them swim when they asked. I let them play in the garden. I let them watch whatever they wanted on TV. I cooked them a dinner I knew they would love – roasted chicken pieces with rice and gravy.
In the evening they watched a little more TV and when it was bed time, they just went to bed, although they’ve always been really good at bedtime.
Although I’d love to take all the glory for what was a really good day, I don’t believe it was all down to my answering their requests positively. I think a good portion of it was not rushing them. I read a really great post by a fellow mom blogger Jaki Jellz – Why Am I Always In Such A Rush It’s well worth a read if you relate to any of what I am talking about. It really does get you thinking.
It’s the holidays now, so on most days there is no routine, no rush, no “hurry up”, “get in the car”, “get out the car”, “hurry up and eat”. During term time, some days are so busy, here there and everywhere that I feel like I’m either pushing them along, or dragging them along. I’m certainly not a perfect mom. I get stressed and I know that when I am stressed I yell. When I yell, they yell, or worse … they balk at every request I make of them.
Whilst I’m not claiming to have reinvented the wheel or had some kind of epiphany, I am going to make more of an effort to maintain this sense of relaxed calm, and use this holiday time together before school starts to recharge all our batteries.