This post isn’t totally a fail. But it is a very honest revelation of one my mediocre parenting mantras. Which, to the blissfully ignorant passerby, may seem a little…harsh.
Yesterday, while trying to cram way too much into too little time, the Nerd found me cleaning the kitchen in a huff. This in itself isn’t that unusual, because it’s not like I sing songs about rainbows and kittens while I wash dishes. But he knew something was up.
Nerd: What’s up?
Me: I had the whole house perfectly clean two days ago, and it’s completely destroyed now.
Nerd: Then why aren’t the girls cleaning?
Me: Because the ticket thing doesn’t always cancel out the attitude, and it’s Thanksgiving and I’m sick of the sighing and whining. I hate it when they get like that.
Nerd: What do you always tell other moms? “If you’re not making them cry at least once a day, you’re not doing your job.”
We laughed. We hugged. I stopped daydreaming about boarding school.
I actually do say that to other moms. I’ve had more than one ask me, “how I do it,” and I tell them it’s all about trial and error, and one magic tool: consistency. If I say you’re getting a time-out, you bet your bippy you’re getting a time out. And this is where it gets weird. They say things like, “Oh. That’s so hard for me. I just hate it when my kids get upset with me.”
And then I laugh hysterically and use my famous line:
Sweetie, if you’re not making them cry at least once a day, you aren’t doing the job right.
Hyperbole, of course. Goo loses it over something pretty much daily, but Smush and Punkin don’t. The idea is that it’s not my job to appease you. It’s my job to raise you. And those are two very, very different things.
I’ve read books about effective discipline, effective communication, even effective praise. The market is saturated with these manuals. Maybe I should write a parenting book full of my nuggets of wisdom.
- Love them unconditionally.
- Pee with the door open.
- Emphasize good vocabulary.
- Make them cry at least once a day.
Mediocre parenting in four easy steps. Who needs parenting books?