This One's for the Moms

March 13, 2007

The comments from yesterday's post have an overarching theme of consistency. "You need to be consistent with your kid," wrote one reader, "or they'll think you're full of bullcrap." I couldn't agree more, consistency is key, particularly when it comes to the good old fashioned timeout--or watching SpongeBob SquarePants every night at six o'clock. But what do you do when you issue a handful or warnings and dozens of timeouts every day and your kid still continues launch plastic hand-tools at your eye sockets? I see several options:

1) Glue your kid's a** to the timeout chair (not recommended).
2) Get a part-time job (my approach).
3) Take cover behind double paned glass (Jared's approach--please call him on his cell to discuss your associated concerns).
4) Drink (also not recommended).
5) Send up a prayer of gratitude for a beautiful child who is developmentally on-track, read him 'The Hug Book' before bed, and scrapbook all about the tender teaching moment the two of you shared (now that's a load of bum fluff).
6) Drink (I'm beginning to lighten my views on this issue).
7) Hire a babysitter and peel out of the driveway so fast that it makes her little, adolescent head spin. Proceed--with haste--to any local restaurant, and laugh your guts out over an extra cheesy platter of Nachos Grande (highly recommended).

I would also like to point out that James is consistent in many, many ways. For example, the kid has been pooping in a diaper, every day, for almost three years. Despite our adamant attempts to curb this behavior, James continues in his ways and shows no signs of stopping.

Also, for the last few months, every time we ask James what color he would like us to paint his new room, he gives the very same answer--"triangle." We've explained to him, time and time again, that triangle is not a color, it's a shape. James won't hear of it. He simply waves us away and gives us a look that says, "I don't care if it's not a color. Find a way to pull it off you simple-minded peasants!"

He must have gotten his tendency toward resolve and consistency from somewhere, right? His parents' example perhaps?

He goes to bed every night at eight. He eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY!! He naps at noon. He says his prayers. He NEVER MISSES A NIGHT OF TEETH BRUSHING!!!! For the love of all things pure and holy, please tell me that I'm not an INCONSISTENT MOTHER! I'm like the Captain firggin' Von Trapp of mothers everywhere!!!!!
Fine, that last part was a lie, but I'm hanging on by a thread here.

I love to make fun of those washy-washy-push-over moms who find themselves on Super Nanny--they boost my self esteem, bless their haggard little souls. I certainly don't want to become one of them--because seriously, where would I find my source of self worth? From within? I don't think so.

I'm melting into a big ol' heap of Britney Spears over here, can you tell? If I could dance half as well as that woman I'd probably feel a lot better right now. But guess what!? I get tripped up doing the electric slide.

Go ahead and don't worry about leaving a "you're such a good mom" comment, because really, I'm pretty confident in my parenting. Read this post, and if you're a mom, a dad, a kid, or any kind of human being who has ever had a mother, remember that motherhood is the most challenging and most important job on the planet. We all second guess ourselves from time to time, and we should all cut ourselves a well deserved break and proceed with confidence.

Chances are, you're doing a great job as a mother. I know I am.

I am, right?


sherijung said...

One of the greatest gifts that our children give us is humility--it only feels like humiliation some of the time.

Don't worry, this will pass, he'll move on to some new way to embarrass you soon.

FYI, I'm speaking from long years of experience, being a mom of two boys, ages 19 & 15, who neither one wears a diaper anymore, and haven't bit me for at least a decade.

Laura said...

From one mormon mom to another--Man, I'd LOVE a Margarita!!!

Heidi said...

I'm totally consistent, too. Except when I'm too tired to push it. Or when I think they are actually funny.

But yeah, totally consistent.

Lindsey said...

Take the Jack Nicholson approach and squeeze where it hurts! (NO NOT THERE!) Take away a favorite toy (I suggest e-mail-the bear). Or, watching spongebob at 6:00. (How old is he again?) Oh, and go easy on the warnings, they go in one ear and out the other. One, MAYBE two warnings, and then deliver. :) Listen, I have a kid with Autism...I am all about behavior problems. At least your boy has the chance to out grow it. I will probably be giving Jaxon time-outs for hitting until he is 30! :) Ok, that was probably an over-exaggeration. :) You are a good mom and I believe you that you are consistant but then you have to have endurance too. Eventually, after a million time-outs he will outgrow it. ISN'T THAT HELPFUL!?! (it's motherhood)

Lindsey said...

Oh, and I am honored that you would quote me as saying BULLCRAP. :)

Anonymous said...

Juliette doesn't hit much, but if she's cranky and you do something that she doesn't like, she spits at you like a camel. I think by now she knows that if she spits in my direction its an automatic time-out, but sometimes she still seems to think its worth it to throw saliva my way while I drag her over church pews to get her to a time out. If only Alicia would let me use the shock collar...

Few ox said...

I think the consistency thing has a lot to do with both parents being consistent. My husband doesn't do the things I say when he watches our daughter, so she gets away with a lot when he's watching her.

Vanilla said...

I can't believe that no one has told you about the secret cure-all to all your woes. It's not consistency, it's not drinking (although that really helps a lot), it's not ignoring, or hugging or loving, it's really quite simple. Are you ready for it:

Have another kid.

My boys don't hit me, they don't talk back to me, they don't throw things at me. They do these things to each other! Then when they come and tattle to me about what their brother did I tell them to solve it on their own. They're learning valuable conflict resolution skills! Ta Da!

jkrunning said...

My daughter (the one who's almost 9 BTW) goes through phases like this every time her dad gets deployed or has to leave for extended periods of time. In my opinion, it's a reaction to change. He'll either get used to all the changes around him or, like me, you'll still be telling him that hitting is "not okay" for the next 10 years.

Bahston Beans said...

Forget about parenting, you're at least my second favorite cousin!

Amy said...

I'm working on Vanilla's solution myself. In the meantime, I like to think about all the bad parenting behaviors that I DON'T do. It's a really long list. Kind of a twist on the "count your many blessings" thing. Try it, you'll like it.

carla said...


my daughter? if you ask her how old she is she says (loudly):

(she's 2)


I wanna be force again.


Grandma said...

uh hellooo ...your mother ARE doing an excellent job as mom...I think he is so excited when you get home and he's reacting that way. Just keep up w/ your timeout routine.. OR you could have some Inspector Clouseau and Kato fun... hide behind the shower curtain and scare the crap out of him...or rent a shark suit and really scare him out of the water...just have fun w/ it.. now if he's hitting you when he is 5,that's a different story. Right now you have a kid who thanks me for reading a book, thanks me for buying strawberries when I take him to the grocery store... he'll pass through this phase.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

(I messed up my earlier post)

I'm not a mom - but I thought your post was hilarious...especially the part about your husband being inside. At least he was paying attention which is more than some kids can say of their dad.

And your son seems like a happy, healthy, normal kid. I would say that's doing a good job.

As for the rest of it? I've spent enough time with my niece and nephew to know they move out of these phases. Maybe not as soon as you like, but it does happen!

Brianna K. Grant said...

Vanilla is right ON!

In reality, though, we didn't find that taking away TV was a good solution (sorry Lindsey, it sounds like a good idea, but unless the behavior is related to the show, the problem balloons into new problems - tantrums about the show being taken away instead of the behavior you're trying to curb).

What about coming up with your own special "welcome home" greeting - some sort of silly dance or physical motions that give your son a chance to celebrate your arrival physically without being harmful? That way you're actually giving him a viable SOLUTION - something he can DO with his excitement to see you. Then, if you notice he's about to hit you in other situations, you can break into your dance and have him join you.

How's that for a concrete idea? Better than my posting yesterday, fer sure! What do ya say - will you give it a try?

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brianna K. Grant said...

Regarding that last post of mine - it is PURELY a suggestion based on what has sometimes been helpful at my house and you'll have to try it at your own risk (of failure or success!). Every kid is different (hooray!) and has his or her own way of dealing with discipline (totally frustrating!). It sounds like neither of us got an instruction manual with our "special deliveries"! :)

chattypatra said...

I just had a flashback to a family incident many years ago. We were at my father's sister's funeral, and one my cousins showed up with his wife and 2yr. old son. He was the cutest thing in the world, but was...let's say that your baby's behavior is NOTHING next to that boy's. The moment they walked in, he threw himself on the floor and began to scream at the top of his lungs. When they went to pick him up, he began to punch and kick everyone in his way. He kept screaming, and kicking, etc. His parents, I'm sure, wanted to die on the spot. They had to leave.

He was like that everywhere. They tried punishments, rewards, even therapy, but noooooo, the kid kept behaving that way. It almost broke up their marriage. Then, one day, he simply stopped being a brat and became a little angel. Never troubled them again.

Now he is a fine man. Go figure.

And the moral of the story is...this too shall pass? What do I know, Amy? I just want you to know that I love you, and I'm praying for all of you. Big hug!

Katherine said...

Being a mother to my child (who I love dearly) does make me understand why there are only childs in this world.

The Roberts' Report said...

Oh Amy, you're not a perfect mom. Neither am I. But we try our best. Even if our best sometimes includes yelling, slamming a door and a few #*&$(#* words! =)