Parenting is tough. I talked about this yesterday and shared how I interviewed myself and did some parenting self-reflection. Oh boy, it was an insightful day but one I’m so proud I did. I shed some tears and then blew my nose, put on some new mascara and made a plan.
Hint: Get your own version of my free parenting reflection interview printable by clicking here!
- Be consistent. I’m trying a reward chart and not just for a few hours or at best a week. No, I’m going to be consistent with this reward chart for 30 days. I want to “catch” my child being good. I want to focus on the positive and reward my child for staying calm, not yelling, following directions, being helpful and sleeping in her own bed. When these things happen I will give her a sticker. In a nutshell, I adapted this simple chart and created tangible rewards. Rewards that will encourage positive behavior such as, having a friend over, renting a movie with mom or dad, extra time before bed or a special surprise.
- Be positive. It is easy to focus on consequences or the negative. You can quickly fall into a trap where that’s all you do. I think we’ve fallen into that trap. To get out I’m using the rubber band method and I’ve posted reminders around the house of ways to praise my children. Sometimes it’s just the simple reminders that can make a world of difference.
- Be Real. You have to recognize that there will be bad behavior and have consequences. Instead of screaming I’ve duplicated this simple chart that lets my child know when I’m warning them for their behavior, when they have earned a time-out and a consequence. No talking, explaining or yelling just a simple visual. Exactly what I would use when I was teaching, a similar green, yellow and red light system, so to speak, and it eliminates arguments.
- Accept Responsibility. This is a tough one because all parents like to say they can do things because they’re the parent. I’ve heard it a million times. Do what I say but not what I do. To halt the screaming, bickering with my husband (which isn’t often but we do it when we’re stressed) and any other not so model behavior like a door slam, we as parents will pay a fine. Yes, a fine. Similar to the quarter jar but I’m upping the fine to $1.00. A quarter, I think I’ll not care so much about but a green bill…I might think twice. The money will all go to my children to split and I decided this because you know what, I don’t want them to have any more material possessions. Again, I’m trying to stop myself and the thought of giving them money to split and waist…it might keep me from screaming.
I should note, my husband wasn’t too keen on this one but he recognizes the need.
- Forgive Myself. I can beat myself up over my parenting interview questions and dwell on it. I can poke, pick and hate on myself until pigs fly. It won’t change anything. It will just hurt me more and that will only hurt my children. Little mistakes or a bad day do not make me a bad mom. I’m a damn good one and I know this. If I wasn’t a good one, I wouldn’t be trying so stinking hard.
- Focus on ME. I know this seems odd and I’ll talk a little more about this in another post but the idea is to take care of my needs so I can be a good mom. I always, always give to others and leave myself for last. I mean always. I say I won’t then I do. For example, I turn down work related travel because I feel guilty leaving my family. Though it would be good for me, I will say no. I won’t do evening bible study or other evening functions because when I do, I come home to chaos. I’ve created a family that depends on me but isn’t independent when I’m gone. It’s great to be needed but it’s suffocating me. To help everyone but mostly myself, I’m taking one night off each week. One night where I’ll leave at dinner time and bedtime and they’ll have to fend for themselves and get used to not relying 100% on mom!
This is a huge leap for me this mommy break once a week but I’m doing it. Even if I just sit at the end of the road and read a book.
So here it is, my plan. It’s not my word of the year for 2015 but it’s a New Year and I’m making some changes and reflecting on parenting.
What are your thoughts? I’d love your feedback!