Parent hard. Play hard.
I wrote this post four years ago to the day. Not a lot has changed, still working on teaching the boys to offer to help more and pitch in.
Erik has been going through an emotional phase. When we reprimand him, he gets emotional, which can feel a bit manipulative. For example, today, when I picked him up at after-school care, he saw me and kept right on doing what he was doing. I said, "Come on guys, clean-up, let's go."
Even the teacher told Erik to clean up. He took his sweet time. I decided to not snap at him at daycare. I let my voice get a little lower and he finally got going. It took 15 minutes to finally get them in the car. It is now 5:45 p.m. 15 minutes can feel like forever when you have been driving for 40 minutes just to get there. My patience was thin. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I get about four hours a day during the school week with my guys and I need to not start our less than three hours together off on the wrong foot.
"Hey Erik," I said when we finally got into the car. "Yeah?" said Erik. "Next time I come to pick you up, you need to hustle. When you see me walk through the door, you need to stop what you're doing, pack-up and say goodbye to your teachers," I scolded him. "I do NOT want to wait around for you. It was not polite of you to ignore me today and make me wait. I don't like it when you ignore me and don't do what I ask. Do you understand?"
He was quiet for just a moment and then he said, "You're hurting my feelings, Mom." I could have responded in so many ways. I think I said, "I don't mean to hurt your feelings. I am upset because you ignored me."
We got home. Started dinner. Went about our evening. We were fine, but man, the end of the day stuff with the boys, is SO hard some days. It isn't all love and hugs. It's "Hang up your backpack, put your lunch on the counter, pick up your room, do your homework, stop fighting, wash your hands, set the table, etc." I can see why it would be so much easier to stop the nagging and just let them zone out. But I don't want that. I need to dig into my patience reserves and provide the direction these kids need to be thoughtful. They so quickly slide into just thinking about themselves. As soon as dinner is over they are asking for something else--I mean my goodness! I need to work with them more on cooking and cleaning up after dinner. They need to make their lunches. They need to take a more active role so they can be more aware that when they help, it helps the entire family. I'm rolling up my sleeves and getting to it. Wish me luck.