There are a lot of things I do amazingly well as a mom. I’m loving, I’m understanding, I’m always on time for school pick ups and drop offs and I can always make my kids laugh. I wrestle with them, I play catch in the yard and only one time was my homemade apple sauce too cinnamon-y.
But I am learning to be tougher on the discipline front.
Sometimes my boys get physical (normal boy stuff), say they wish they never had a brother (not true) and one day they told me that if I didn’t let them have popcorn for breakfast they would hit me in the bum (it doesn’t hurt). They also spilled a bag of popcorn on the carpet one evening and in an effort to vacuum the mess, they inadvertently made a dent in my kitchen wall.
Sometimes amid all the action, I’m not sure which discipline technique to use. Do I count to three? Send them into a timeout? Give them a consequence? Take away a point or star on their reward chart? I also think about whether they really meant what they said and if they intended to dent the wall. By the time I’m done thinking and debating the moment has passed and they love each other again.
It took me a while to get somewhat comfortable with my boyfriend seeing such scenes unfold. Early on in our relationship I was afraid he’d give up on me and my kids; that he would leave and never look back. But now I know that I can look to him for advice.
“No popcorn,” he mouthed to me after the popcorn spilled and the vacuum dented the wall.
Instead of crying in embarrassment, which I would have done not too long ago, I told the kids that there would be no popcorn and I explained why. They cried and fussed for a minute and finally they went up to bed.
I’ve noticed that couples are often comprised of one softer parent and one disciplinarian. I’ve gone all these years with nobody there to prop me up. I do my best to make sure they are gentle and loving, that they don’t dent walls, but sometimes I need a boost of confidence. It can be challenging doing the job of two people when I’m one, but now I’m feeling like I’m not in this alone.
My boys are amazing, but with a little help, I bet I’ll have fewer dents in my wall.