As a mother of two rambunctious boys, I go to bed every night reviewing the day’s events and willing myself into Being A Good Mom. Life isn’t perfect, and we all need to-do lists to keep us on track. Hence, my top five Parenting Resolutions for 2011.
1. Accept the madness. It’s not you, it’s me. Kids are, by definition, curious and full of energy. If they want to run around the house with boxes on their head then so be it. I’m just the gal who applies band-aids when they inevitably run into a doorpost. Soon they will learn all by themselves that it just doesn’t make sense to cover your eyes while flailing through the house like a headless chicken.
2. Feed them when they’re hungry. If they want snacks at 7am, that’s absolutely fine. We’re not talking radioactive “cheese-flavored” dust particles, we’re talking apples, toast, raisins, maybe even a cookie or two. It’s not going to kill them to have a couple of Oreos when they feel the need for speed. And it probably won’t ruin their appetite. Trust me, these guys could put away a spit-roasted goat every three hours.
3. Let them fight it out. Martial arts classes have taught my boys the importance of discipline and controlled physicality. Plus, it’s always good to know a few moves, and boys will be boys! Better to be wrestling at home than punching classmates at recess. But once Fun Time is over, it’s important to balance out that freedom with a little Quiet Time.
4. Don’t mind the ruined walls. They can be repainted. And respackled. And, yes, rebuilt — like the spot above the sofa where Big Foot took a tumble. Or in the playroom where the table somehow became rocket-fueled. The way I see it, panicking about damage ultimately leads to cardiac pain or ulcers. Better to designate one room in the house where kids are Categorically Not Allowed. For example, my kids respect that they may not enter the sitting room. Which is where you will find my photo albums, pretty candles and, on occasion, me. Undamaged!
5. Shout less. I generally don’t shout at my kids (or at anyone else’s kids!). I don’t even shout when my appliances break down (mmm, maybe once or twice). But in order to MAKE MYSELF HEARD above the incessant noise of costumed mini Iron-Men, flight simulators, and diggers that are backing up, I do have to use my Soccer Coach voice at least once a day. (Or is that once an hour? Can we please Listen To Mommy For A Minute?!!) So my goal is to break out of this bad habit. But how? Please see points 1-4.