I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A skills chain

I want my children to grow up and know how to cope with life.  I never felt able to cope with my life.  I never felt in control, I often feel dissatisfied, I often feel unfulfilled, I never felt I could manage on my own.  I spend a lot of my time and energy trying to manage my life.  It is easier in some areas than it is in others.  I once wrote how I was perfecting my 'homely tidying' skills in order that I would have that sorted and manageable when the time came for me to need it.  Boy was I prophetic there!  With two toddlers and a husband, my skills have come in handy!  They are by no means complete though and there are glaring gaps in my skill set.

I don't want this for my kids so I spend a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that whenever stressful things happens in their life, they can find ways to cope and ultimately feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy with themselves and their abilities. 

I know I am failing to a certain degree when I find myself in situations where I am shouting at the girls or I am threatening to send them to bed because they have once again jumped on me, causing me to jar and make my back pain worse.  This is what I did tonight and I knew when I said it that it was a ridiculous empty threat borne of tiredness and pain and not one that I would actually carry out.  As if them being 'sent to bed' would in ANY way make life easier, happier or enjoyable for anyone.  For a start, I would be going with them since they are not actually able or ready to do it themselves.  Its a chain though, its a slope.  A slopey chain.  If I start with threats of sending to bed, I could lessen to threats of sending to room which is just one step away from 'The Naughty Step'...just exactly where I don't want to start. 

Its a technique that many parents are encouraged to use because it seemingly works.     It works through fear and humiliation.  The child is left simmering alone in their own feelings with no-one to connect to and understand what is happening. It belittles children and undermines a connected loving relationship. It cuts off communication and causes frustration and a feeling of uselessness.  These threats do not create harmony, they do not create comfort, they are by their very nature scary, threatening and authoritarian.  Its serve no purpose and benefits no-one.

So back to skills.  Providing my girls with the skills to manage their own lives is proving quite difficult for someone whose own skill set is woefully lacking.  Encouraging my girls to use their strength and confidence to sort out life's issues when I find myself lacking in these areas, is a hard slog.  Doing it in a consciously respectful and gentle way is not always as simple as it sounds.  'Use your words' is fast becoming a stock phrase in our house with my 4yr old often saying it to me as well.  Its really hard to 'use my words' when the words coming out of my mouth are loud and ugly!  When my initial instinct is to 'freak out' which results in saying something mean or upsetting.  I can hear myself say the words and I think 'OMG did I really just say that', it was totally unhelpful. At least one skill they are learning from me is apologizing for unacceptable behaviour!! 

I am really starting to change my initial reaction, its a work in progress but awareness is my friend,sometimes though, I am just too tired of having to be 'on the ball' and my authentic sullied self shines through.  Sometimes I don't know what to do with my feelings, so its no wonder my kids don't use their words sometimes.  I can see their difficulty.  Who see's mine?

Meltdowns - increasing due to changes
Losing the Plot - lessening but possibly due to brain deadening!
Breastfeeding - still the elixir of our lives


  1. I love this! I have the same weaknesses and rely all too often on "go to bed" with my oldest. It's something I struggle with and I'm glad I'm not alone. It is very difficult sometimes, but we're mindful of it and that's something.