Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the parroting of parenting


I love, love, love my lads. Adore them even.

But just not last week.

In fact, in my five years of parenting bliss, last week was my least memorable. And I knew it was bad before my husband said, "Babe, you usually love being a mum, but you're just not enjoying it right now."

He was sooo right. He didn't even need to say it. Because I had been my own reality check.

You see, I'd been listening to the voice that was coming out of my mouth and cringing at what was being said over and over again.

"Stop that!"

"Put that down!"

"Put that back!"

"Don't touch my stuff!"

"If I have to ask you again..."

Seriously. I was The Fish Wife. And then some.

And this was the moment where I realised that I'd stopped talking with my children and started barking orders at them. Just telling them what to do all the time. Oh wait. Hang on. Is that only me?

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me that it wasn't.

She said, "There are days when I put the kids into bed and realise that I haven't had one conversation with them."

Well, that was me last week.

I blamed the crazyness of week, the long work hours, my stress levels, and the fact that I was a bit tired too. Perhaps my expectations were a little high? Perhaps there was too much on? Perhaps they were being their active little selves, but I was not my usual tolerant self?

Perhaps all of those things. But the fact was, it had to change. I couldn't not enjoy my kids.

So, that night I went to bed right after the lads did. At 7:30pm. I read for an hour and then turned out the lights. The next day, things went a bit more smoothly, but still there was a bit of barking. Less animated I must confess (I'd said to myself there would be no more ordering from me). I spent more time with them, and made sure that there was a bit of positive attention to balance out all that negative stuff.

Another early night. And the next day was even better.

By the end of the weekend (and four more early nights), I must say the parroting has just about disappeared. And I made a bit of a revelation. The kids haven't behaved any differently. In fact, they're still up to their eyebrows in curiosity and exploring.

It's me that's changed.

I've re-prioritised my day. I've planned more play during the day. I've had more sleep. More relaxing down time. There were more cuddles. I've even looked at what I'm currently doing and working out what isn't necessary.

And I'm on my way to being less of a parrot, and more of a mother.

Do you have days where your parenting is more like parroting? How do you make it better?