Stand by Your Words

Your kids have been bad this past week, haven’t they? Don’t worry; all the kids were bad this past week. I thought we were living an episode of The Twilight Zone. Turns out my theory wasn’t too far off. I was told by a rather chipper woman, who obviously did not have kids, that Mars is (or was?) in retrograde. Whatever the case, kids have been brats. Mine, yours, hers. All the kids. So, this is a good time for a PSA: To survive motherhood, you must mean what you say and stand by your words.

I am not above using threats to encourage good behavior or end bad behavior. But I am ashamed to say that I have not always followed through with said threats — sometimes they are just too outlandish, sometimes I am just too tired, and sometimes I’m just a sucker. You may say, sure, we all do that sometimes, but I don’t think we realize what a horrible impact it has on our lives.

When I don’t follow through, I’ve gifted Story with a starting point for next time. The child who cannot remember to put her shoes on before leaving the house remembers how long she had to whine before I gave in the last time. A recent conversation went on and on before I finally snapped and threatened to take her computer away. She was irritated that I was irritated and informed me that the last time she asked me for something five times, I gave in. I told her she went too far, and she couldn’t play on the computer that night.

Later that night …

Story is playing on the computer with my blessing as I make dinner in the kitchen. She had asked if she could help me, but I was tired and just wanted the chore to be done quickly. She acted like I hurt her feelings, and thus, I gave her computer privileges back in an attempt to both get her out of the kitchen and to atone for my bad attitude. The kid played me like a fiddle.

Don’t be me, moms. Think about what you are going to say before saying it. If you aren’t going to follow through to the letter, say something else. They already have us wrapped around their finger. Let’s not give them even more power. It will be hard to get it back as they get older.