Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On Being a Good Parent

Don't you hate it when being a good parent interferes with being a fun parent?

Two weeks from today, I will be putting ALL THREE of my kids on a bus. Gah, it chokes me up just to think about it. Between being gone for a few weeks and dealing with the basement upon our return, we haven't had much time for our "typical" summer fun. Enter "Fun Mom." Fun Mom wants to squeeze in as much excitement as possible into the next two weeks. She wants to fill--and possibly overfill--every single day with fun and memories. She also wants a good night's sleep, but realizes that is just wishful thinking.

Yesterday, I had to put Fun Mom on hold for just a taaaaaaaad bit longer. We had some "must do's" on the list, and we got those all out of the way--and still managed to have a pretty good day--so that today we could jump right in on the fun!

Well, maybe not RIGHT in. I did need to go grocery shopping first. But while the kids got ready, I planned out our meals and our grocery list. Then I skimmed through my many ideas of fun things to do and selected the perfect one for our crew for today. I even told them that they could get a Lunchable at the grocery store for a picnic lunch. (This is a major concession. I typically allow this on the first day of school and for field trips. I'm not a fan of Lunchables.)

We arrived at the grocery store, and before entering we went over the rules for appropriate behavior. And the consequence for not behaving appropriately (cancelling our plans). By the time we were halfway through the produce section, I had to remind them gently about their behavior. Overall, they really weren't being bad, but by the time we got to the check-out, I had given them THREE more reminders. That's much more than I typically would, but again... their behavior wasn't bad, just... a little wilder than I expect them to be in that setting. Plus I really wanted to go to the park today. But finally, I had to give them "the final warning" as we put the items on the check-out belt. "This is it, guys. If we have to talk again, we won't be going anywhere today."

And then it happened again.

I really wanted to go to the park.

A lot.

But I had already said it. And honestly, I shouldn't have let it get to that point. And to tell you the truth, it wasn't even the behavior itself that was the problem. It was the complete lack of remorse or change in behavior that had come from the previous warnings. They weren't taking me seriously--they weren't even hearing me.

So we're not at the park. We're at home.

And don't get me wrong. I'm not locking them in their rooms for the day. I haven't taken away all of their toys (or books, in Lamb's case) and told them they're only staring at the walls and eating broccoli until bedtime. We're going to have fun. At home.

But we're not going to the park.

Even now, I don't want to follow through. I want to say, "Let's just extend some grace. They'll appreciate what I'm doing for them!" And there's a time for grace. And there's a time for doing what you say you're going to do.

Today is the day I have to stick to my guns.


(But tomorrow we're going to the zoo.)

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