A couple of weeks ago I posted about letting yourself be silly and letting your kids see a lighter side if yourself. This week I’m going to piggyback on that post. My daughter and I were walking to volleyball practice and she wanted to play make-believe. Naturally, she was the mom and I was her.
I couldn’t stop laughing!
I hadn’t had fun like that in a while. She did such a good impression of me and I think she was equally impressed that I could play her so well. It was funny to hear my words and my reactions coming out of her mouth. I must say that I’ve come quite a long way over my almost 8 years of being a parent.
In the beginning it wasn’t too hard to be a nice mom. Then she started talking which led to talking back, and ultimately giving her unsolicited opinion for everything. That’s when it started to get challenging and that was only two years into the game. I always thought I’d be this great mom because I would remember how wronged I felt as a kid always being told what to do, bossed around and hushed. I’m here to tell you, for a while I did exactly what I didn’t like being done to me.
To summarize a long story we got into a battle of the wills. My daughter would challenge everything from getting up in the morning, to what to have for breakfast what to wear to school, to getting ready for bed. Even when I thought she was getting what she wanted and I would surely avoid an argument by giving it without being asked somehow even then an argument would ensue.
I tried everything from time out, distraction, to rationalization, and ultimately went with yelling. As ugly as it is, it always got results. It got to the point I would ask something once and would proceed to yell it if it wasn’t done the first time because it got her attention and got things done.
I remembered how much I hated getting yelled at as a kid but now I understand my father’s frustration. I remember asking him why he yelled at me all of the time and his answer was, “because you don’t listen when I ask you nicely”. “Yes I would”, I thought to myself. Then I realized that most of the time I tuned him out. Even still I used to think he was being unfair and didn’t understand but now I understand first hand how things got to the point they did. Don’t misinterpret this, I’m not condoning it all I’m saying is I’m human and the battle of the wills wore me out and I didn’t have the parenting tools at my disposal at the time to handle the situation a different way.
I’m proud to say that I am no longer a chronic yeller. I might let a bellow of frustration out every now and then but it’s very seldom. It took a lot of work and honestly I had to go in my room and blow off steam for the first several months but it was worth it because I feel much better about my parenting and the family dynamic is much better.
I know it seems like I got off track but all of that was to say that just because I don’t yell doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to work on. Playing make believe with my little imitation mommy I realized that I now need to work on what I say and how I say it. Nothing she said shocked me to my core but being in the role of a seven-year-old I realized that when I got back to being Mom I could be more tender, kind and delicate with my words. I love my girls with every fiber of my being and try to be not only the best mom but the best person I can. So I think we might indulge in make believe a little more often so I can see if I’ve made any progress.
What are your thoughts on this week’s topic? Are you silly enough with your kids? Have you switched roles while playing make-believe? Are you or have you ever been a chronic yeller? Are you still? If not, what did you do to break that habit? If you haven’t switched roles playing make-believe will you try it?