Okay, so when it comes to your kids in the overall scheme of things, as they develop their personalities over time, it is you. It’s mostly you. Their habits, responses and actions will take flight from the base of your example, barring extenuating circumstances. As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that your kids are equipped to handle the problems of the world around them in as healthy a way as possible. This is no small task. No pressure.
That being said, their day-to-day shenanigans are not always your fault, so stop beating yourself up. Continue with an even hand at the tiller and as much compassion and consistency as you can muster through both the good and bad times, but don’t think you’ve failed if your kids don’t respond accordingly. If they’re my kids’ age, it’s par for the course, and it’s not your fault. Okay, okay, maybe that’s just what I’m telling myself.
Anyway, this comes from watching my twins on the daily and constantly feeling like I’m letting them down, like I’m not engaging them enough, like they’re usually upset because I’m doing something wrong. Like I’m raising hellions, and they deserve better.
Usually, my kids will be good – really, really good – for a period of weeks or even months. When that happens, I feel like I’m on top of the world, like whatever issues I had, I clearly thought around and made up for with my awesome parenting prowess.
No sooner than I’m feeling somewhat better about myself as a parent, do things go straight in the toilet. The tantrums start up again, the arguing, the fighting, the disobedience. And it continues. And it continues. And I start to worry. What have I done wrong now? How are my actions causing this? Where is my parenting handbook that will teach me how to make my children happy?
These phases last usually two weeks or so, and they erase the memory of the good times. Or, if I’m lucky, a faint memory remains, only to be tinted by the in-my-face fact that that was then, and this is now. I try to think back. What did I change? The answer is nothing. I didn’t do a thing differently, other than adjust to their quickly developing natures.
The bad times always last just a day or two longer than I think I can bear. I’m always sure if it goes on for another day, it will be the end of me. And then it goes on for another day, and I somehow survive, only to think the same thing about the next day.
And then, like a switch, it changes. My sweet, well-behaved, laughing, playing, creative, funny, intelligent children come back.
We’re on day two of the good times. I hope it lasts forever, but I have my doubts. I will, though, most certainly try to remember all the other times this cycle has happened in this house, and I will try to grit my teeth through the bad times, be consistent, and carry on until the good comes back again.
Tales of an Unlikely Mother is on Babble.com. We’re number 14, just scroll down and click on the thumbs up!