Clean up…a reprix

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Yesterday I posted about the thrilling evening I had with my kids trying to get them to pick up. (If you missed it, you can read about it here) It’s never fun to admit the struggles we have as a parent…that we are less than worthy of the task given us. Here…for your reading pleasure…are a few tips that help me to avoid this kind of fiasco about (if I’m honest) 90% of the time. These are of course the tips I did NOT follow the other night.

1. Quiet Time: I absolutely HAVE to have some time with myself and God every morning or things will not go well. That time of talking to God about the previous day, contemplating what went well and what didn’t, what my hopes are for the day, all help get me focused on the important things and adjust my attitude. Whether or not you’re “religious”, taking some time alone at the start of the day is still beneficial. Give it whirl…you might be surprised to find God answering you. 😉

2. Focus on what is fair: I usually focus on what I THINK is fair. The kids made the mess, they should clean it up. But if I’m totally honest, I was a complete slob growing up. I am amazed my parents have any hair left after dealing with getting me to clean up anything. So after all the grace they gave me, the least I could do is grant my own kids some. (at least the first two…right?)

3. Let them do it their way: As long as they’re picking up, I need to stop making them do it my way. It doesn’t need to be fast, or perfect. I struggle with this one. I like everything to have a place, and then to actually be in that place. So when they chuck things willy nilly I get tense. Gotta let it go and give them some room so they feel successful.

4. Remove myself from the situation: If I can’t handle it, I need to get out of there. Usually I am pretty good at this. Telling the kids that mommy needs a break and zoning out to some soothing tunes or doing some mundane task until I am calmed down. But occasionally I don’t realize I am going to snap until it’s too late. Usually, it’s either when I am super tired, coming down with something, or that dreaded “time of month”. But it comes down to this…I would rather send my kids to their rooms for a little bit then try to tough it out when I know I am no longer capable of acting reasonably. Maybe it’s not the best discipline solution at the moment, maybe something more constructive or something that applies to the actions would work better, maybe they’ll cry the whole time they are in there…but if I send them to their room before I lose my cool then all they know is mommy is frustrated and needs a break. (yes, I am aware that the previous sentence probably broke about 100 grammatical rules…tough. I suck at grammar.) Not that mommy is a terrifying rage monster with psychological issues. You tell me which one is better.

5. Don’t end my day with it: The best thing I ever did was stop having the girls pick up at the end of the day. We pick up before dinner so we have plenty of time to cool off and make up if things go poorly. Even the other night, I made up with the girls and we all had dinner together. I was able to tuck them in when we were all happy and calm. The last thing they experienced that day was peace and not turmoil. It really does work!

So those are some things I’ve learned through many trials and even more errors. You can take it or leave it. I wish you all happy homes! Tomorrow is a new day!

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