My Bad Mom Day & Serving Time
I feel like my parenting learning curve is not progressing as quickly as my daughter’s ability to adapt to discipline. This isn’t the first time we have run into this problem either.
I had another post ready for today but then life happened and I felt that this needed to be shared instead.
She is seven going on 15. A lot of parents make those comments regarding their children’s sassiness, but with this girl; I have found myself getting advice from women who are facing the same problems with their teenage daughters.
She has the biggest heart, she is smart and creative, and she is always on the move. When it comes time to discipline her, regardless of the consequence, it doesn’t seem to phase her. She just chooses not to care or not to be bothered. I wish I had this trait mastered as well as she does.
Today, I had a bad mom day. They tend to happen to us all at some point. But today I sat on the couch, listening to my daughter cry in her room after I yelled, slammed the door and sent her there. It was most certainly not a proud moment for either of us.
While I tried to fathom how our afternoon took such a drastic turn, I mentally walked through the play by play that lead to that moment. I realized I had to stop where the day was headed and change everything to get it back on the right path. I walked to her room and apologized and held my crying girl. Somewhere in the talking-back, rolling-eyes, and collision of attitude we lost sight of what the real problem was.
I make it a point to not get frustrated when she is in a bad mood. She is completely entitled to having all emotions and having bad days; but the rolling eyes, disrespect, and slamming doors is not acceptable.
I can’t force my children to be grateful, to be kind, or to be compassionate. I can’t force them to love their siblings, to think of others, or work hard. But that doesn’t mean I won’t give them every opportunity to practice these traits and learn on their own. As parents we control what our children have in our home; the toys, clothes, extras in life… and I will not tolerate my children acting like spoiled brats.
I didn’t give her any consequences in that moment, and I took back the ones I had previously threatened. I decided that from now on instead of punishments where things are taken away, our children will serve time. They are little, they are sweet, they don’t need to be disciplined with anything more than serving. It doesn’t take some great heartbreak to get through to them, it just takes the little actions to teach them a big lesson.
They will serve time playing with their siblings, they will serve time doing a kind deed for a family member, they will serve time picking up trash on our street, and they will serve time giving things they don’t need to someone who does need it.
There is enough negativity in our society that I decided as I sat on my couch today that I didn’t want it in my home anymore. Discipline and consequences should be present in a child’s life, but if they result in mothers & daughters crying and frustrated, then maybe they need to be different. My children may not love the time they have to serve for their bad choices, but maybe through time, it won’t be a consequence, but these activities will become a habit.
This got me thinking about service overall. The season of giving is coming, but it isn’t the only season for service. So I busted out my phone and started making a list of all the ways we can serve others, even our 3-year-old. Here is the list I made:
- Pick of liter
- Yard work
- Read to someone
- Play a game
- Teach someone something new
- Make care packages for hospitals and nursing homes
- Gather and donate clothing to shelters or safe houses
- Make blankets for child and newborn hospital units
- Volunteer at school to help/tutor others
- Volunteer at a local food bank
- Volunteer at community programs or events
These were just the ones I made a list of quickly, but there are hundreds of ways to serve, volunteer or help others. Time to put this to the test for my kids. Here is to more mom wins, and less bad days because my family deserves better from me.
Yes, it is okay for me to have bad days, even bad mom days. It’s okay for my seven-year-old to be angry at her sister and have a bad mood, but it isn’t okay when we allow those bad moments turn into a bad day, or week, or phase. I promise I’ll report on how this works out.