Monday, October 3, 2011

Tongue-lashing vs. tongue-holding

I got really annoyed at Little Guy this morning. He wasn't doing his schoolwork -- lots of dawdling, with a fair dose of red-herring "I'm hungry" excuses -- and I had a deadline this afternoon, and hence no time to coddle or cajole. One thing that pushes my buttons big time is when I'm doing my job and someone else isn't doing his, so I end up having to do more work.

But one problem with yelling at kids is that, as Dancer so aptly pointed out, "They don't hear what you're saying. They just think you don't like them."

Well, yeah. It stinks. It stinks because as a mom you're frustrated and, hey, you have a right to be frustrated. But kids don't get that when they are little. So you're stuck in that place where there's not much you can do to make things better, with a lot of things you can do that make them worse. Trust me: a sad, scared seven year old is not an improvement over a dawdling seven year old. It would be better to hold my tongue.

Don't you sometimes wish you could do that cartoon ghost thing, and have a shadow of yourself (the Good Mommy) float off to help your kid while you get other things done?


  1. You know how in the Peanuts television specials the adults were always just this loud weird noise that made no sense? When I was a kid, that seemed pretty accurate to me. As a parent, I always tried to remember that that's how my kids would hear me.

  2. I love reading what you post. This sounds so much like my house at times. And I think if this godly woman, whose name I have come to know through her writing in Guideposts, struggles in these ways, I am understood and there is hope and grace to do it a better way the next time. And oh my, yes, do I ever wish there was a Good Mama shadow to help my children when I must get other things done. I was thanking my daughter's piano teacher the other week for commenting to her at practice that sometimes she would need to work on her piano and do her best on her own because there are times when grownups have things they need to take care of and can't help with every little thing. It's simply amazing how a fact that you have tried to explain to your child can be so much better understood when explained by an adult who is not the parent!! I give you great thanks, Miss Anita.

  3. What amazed me with this post was that your daughter, Dancer, had the maturity to comment to you on how her younger siblings felt. You should be proud of her assessment.