Before I had children of my own I would watch other parents, including my own, and be entirely convinced that there were things I would never say to my children. Yesterday as I told one of the twins to eat because there were children starving in the world I realised I have blown it! I say all of the things I said I would never say to my children. The list of transgressions is long, but here are 6 things I said I would never say to my children!
6 things I said I would never say to my children
- Eat your dinner as there are children starving in the world – is there any point in saying this to a small child raised in South West London? No there is not! The concept is simply too vague and difficult for a toddler who is always well fed. They have no idea what that even means so it is a waste of my breath. It didn’t work on us as small children so heaven knows why I think it will work now. My sister once told my mother to parcel up her dinner and send it to the starving as she did not like it…
- I am going to count to three and then… – in theory this does serve a purpose in the world of disciplining in children, but what I swore I wouldn’t do is the whole 2, 2 ½, 2 ¾ …. Essentially my littles know that I don’t want to follow through and that the count down just goes on. I also hear myself repeatedly offering one more chance. Maybe fine once, but 500 times? Yep they know they have won!! I am a push over what can I say?!
- If you carry on I am going to remove your favourite toy – this is a bit of a follow on from the last one. Saying this just creates a rod for my own back. If I take away the thing they love the most all I create is extra noise and a child who is pestering the life and soul out of me. Also, it doesn’t work as these littles have so many toys (spoilt every single one of them!). Ultimately, they will just find something else to play with and forget about the thing I took away. What I really hate is when my husband says this and I have to enforce it for the specified duration. Ahhhh! How I wish I was off to work on those days.
- I’m too busy… I really never wanted to say this to my children. I wanted to be present for them and get down and play. This is one of the reasons I don’t currently work. Still though there are so many things to do each day that I do day it! I am not always truly present. Sometimes that is just because I am done! I can’t play Peppa Pig ALL DAY…. One of my toddlers said it back to me the other day. I just felt awful. I asked her to do something and she put her hands on her hips and said ‘I can’t now I am too busy’. It was like looking at myself. I did not like the reflection #must do better!
- Because – I always thought parents who said this when asked ‘why’ were just lazy. Now 4 kids in I know sometimes it is the only possible answer. When I have explained ‘why’ 50 odd times there comes a point where I run out of options.
- I am going to call… What a cop out. If they are driving me potty and not responding to the idle threats (who would?!) I hear myself threatening to call daddy, their school teacher, their grandfather – hell I would threaten to call the postman if I thought it would help! This smacks of desperation (because it is full of it!) and only serves to tell them that mummy is not the last word so I am just undermining my own authority and yet still I hear myself say it.
When I catch myself saying these things or have that toddler mirror held up to me I can’t help, but feel guilty. I try not to beat myself up too much as I do the best that I can. Mothering littles is tricky and none of us will get it right all of the time. It’s an exercise in resilience. Each time we get knocked down we have to get up again and just try to learn from our mistakes. So if you say ‘because’ today then I say you probably did what you needed to get through the day. I also try to remember that many of these things were said to me. I didn’t turn into a complete reprobate so fingers crossed for my littles!