The other day I was dealing with some major attitudes and some meltdowns and I told Bella, “You guys have been having too much fun!”. She responded with some major sass in her voice, “mom YOU are too much fun!”. I laughed at the time thinking that what she meant as an insult was actually a compliment, but now I wonder if maybe there was a sting in those words after all. Our life seems to have been one big party and chaos lately and the results are showing very clearly in my kiddos behavior. It seems that maybe I really am too much fun.
In the last 8 days we have had 3 different families visiting from out of town and various holiday festivities. I think my kids have been in bed before 10 pm about 2 of the last 9 nights, and up past midnight numerous times. All this came on the heels of a week long vacation and than the stomach flu, and with the baby on a sleep strike. Suffice to say we are all exhausted around here.
Last night I was beyond the point of rational behavior and so were my girls. Julio is out of town and bedtime was going horribly. Felix was finally asleep in his crib for the first time in ages, and I just wanted to climb in bed. However Bella was throwing an epic temper tantrum and I could feel my self control slipping.
So many times on nights like last night I think back to a conversation I had a couple years ago with my sister Tina. I don’t remember her exact advice but it had something to do with not punishing our kids for our choices. When they are acting out because we choose to skip nap time and bed time, while feeding them junk food and constant stimulation, we really than can’t get angry with them when their attitudes reflect those choices. Every once in a while we all have those conversations that alter how we respond to life, and this was one of those for me. It was some of the best parenting advice I have ever gotten, and has saved my kids from countless unfair, spirit breaking moments.
I try to remember that when I am tired and overdone, and over junkified, that if I can’t cope in a kind and rational matter, how in the world can I possibly expect my 3 and 4 year old to?
Not that I am perfect and last night I cringe at how I was acting before that reminder crept into my mind. Once I remembered, I sat down and hugged my exhausted child, and talked to her about being overtired and how she really just needed to calm down and rest. I told her I was tired too and apologized for being mean and said I did not want us to go to bed crying. I was amazed in the shift in her behavior as she calmed right down, climbed in bed and went to sleep. All she needed was a little understanding and patience. So yes, I am too much fun, until all of a sudden I am not fun at all. And how unfair to my kids to make them pay the price for my irresponsibility.
I am so thankful for all my sisters who have gone before me on this parenting journey and share their countless tips, wisdom and encouragement. They have spared me and my children so much heartache! Now if only one of them could tell me how to get my baby to sleep again!
This has been week 30 in my gratitude challenge. Read about it here.