I’m not the best at dealing with the chaos of raising two little kids. The messiness, the yelling, the arguing, the constant activity — it’s all completely par for the course, and I know it, but it’s still hard for me. I like neatness, calm, and order. This is not an advantage in parenting.
In the course of one year staying home with the kids, though, I have come up with a few “mom rules” to help me deal with the day-to-day chaos. And they’ve given the kids certain expectations, too, which has been helpful.
The rules relate to a few of the things that occur routinely during a day — snacking, behavior issues when out and about, and arguing between the two kids. I’m not saying these will work for everyone, and of course we all have our own parenting styles. Maybe you’re all about no rules and no structure — and if that works for you, AWESOME! I hope you can teach me a thing or two.
In the meantime, I’m just saying these little mantras have helped me.
“If you’re snacking, you’re sitting.” — Whether we are at home, in the park, or in the playground, I see no reason for my kids to be running around with food in their hands. If they’re eating something, I want them seated for a moment. Focus on the activity at hand. Enjoy your food. Then resume with whatever wildness was underway.
“If you’re not listening, we’re leaving.” — Call me mean mommy (you wouldn’t be the first), but I have absolutely NO problem making my kids leave some fun activity because of bad behavior. If we’re headed to a birthday party, or Coney Island, or an excursion into the city, I remind them before we go…. What’s the rule? Jasper now recites it back to me: “If we’re not listening, we’re leaving.” Damn right we are.
“You can either agree, or it’s “mommy’s choice.” ” — Two kids seem to somehow = a million arguments a day. I mean, really. “He can’t use my stool!” “I want to wash my hands first!” “I want to watch the Barbie DVD!” “No, I want Thomas!” I try to employ this rule often. You two can either work it out and agree — sometimes they actually do! — or it’s my choice, and I make the call on whatever issue or argument is at hand.
Do you have any basic mom rules that work for you? I’d love to hear!