Did you ever play your parents off each other as a child? Mom says no so you go and ask dad?
As a parent, you are probably familiar with this game that you likely attempted to master as a kid. It’s written in the kid handbook that is embedded into their minds at birth. 1,001 Ways to Drive Your Parents Crazy. I firmly believe that parents must be a united front. There are times I don’t necessarily agree with something my husband communicates to my kids but I do my very best to go with it and then later discuss it with him once it’s just the two of us.
There is just one small problem.
I’m a sucker for tears. And my kids know it.
I’d like to say it has become easier as they are out of the baby stage and my youngest is nearing out of her toddler years. It’s the opposite. As they get older, they get better at the guilt trips and poking at our weaknesses. My son is at this stage where I genuinely like hanging out with him. My daughter is at a stage of wanting to be just like mommy. I am eating it up because they soon will not think so highly of me, I am sure.
I am not naturally equipped to be a disciplinarian. My husband can run circles around me when it comes to providing my kids consistency in discipline and making sure that he doesn’t give empty threats. Clearly his way is effective because our kids are much better behaved for him than they are for me. I like to, instead, strive for harmony and happiness – with the occasional “mommy has lost it” moments where everyone pays the price for not listening to me. It’s not a good cycle.
I am aware of my ways yet struggling to improve. All it takes is my five year old son to look at me with those big blue eyes filled with tears and tell me he’s sorry and I am immediately on “his side” telling him I know what a good kid he is and that I am proud of him. My almost-three-year-old daughter can just say “please mommy just one more cookie!” as tears start to form and I am immediately swooping her up (cookie in hand) and aiming for us to all be in harmony.
My kids know my flaws. They use them against me, I know they do. I have caught them smiling at each other behind my back after they have done something naughty and I have ended it with hugs instead of a punishment.
I know I need to continue striving to be a united front with my husband. I know even when he is not home, I need to be consistent in how we discipline our kids. Perhaps by making this confession, I will hold myself a bit more accountable.