Ok so we have made a breakthrough on the homework dramas which is such a relief. I was chatting with a friend who suggested some positive reinforcement and isn’t it so often the case that when you are IN a situation you lose all perspective and can’t see the woods for the trees?? It was like *facepalm* well, of COURSE. Why couldn’t I see that it had all become nagging and berating and negative and all we needed was a bit of incentive and, for want of a better term ´POSTIVE PARENTING´. Luckily almost-9 is not too old, apparently, for a good ol’ sticker chart. He wanted to make his own and we decided that he would get a sticker every day he brought home the right books for homework. 5 stickers gets him a pack of football cards. As you can see it seems to be having the desired effect:
(Sundays are on the back, OBVIOUSLY, if you are wondering about the missing days)
Everyday now he comes running in, shows me his homework diary, shows the books, and claims his sticker. Fab. Parenting made easy. If we could only figure things out that bit quicker and save stress and drama, wouldn’t that be even better?! But that is certainly the pattern in my parenting and I am sure I am not alone. You finally have one stage figured out and along comes something new and you are floundering again. I have almost always found that when I want to change something (night feeds, general night waking, coming into mummy and daddy´s bed in the night- yes ALRIGHT sleep issues have been one of our biggest issues can you tell?) there is this almost inevitable process of pushing against the flow, trying various ineffective ´quick fix´ methods before I accept that if I take it slowly, with baby steps, it will all come right. It just takes PATIENCE.
This has absolutely been my biggest challenge/ lesson in parenting. Before I had kids I genuinely would have said I was a patient person which, in retrospect , is hilarious. I quickly found – don´t we all? that becoming a parent takes many preconceptions you had about yourself and turns them on their head. My concept of myself as essentially a Zen and chilled person was the first casualty. I like things to be done well, and speedily. I am a consummate multitasker and actually find time wasting kind of stressful. I have worked on this A LOT over the years and I have a long way to go but I am trying. My beloved boys, please know I am trying.
To you, my boys, I want to say that I know I mess up all the time. There are some days where we all end up shouting. Sometimes even crying. I am constantly reevaluating how we do things, whether we can do them better. Much to H’s chagrin. He is not so much for the ‘we are doing it all wrooooong’ wailing and chest beating so beloved of mothers everywhere. He is much more of the ‘look – they are clothed and fed and happy and if we mess up, suck it up’ school of thought. And don’t think I don’t see the merit in that viewpoint. Despite it all you will probably still feel like I did it wrong. But just know I am always giving it my all. I try my best to do the right thing and if I do it wrong I am sorry. But no one tells us how to do it and often we are so busy trying to not make the mistakes we think our parents made, so we make a whole bunch of new ones. Not only does each kid come out totally different, with entirely different personality and needs, EACH KID KEEPS CHANGING. The goalposts are constantly moving while we try to keep up. It is not easy. But all in all we are happy. You guys are happy. And you are so very loved. So I guess we are on the right track.