My parents never yelled or hardly even raised a voice to me growing up. They’re both relatively very positive, sensible and calm people who treated us as adults most the time. As they were my first and most positive example of parenthood, I suppose I assumed that I would naturally take on a lot of their same parenting style. So when I began my journey in to parenting, I never could have considered the fact that I would have to face my inner demon…yelling.
I can look at my role as Mom and be generally very proud of who I am and what I represent, but this is an embarrassing battle I have had an inner struggle within myself for some time. Most the time I would say: I deserve to yell! Quinn broke the plate I told him not to play with, Jude is throwing a fit about not being able to see a motorcycle out his window and for the 100th time please STOP jumping on the couch! Any person in their right mind would be frustrated by their twelve initial attempts to discuss calmly with a four year old why we can’t in fact eat candy for every meal. How do I get them to listen to me?!
I’ve tried removing myself from the situation, walking away, being over the top nice (aka pushover) and just crying in my bed at the end of the day feeling like a complete failure. None of it was working. Recently I found my solution in the book Deliberate Motherhood, our Small Fry book club selection. It simply states “Water the flowers, not the weeds.” This statement floored me. How much energy had I been giving their mistakes or disobedience versus their triumphs and good behavior? How many times had I watered the weeds more in a day than the flowers? Too many times. I’ve always been good at praising the obvious but to find the stuff in between took more effort and thought.
So I began finding small things throughout the day to water. Instead of getting after them when irreverent in church, I chose to whisper in their ears when they were playing nicely “Good job playing so reverently!” I’d stop in the middle of Target and say “Boys you are being so nice and patient with mommy, thank you!” Or giving Jude a kiss and saying “Thank you for getting in your car seat with out crying! I’m so proud of you.” Suddenly my urge to yell or get frustrated with them became less and less. By praising them constantly throughout the day for actions that may seem as they don’t need praising, they became more willing to listen to me when I did call for discipline. As their flowers are watered and nurtured they’ve become more confident little people and our relationship flourishes each day in to a place I didn’t know could exist.
There have been so many awesome epiphanies with this first book club selection, if you feel like you’re too far behind, or have yet to start, please join us! The chapters are a quick read, but give us so much to think on. We’d love to have you! Happy FRYday!