Monday, October 15, 2012

There is Hope Yet: It's All a Process

Last weekend I made an important discovery:   My older brother was in town and we sat around one night, telling stories about when we were little.  Surprisingly, the boys were telling me things I never knew about them.  About fights they'd gotten into and other bad things they'd done and it suddenly hit me: my brothers and I weren't perfect when we were growing up.  In fact, we were sometimes real jerks. This is surprising for me because in my humble opinion we all turned out pretty great so I have totally blocked all bad behavior out of my mind.  Today we are a family that laughs together, wants the best for each other and adores spending time with each other.  But the truth is, it wasn't always this way.  Here is a picture of my brothers joking around and making fun of my pregnant stomach (about five years ago). 

But we weren't always this fun.  I think this is significant because sometimes as a Mom, I cannot understand why my kids just won't listen to me.  I am constantly baffled with the way they pester each other and then cry about the fact that the other one has decided to pester back.  I think sometimes I expect them to be perfect little angels and honestly they often are.  After all, I do all the right things.  I am consistent with my discipline, I make them eat healthy food, and I try to have as much fun with them as possible.  Yet there are days on the weekends when my husband and I look at each other at the end of the day and wonder what went wrong?  Why did we have such a rough day?  Why were the kids at each other's throats and why did they do everything they could to annoy us?

The answer is that this whole thing is a process and my brothers made me realize that.  If my Mom had written a blog or a journal back when we were growing up, she would have had amazing stories.  She would have told about how my little brother loved toy guns almost a little too much.  About how he once shoved another Mom and yelled, "Get away you dork!  That's my Mom and I need to talk to her!!"  And my older brother is now the sweetest, most mild-mannered soul, yet at one point in high school his debate teacher honestly thought he needed anger management counseling (due to a long list of bizarre behavior, which I won't get into right now).  And how my Mom once told my Dad about me, "Take her somewhere.  I can't take take any more whining.  I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT!!!"

These new memories about how we kids weren't perfect at all has really lowered the bar for my own expectations and it's quite a relief to know that one bad day or even one bad week full of whining and fighting doesn't mean that I am failing and my kids are hopeless.  In fact, every time I have to discipline and teach them a lesson, I am re-enforcing everything so that one day, hopefully, in the very distant future, they will understand. I am looking forward to telling them some of these stories.  I hope they laugh and say they're sorry, they way my brothers and I have done to my parents.  My fingers are crossed!

I also want to say thank you so much to all of you out there!  I love writing my blog and I love having so many visitors!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the support on my book too!  I have been so honored by all the wonderful comments we have gotten!  One of my favorites was from Dawn@Prickly Mom:

Love your book! Seriously, I rate it up there with my heroes Elizabeth Pantley and John Rosemond in terms of day-to-day usefulness. Bravo!

You can download the first chapter for free on Kindle to make sure you like it! 

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  1. Great post! I've been having rough days with my toddler lately. At one point, I felt like I failed at parenting. Reading posts like this one really helps in making me look at things at a more positive light.

  2. From your biggest fan...wonderful post. And I like you MORE now that I see you and your brothers acting like goofballs! (We're very silly over here.)

    1. You are so sweet!! Yu have made my day!!! ;-)

  3. I grew up with 2 brothers too and we all turned out all right. Whew - mom & dad sure wondered and worried about us. The Happy Mommy Handbook seems to be helping lots of moms - who doesn't need help with a preschooler!

  4. Bro and I grew up kicking each others butts 24/7 we now are close and our raising our families in the same area. No child is perfect and anyone claims there's is is full of crap. And what is up with girls and the whine it could drive you insane by the end of the day.

  5. You are so SO right! It is a process. I often forget choose not to remember moments of childhood. In my eyes I was a perfect angel and in no way spoilt! Haha It amazes me when my father talks of me differently or when parents remember things from when they first merged our families and gained step-siblings! We didn’t always handle it so nicely. But heck, I guess a day will come when I can do the same for my children ;-)

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