Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Drill Sergeant vs. The Martyr Mom

I can't seem to find a happy medium. I don't want to be like the guy in the picture above...with my "troops" feeling demeaned and humiliated while I stand there screaming at them with spittle flying from my mouth. But I don't like what my children are becoming. It seems like there should be an in-between. A place where I can tell the kids what they need to do and they go and do it. No screaming necessary.
I don't want to walk around like a martyr either (which I do catch myself doing) with heavy sighs and pitiful woe-is-me faces.
Neither of those approaches works in child-rearing. Not for behavior or teaching responsibility.
But where is the happy medium? I feel like I'm either a total harpy or the house is a disaster. Junk everywhere. Kids running amok. No one but me doing anything. And no one but me caring. Then I get MAD. It makes me Bombaloo (that's the kind of mad that is characterized by steam coming from the ears, eyes looking like bulls-eyes, fists get the picture).
I think the key is to have them do certain chores. Every. Single. Day. No breaks, no exceptions (other than illness). Not because they're going to get money for it. Not because I will reward them in any way. Just because they are a part of this family. And when you're part of a family you have to help keep things going. I will NOT feel guilty for this. I will realize that I am teaching them valuable lessons in responsibility. Wow. I'm a mom. For real.


squirrelgirl said...

I think you've got the right idea - being part of a family means sharing the responsibility. Miss K has chores - she puts away her clothes, helps load the dishwasher and picks up her own toys and books (mostly). There's no room for argument, that's just

gina said...

"Either a total harpy or the house is a disaster" -Oh, I hear and understand that statement completely. Especially during summer. It is so hard to find that happy medium - where we as mothers are tough enough, but not too tough. I struggle with being strict enough - the days I'm not is usually because I'm too tired to deal with the struggle - which is a terrible cycle to get into because then they fight the routine even more - which makes me feel even more tired... on and on. I remember my Mom made it look so easy (now, of course, I know it wasn't)- but I also thought she was way too strict. As a kid, I decided I'd be more relaxed when I'm a mom - and now it seems I overcorrected! I really agree with you that "the key is to have them do certain chores. Every. Single. Day. No breaks, no exceptions." I have my kids do daily chores -because they are part of a family (is my philosophy too). They don't get money for it. If they want to earn money they can do "extra - bigger" jobs. I guess our job is to TEACH them - (rather than the goal being RESULTS) and maybe we won't see the fruits of our labors until much much later. I tried to ignore my mom and what she taught - and she probably thought she was failing - but her words sure stuck with me. Constantly in my head how things should be done. Hopefully, our kids are absorbing some of the good things we are trying to do!! I sure don't have the answers - so if you ever figure it out - please share with me!

carebear7951 said...

Gina-if you check back are soooo right. Maybe I'm too "results oriented". Maybe I need to just remember that it won't be the way I like it, but if they are learning that's the goal!!! Thanks for that! I've got a blog video that I'm going to watch when I get a chance (too busy folding laundry and cleaning up messes and wiping hineys ;) ) that is about a chore system-a smaller scale version that the Duggar's use (by the way, I admire the Duggar's greatly)! I'm so glad I'm not alone. :)

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