Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Things I Don't Understand

Being a mother of many, there is a presumption that I am by circumstance, an expert on parenting. I would argue, I'm an expert amateur.  I've been at this twenty years and still am thwarted by toddlers with potty training.

As my oldest will attest, they are the crash test dummies of my parenting techniques.  The subsequent children get the benefits (or lack thereof) of emotional airbags, psychological seat belts and mental child locks.  Thus I labor as a mother under the presumption by those around, that I know what I'm doing, constantly corrected by my children who know better. 

For example: What makes a particular rule stick? 

Now I make rules and try to sustain them.  Some laws receive the kid tested mother approved seal of approval and get enforced even when I'm not around. No toys at the table being the one that comes to mind most readily. Everyone quotes this rule.  No one questions it.  I don't know why, but even the three year old who normally views all restriction as a direct challenge to her right to exercise free will in all things, meekly submits when one of her siblings quotes this family statue. 

While I am glad I do not have to pry my little ponies and barbies from my toddler's hands before she begins to consume Lucky Charms, I do wonder why this rule, of all rules, like don't talk with your mouth full, shut the door when you go outside, don't drink juice from the carton, is the one they've decided is the prime directive of our people.   More importantly, I wonder how I could maybe create a new rule that holds fast for all people, like children must do the dishes or all lights out at 10 o'clock or 2 hours of books for 1 hour screen. 

Then I sat down at our table and started writing.  I grabbed a diet coke and a cookie.  My daughter walked by, "No toys at the table Mom." and gave me the insight I'd been seeking.   This rule stands for one reason only I discerned as I put away my laptop. 


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