It's not been a fabulous week for me, parenting-wise.
I find myself commanding, lecturing and yelling a lot. There's been a lot of, "Take your boots off," "Sit down," and "Eat your dinner."
And then there are the don'ts: "Don't bug your sister." "Don't play with Mommy's phone." "Don't play with your feet at the table." (Yes, I really have to say that.)
Of course, I do say "please" in front of all of those requests. (At least the first time—after that, all bets are off.) But sometimes, no matter what I say or don't say, my kids just don't listen.
I know I'm not the only one with this problem...there are reams of parenting blogs out there documenting and struggling with the same issue. But that doesn't make it any less annoying.
My kids have learned how to push all of my buttons, and it's exhausting. There are times when I just don't feel like trying to get my kids to understand the consequences of their actions, or doling out rewards or punishments. Sometimes, all I really want is for them to JUST DO WHAT I SAY FOR ONCE.
But what's always mystified me is this: How can I go so quickly from being totally frustrated with my kids to being utterly besotted with them?
Here's what usually happens. I'll be standing in front of the kitchen counter, fuming about my kids' bad behaviour. And then the three-year-old comes in, dressed in her cozy footed pyjamas, her long hair falling messily about her shoulders and her mouth turned down at the corners, knowing that I'm angry. And she holds her warm little arms out for a hug, and says, in a quiet voice, "Sorry, Mommy."
And that's it for me. How could I possibly stay mad?
It's a cycle that never ends. Today won't be the last day I tell my kids to pick up their socks—or get frustrated when they don't.
But there's another thing that won't change: it doesn't take much for me to fall in love with them all over again.