My horrible, rotten, very bad Saturday

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My kids are rambunctious.  Most of the time I enjoy it.  I can look at their seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm (and screeching) as proof that they’re getting enough sleep, eating enough good foods, and enjoying life in this family.  Sometimes it can be a bit much and we have a bad day.  Saturday was a bad day.

It was one of those days that me and the kids were not quite in sync.  I usually clean the house on Fridays and then have movie night that night.  Cleaning my house is a lot of work.  Not because it’s so big or so dirty, but because it requires me to leave the room the kids are in for a few minutes at a time.  I have to keep running to see what the fighting/crying/yelling is about.  It’s exhausting.  Hence, movie night so they will sit on their butts for an hour and half and I can rest.  This week, I cleaned on Saturday.  No movie night.

It was also one of those days the two older girls got together and decided to be just flat out disobedient.  (Penny is too young to plot against me.)  I’ve noticed they do it every once in a while.   No matter what I ask, they both say no, consequences be damned.    It’s not uncommon for one of them to tell me no, but the other one will help and then gets praised which makes the first one start helping (yes, I use praise to manipulate my children into doing what I want).  But every once in a while, one of them says no, and I see the other get this look of solidarity on her face.  Then I know it’s on.  They’re attempting a coup.    And I know I cannot lose my position as dictator.  Some days, it’s just one or two battles before they give up.  Saturday, they almost won.

Please keep the toys off the floor so I can vacuum.  No.  I need to vacuum so Penny doesn’t eat all the Cheerios you guys dumped on the carpet.  Please keep your toys off the carpet.  No.  You can put your toys on the hardwood floor until I’m done then go back on the carpet.  No! If you don’t keep them off the ground, I’m going to throw them out.  Okay.  Fine!  I’m throwing out your princess Barbies!  No! No! No!  (crying and screaming and picking up the Barbies but nothing else).  STOP PUTTING YOUR TOYS ON THE CARPET I NEED TO VACUUM! NO!  GO TO YOUR ROOM!  (stomping and door slamming) Then I have to pick the freakin’ toys up off the carpet so I can vacuum.

I was told no more times than I can count.  Ella screamed for forty-five minutes fighting her nap.  Penny was woken by her unruly sisters from both her naps and got less than a half hour nap each time.  I gave dozens of time outs.   I threw out toys and took away t.v. time and story time before bed.  I threatened not to ever feed them ever again after they smeared food all over my kitchen, again. (I think they saw through my bluff on that one).  And my throat was starting to hurt from all the yelling.    I collapsed to my knees, pounded my fists on the carpet, and screamed, I JUST WANT YOU TO DO WHAT I SAY JUST BECAUSE I SAID SO!  I”M THE MOTHER, THAT’S HOW IT WORKS!  (Yep, I threw a temper tantrum.  And I’m proud of it.  If those girls think they have the market cornered on drama and temper tantrums, they ain’t seen nothing yet.  They get it from me, and I’ve  had a lot more practice.)

In the moments of stunned silence that followed my little performance (I do expect an Oscar nomination), while I lay eyes closed with my forehead on the ground, I had a moment of clarity.   I realized how very exhausted I am of yelling.

I hate it.  I hate that raising my voice is the only way my kids will listen to me.    I hate asking nicely for something simple, like pick your toys up or don’t write with crayon on anything other than paper, over and over and over, and being ignored.  I hate being one of those moms who yells all the time.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want my kids to learn that from me or grow up in  a house of yelling.

Unfortunately, my moment of clarity was only a moment, and it’s going to take a lot more than a moment to come up with a solution.  Does anyone have anything that works to get your kids to listen?   I’m out of both ideas and patience.

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19 Responses to “My horrible, rotten, very bad Saturday”

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  1. AZLB
    Twitter: azlb
    says:

    for me counting is very effective. Depending on my mood and what they are doing it can be any where from the count to 3 or 10. If that doesn’t work then it is time out where I get eye level with her and explain what behavior is not acceptable…and if you have to do timeout more than once the time increases. Honestly counting works better than time out in my house. Even when we are out and about…I just start counting. It keeps me from yelling and she has learned if mommy is counting she has pushed my button one to many times!

  2. jaded16 says:

    Aw. No suggestion from me (as always). *Hugs* offered if you want them.

  3. Oh honey, I a so with you! I think we had the same Saturday. oh wait that is pretty much every day for us!My girls are 3 and 5, and most days nothing works. I’ve tried time outs, time to cool off, blowing out the anger, threatening spankings, taking away tv, taking away barbies, threatening to throw our toys, taking away everything, yes, including food…nothing works.Those are the days, I give in. Some days fighting is too much work and some days, the coup is going to happen. I did find that tears (on my part) seems to shock them into sanity! It seems to really upset them when they think they have actually succeeded in breaking Mommy:) Happy Mothering!Thanks for stopping by my guest post and hopefully, I will have anew follower.I am your newest follower and can’t wait to read more. I just read your post about realizing that You were the white trash in the family…I almost peed myself:)
    Debi
    http://motherhoodthetruth.blogspot.com/

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Oh, I am so glad you have the same problem! (Well, not really, but you know..) I almost cried on Saturday, but I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. I won’t hold back next time. I am definitely a new follower of yours. :) Thanks for following me!

  4. Leslie
    Twitter: crunchybetty
    says:

    Shoot. I don’t know. My kid was ridiculously good when he was little (and being an only child, he didn’t have anyone to gang up on me with). I always tried very hard to help him understand the rationale behind why he needed to make “good decisions,” as I would call them. I learned that if he knew, from his point of view, why it was beneficial for him to do something or behave some way, he would often do it.

    I think I also learned that a martini after 5:00 took the edge off when he was a pain. Not that I’m suggesting it. Just saying.

    Good luck. You have lotsa love in bloggy land here for you.

    (And at the expense of looking like a woo-woo new ager, I suggest watching Wayne Dyer’s PBS specials. He always has some surprisingly effective parenting tips thrown in there.)

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Thanks for the bloggy love. I think it’s totally a girl thing. I’m scared for the teenage years. I’ll check out the show. And I already knew you were a woo-woo new ager, love ya anyway. :)

  5. Amy says:

    My boys gang up on me all. the. time. I have actually thrown a temper tantrum or two myself. I wish I had suggestions for you…but I’ll probably be reading all the comments to see if anyone else does!

  6. Rachel says:

    I have no kids obviously, but sometimes I feel like I can contribute because of my 15 years of nannying, coaching and teaching experience… and I feel your pain. I’m a yeller. Hardcore. I’ve had a few times at school recently though where I’ve just taken my boys (of course, it’s the boys) aside and gotten to eye level and quietly talked to them with an attitude of disappointment. Remember when you were young and it was worse when your parents were disappointed with you than when they were mad at you? Yeah. That’s all I have. Not helpful at all. I hope someone lets me know how not to yell too ;)

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Oh, the disappointment thing is a good tactic. You’re right, it is worse than yelling. I have to be judicious with it, or it will lose its affect, but I will start using it. Thanks!

  7. Casey
    Twitter: MaritimeMom
    says:

    Wow Jessica Anne, are you my long lost twin??? Although I only have one giving me that attitude and a baby, I have sooooo been there, done that. I thought I was reading about my own life. I hate that I yell (I had foolishly told myself I wouldn’t be that kind of mom….uh, yeah, right…and I am not a yeller by nature). I try to minimize, but it works (mostly). I think its less the yelling and more that I am scaring the poop out of the girl…she doesn’t know what to expect next (and sadly nor do I). I will be very curious to see what your readers come up with!

    Now off to get the kid from putting boogers on the baby…joy!

    • Jessica Anne says:

      It’s been so nice to hear I’m not the only one. I do think the scaring them has something to do with its effectiveness. My kids wipe boogers on each other also. Their big thing right now is licking the baby. I don’t even try to figure that one out.

  8. liz
    Twitter: bellebeandog
    says:

    It’s days like that you want to grab for the wine bottle by noon.

  9. alyson: Common Sense, Dancing
    Twitter: amlanders
    says:

    Boy, we have ALL had these days! But I figure it’s like dieting in a way….you fall off the wagon one day, and then you wake up the next day and you get to start all over again!

    thanks for stopping by my place earlier today….

  10. Alyna @ Better Your Blog
    Twitter: BetterYourBlog
    says:

    This line made me laugh SO hard: “They get it from me, and I’ve had a lot more practice.”

    That being said I am very sorry you had such a rotten day. :(

    Licking the baby? They’re emulating the dog of course! :-) (I don’t know, I don’t have kids…!)

    I was a nanny though and my brother and sister are 12 and 15 years younger than me, respectively, and I watched them A LOT, all the while being undermined by my mother as not being someone they had to listen too, even though she was the one who wanted me to watch them. Oh, it was sooo very complicated and one time my brother cut my hair, in his classroom while I was standing in as “parent helper” for some class project about wolves.

    I digress. The thing I had going for me in every situation was that I wasn’t really the parent figure so I don’t know how helpful this is but, in situations where things had to be picked up, put on the music (Raffi or Mary Poppins worked well!) and make it a game. Whoever can pick up the most toys or fastest or whatever gets an extra book at bedtime maybe or and extra bit of television perhaps. Cleaning isn’t fun for you, the kids sense it, so why would it be fun for them. Getting it to be a little fun for everyone might make it a little easier!

    Then again, maybe nannies, babysitters and big sisters just have the “wait until your parents/mother get(s) home” card. ;-)

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Thanks! I’ll have to try putting some music on for them and maybe bribery would work better than taking stuff away. : ) Thanks for the ideas!