I’ve decided I’m much too attentive to my kids. It’s amazing the different responses they get when they ask their mom vs. their dad for something. My husband pauses (a really long time), and usually finishes up whatever it is he’s doing (or watching) and they usually end up asking him about 3 times for whatever it is they needed. When they ask me, on the other hand, I tend to grant their request right away. I’m usually in the middle of something, so it seems easiest to get their snack/water and go back to what I’m doing. In this process, I think I’ve created demanding little monsters in some ways! They seem to have no patience for anything!
This is why I’ve decided to ignore them – just a little bit.
So now, when I’m washing dishes and I hear them say something from the other room, I just keep going. Especially if I can hear that it has to do with a story at school or a demand for another snack. I want them to learn respect – which I believe involves walking over to ask me face-to-face. I am done stopping what I’m doing every single time I try and get something done. There is no harm in making them wait a few minutes. They need to know I am not their slave.
A new thing my kids are doing is conveniently fighting whenever I have to go to the bathroom. They know what they’re doing- trying to get under my skin and get a reaction. So I no longer give them one. I take my normal amount of time unless I hear screaming. I’ll admit I do have to take some deep breaths because it is a little annoying that they used to accompany me each time I went…and now they’re causing trouble. I can’t seem to win the bathroom war.
To make up for the times I’m “ignoring” them, I do set my phone and anything else aside if I want to really ‘be’ with them. I’ve realized I get the most frustrated when I really do need to be doing something important and it just happens to be on my phone. There are times I need to pay a bill, add something to my grocery list, make an important phone call or text my husband back. So when I know I don’t need to be on the phone, I am setting it down so I can really be in the moment. I’m finding that my joy and contentment is that much more when I focus solely on my kids for short increments. I’m not distracted and can really interact with them.
I used to tense up when I felt their demands coming at me. Now, I find myself breathing, pausing, and taking heart that we are all growing a little bit in this process.