I am trying to be a really nice mom. It is almost killing me. I am trying to never raise my voice or use any sort of critical words or tone of voice - despite unacceptable behavior. I am trying to always be rational and patient and use my words. (This is a bit comical, since I am constantly telling my children to do the same thing and I am discovering that this may be beyond me to be successful at such behavior.)
The other day, I crumbled and lectured (very briefly) my 9-year old for not closing the front door of the house though he was the last one to come out. I caught myself quickly and then, as I drove up our street, before realizing that all four children were attentively listening, I exclaimed in desperation while clutching my steering wheel, "It is just too hard to be nice all of the time!"
But, I have decided that all of this is worth it. We are role models for our children, and I think it is best if they work out problems with each other with words and calm, respectful voices.
A few weeks ago I suddenly saw myself, from another perspective. I was completely and solely surviving. I had discovered through trial and error that when I raised my voice, all four of my kids would do exactly what I asked. If I asked calmly, three times, that they do something, they ignored me quite easily, and then when I raised my voice they stood at attention. It became a habit, for all of us. And it eventually became apparent that all of my energy was focused on only surviving. I began to feel like I was raising my voice - all of the time. I felt desperate and mean. I felt like I had no control - unless I was mean. I started to feel like I had no control in many aspects of my life, and that I was barely surviving. This was not because my circumstances dictated that I had to only survive. I chose to act that way, or rather, react that way. And I am hoping now that I can choose not only to survive these years with young children, but to enjoy them (thoroughly) and become a better person during the process... despite how difficult it may be for me.
It's been a week and it is still challenging, but the effects are reverberating. Just my decision to not be controlled by the actions (or lack of action) of others has strengthened me and lifted me, and helped me feel better about myself as a mom.