Count the Bad Mommies

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Discipline

Discipline. It’s that quintessential life principle that gets drummed into us from day bloody one.

I need you to know this before I continue, I hate rules. I loathe being told “no, you can’t do that”. So, when it comes to discipline, I battle. But, as life has grown me up and made me think about things over and over again, I’ve developed and stick to my own set of rules.

For that, I blame my parents. They weren’t ever particular sticklers for the conventional “be a good girl, keep your mouth shut, do as you’re told” rulings. In fact, their lives weren’t even remotely good examples of “keeping their mouths shut”. For that, I am eternally thankful, even when it makes me unpopular. I don’t have the ability to keep my mouth shut when something irks me, annoys me or is shown to me as an injustice. Above all of that, I can’t stand people who beat around the bush. Either be direct, stick your neck out, say what you mean to say, and we’ll deal with it. People who try to pussy-foot around an issue, generally don’t get my respect or my abiding.

This is one good reason why SheBee and I can live together. Neither of us are pussy-footers. Some people call us fullashit, but we call a spade, a spade.

When I was growing up, my folks used their voices. Alot. I cannot think of a time when they weren’t talking. Heh. My mom also had a very unique way of telling us when we were in the shit.

If I’d been a bit of a naughty shit the day or night before…Mom would simply make me a beetroot sandwich for school lunch. Now, beetroot sandwiches are actually great freshly made. But, leave them in your lunchbox for the four hours between leaving home and lunch break and, well, by the time you whip them out to eat them… all you have is a pink, soggy mess. That was generally enough to let me know I’d been a bit of a shit. Trust me, having your school friends look at you askew because you’ve got soggy pink bread for lunch, makes you feel distinctly UNcool and it works pretty darn well.

I digress…

When it comes to discipline, when it comes to rules, when it comes to the “no, you can’t” and “yes, you can” debate for Cam…I’m not all that conventional.

I’m not a smacker. I have a simple rule on this, if she smacks someone, I’ll smack her hand. Undoubtedly, I’ll kiss it better and give her a love afterwards but, I will never smack my child in anger. I can’t do it. It’s just not me. And that’s not me being weak, that’s me knowing that that’s how I want to raise my child.

When it comes to enforcing a rule though. I’m a shouter.

Now, in our house, our rules are not conventional. The primary rule in our house is bedtime. And I will shout about it, if I have to. Generally though, I win before I have to shout. I’m a negotiator, true, and I believe that gentle reminders for about half an hour before bedtime make things easier.. “after this Gummi Bears, it’s bedtime, okay?” generally garner a very cute “okay” response and there’s not much hassle beyond there. Face it, No kid likes to be told it’s time to go to bed, fuck, I hated being told it. But, it has to happen. And it does. Most of the time.

Oi, nobody’s perfect and anyone who says they are is simply another one of those things I cannot stand - a liar. =)

So, in our house and our lives, we don’t have the “eat at the table; children should be seen and not heard; no, you can’t wear a ballgown to school; dessert is only for after dinner” rules. We have good ones. Cameron is a stickler for please and thank you and is learning, very well, how to share. We don’t care about drawing on the walls, as long as it’s crayon. We don’t care about paint, as long as it’s on the sheet and not on the carpet and yes, we can throw stuff in a bowl and make a big mess and pretend to bake. Yes, on the floor. No, I don’t care if it makes a mess.

Someone pretty random in my life that I went to school with, Wendy, taught me a critical life lesson about child-raising many, many years ago. She, in passing, whilst we were sitting at a soccer game (don’t ask questions just accept, people…) said to me: “having three kids is hard. But I just don’t worry about anything that a shower or a good cloth can fix”.

I can never thank her enough for saying that. I am anal about cleaning the house. But, when it comes to Cam’s mess, I let her have her mess.

And, funnily enough, it’s Cam who says “Mommy, I want to clean” or “Mommy, I want to wash the dishes”. She knows that mess means cleaning up afterwards. Most of the time. Again, Nobody’s perfect, and anyone who says they are is, you guessed it, a liar.

So, yeah, Rules. Mine aren’t normal. But, yes, I’m a shouter. A big one. I am not scared to raise my voice to make my point when trying to cajole a three year old away from a tantrum.

So, if you ever see a short lady walking down the street holding the hand of a little girl wearing wellington boots and a fairy princess dress whilst they sing and eat ice cream BEFORE dinner, that’s us.

Living our lives our way, thanks very much.

4 comments:

angel said...

that is possibly the bestest most awesome advice any mom could get and heed- and i wish i'd learned the lesson sooner.
damien and i also aren't terribly strict on the "traditional" rules, though good manners are imperative.
i love how you parent c@th!!!

cathjenkin said...

ah thank you angel.

i wish id learnt sooner too. that it was okay to just be me as a mom. but, for the first year and a half of cam's life, for reasons other than her, i was so numb.

i am thankful every day, that i am a mom. i am even more thankful every day, that im her mom.

*ice cream before dinner! for everyone!*

sweets said...

that's good assvice there cath!! just a pity i only got it now... thanks eh?! LOL

i'm a shouter too... but having boys i have to have authority and it gets more difficult as each day passes :) but i agree, pick your battles for sure...

acidicice said...

Bravo! Well done. I really hope I'm going to be able to cope with the messes. I hate cleaning!