Thinking back to having just one baby seems quite easy now. At the time… Wow, it was such a life changing experience; I was overwhelmed at times. My mom in law was being so sweet to me one day and suggested I take my time and relax and rest just as long as I wanted. She said I should go and lie down on her bed and take a nap with the baby. I remember thinking…Its the baby I need a rest from! With a few more babies along the way,… now, I think what a dream to leave all the other kids for a while in a Grandma’s capable care and go and lie down with just one sweet little cuddly baby.
I’m usually a fairly quiet person and I don’t feel the need to use a lot of words to explain things. Sometimes that’s a horrible flaw. The kids misunderstand what I’m expecting of them, and I can’t figure out why they don’t know what I mean. On the other hand, when I find myself talking too much, giving too many instructions, they tune me out and miss it all.
When we were about to have our second baby, I decided that I needed to set some boundaries, some parameters for how I was going to deal with little Davey especially if he was getting a little bit naughty, and I was busy dealing with a new baby.
So this is my policy. ‘I say what I mean and I mean what I say’. Doesn’t that sound logical? Anyone would believe that that makes sense and that’s what most people would naturally do. But No, I say! That’s not what we often do. I can find myself talking away to the kids and not even realize I’m saying things that I don’t actually expect them to do. For example, I might say, Go play in your room, keep quiet for a while, share with your sister, finish you super…any number of ‘Mom sayings’, but I’ll say them absently, as though its my job to say something responsible to them and now I’ve done my job.
I decided that if I was sitting all comfy, rocking and feeding the baby, and Davey was within view doing something he shouldn’t, I would not say a word until I was ready to get up and deal with him. For example, if he was pulling all of the kleenex out of the box, I would not tell him to stop until I could put some power behind my words and make him comply. As a Mom, you have to have ‘the power’. I believed that it was vitally important for them to do what I say, for their good. So if I told baby Davey to do something, it better not be just words, that he has the option to ignore. You know how 2 year olds can be when you say stop doing something. So I found that if you’re going to say it, you better have power behind your words or all of your words become meaningless.
This has turned into the most valuable life lesson. What I’ve learned is that if I stay consistent and say what I mean and mean what I say, the kids listen and respond and we have a fairly happy, calm and pleasant family life.