Why I beat my kids…

Put down the phone. Seriously. It’s not what you think, I promise.

Let me explain…

Yesterday, while picking George up from daycare, I noticed someone watching our exit. As I thought about what they had seen, I figured they were picking me out as the worst mommy in the place, but I was actually trying hard not to be. Really hard.

Almost every day that George goes to daycare, we race to the door. And every night that I pick him up, we race to the suburban. And to tell you the truth, about half of the time…I beat him.

Terrible, right?

Except not.

At the tender age of 4, my son is learning that Mom doesn’t always have to protect him from everything. That he’s responsible for his own wins and losses. That he can lose gracefully and still love the person you lose to. Of course, he just thinks he’s having fun.

And the same is true at home. We win some games, we lose some games, fits are not allowed, but good sportsmanship is mandatory. Is it hard to lose? Certainly (especially to your mom), but it’s a lesson that we don’t teach often enough these days.

It’s time that we stop telling our children that there is nothing they can’t do…because, truly, there are things they can’t do…at least, not right away. And if you never have to strive towards a goal and work hard, then what’s the value of winning?

Being an adult is hard…but having to become an adult and never having to stand on your own would be harder yet. So let’s spend a little less time making sure everyone has a trophy, and a little more time making sure that everyone is learning something.

And to the lady who may have thought I was off my rocker yesterday…yes, I was racing a 4-year-old, and yes, I won. But Mom needed a little boost to her self-esteem, too. 😉

My prize? The biggest smile and a great big kiss from the cutest 4-year-old I know. I’d do it again in a second.

Teaching our children includes teaching them how to lose, not just win.

Teaching our children includes teaching them how to lose, not just win. And when the prize includes a smile like this, that can melt your heart, well, you better believe that I give it my all!

The Non-Joys of Parenting

I was about ready to head to bed tonight, completely satisfied with the way the day went. I had a wonderful morning with my oldest sister, had a great afternoon taking care of the garden and yard with my boys. And had a great evening, having Scooter help me replant tomatoes, put cans around them and water everything down.

Everyone had taken a bath and we were all getting ready for bed.

And then it happened.

My day was ruined.

Scooter decided at that moment to reveal that he had taken some things that weren’t his. They were his cousins, they were expensive and he had been asked about them earlier in the day. He had lied.

To make a long story short, Scooter will call his aunt in the morning and apologize, he will write his cousins a letter and he will spend the next two days working on cleaning his room, minus TV, radio, DS, games, etc. His source of entertainment will be reading a book for 10 minutes and he will be taking care of his dog and cat chores when he goes outside.

We talked tonight about why he said the things he did, we discussed why I was disappointed and I explained to him that we had such a great, fun day…and those memories were tarnished because he had acted pretty selfishly. I didn’t yell (amazingly) and I tried not to over-react…but it was more important to me to not under-react.

It is very important to me that my children understand that they don’t “deserve” certain things just because others have them. There is way too much of that in the world already.

So, although I will have to change my plans…and the weekend would be a perfect one for fishing, playing outside and having a GREAT time…we won’t all be enjoying it. There is a lesson to be taught, and it will serve him well through the rest of his life…and I owe him that.

Why don’t the parenting books ever tell you about the days it sucks to be a parent? Oh well, summer should last for more than one weekend in North Dakota, right?