But at what cost to our kids?
Do your children know when you’re stressed about money, the pile of dirty clothes in the bathroom, the empty fridge? Do they get cranky and hard to deal with on your worst days?
My kids can definitely tell. I always know when I need to slow down, to stop trying to be so efficient, and just to chill out with my kids for a bit when I catch myself yelling at them for not being good listeners. Well, what is it that I’m trying to tell them to do that they’re not listening to me say? Usually, it’s to clean up their toys/the spilled food on the floor/the pillows they’ve pulled off the couch (again). What am I doing while I’m yelling at them? Dishes/vacuuming/laundry… in other words, things that can WAIT.
Sometimes, I realize too late in the day that we could have been off to a much better start if only I had expected less of them, and of myself. The more I stress, the more I think things need to be done RIGHT NOW, the more they act out, try to get my attention in a negative way, and don’t listen to me. It’s only when I step back and take a deep breath that I realize my bad attitude is rubbing off on them; my stress is stressing them out.
We’re parents, not superheroes, though we should always strive to be our best. Our first priority should be our children, to spend time with them and to engage them in learning play. Most kids honestly do not care if the house is messy, but they do notice when we’re sitting on the floor with them, playing their silly made-up games. Yes, it can get exhausting to talk to a toddler all day, and we need that adult conversation to stave off insanity.
But too soon, our chattering toddlers will become adults, and what kind of adults will they be?
“Our job as parents is not to raise mild mannered, compliant, sleeping children. Our job is to raise happy, healthy, contributing adults. And it’s a long road to get there.” -Anonymous