We all do it as parents: we make grand, sweeping threats that we cannot conceivably carry out. Things like:
You’ll never watch TV again! (because I don’t need 30 minutes of sanity ever again…)
Stop that, or we’re leaving right now! (with a full cart of groceries…)
or my latest favourite:
Clean it up, or it’s going in the garbage.
Lately, you may have gotten the impression that my darling little twins have become a handful of 4-year old menaces. I’ve been at my wits’ end. It’s compounded by the fact that I don’t have the house set up to separate them when they’ve done something wrong. So, often the result is that they get to play together, or they break out of their bedroom and go hang out in MY room.
Well today, I snapped. I told them to go to their room. While they were in there, they poured water on their duvet, drew on the mattress with crayon, and pulled all their clothes out of their dresser.
I didn’t yell. I calmly put the clothes away, locked the drawers, and told them I was very mad. I told them to make their bed and that I would come back to check.
15 minutes later, they had pulled everything off the bed and all their toys out from their shelving cubbies. Oh, and I overheard them calling me “Mother Gothel”…you know, the mean witch mother who kidnaps Rapunzel and keeps her imprisoned for 18 years? Ya, her.
I got very mad.
I told them they had 30 minutes while I ran on the treadmill to clean up. Last warning. I went, I ran, I stretched, I came back upstairs.
Nothing. They’d done nothing.
I was now livid. I told them they had 15 minutes to CLEAN UP while I had a shower, or they would lose everything in their room.
I spent the past hour packing everything they own into recycling bags, moving their dresser and toy shelves, and dissembling their beds. This is what is left:
Am I writing this to brag? Hell, no. I’m writing this because I HATE THAT I DID THIS. I hate that I made that stupid threat, and that it’s all boiled down to this moment where I’ve taken away my children’s possessions because I’ve made so many idle threats that they no longer take me seriously.
I’m sick that, as a parent, I let myself get to this point, where I had to actually prove to MYSELF that I am the one in control, and that it means taking responsibilities for my OWN words.
I hate it.
I hate that I have no clue what the next step is. Do I give them their blankets tonight, or is that giving in? Do I make them earn back what they lost, or do I tell them that I overreacted? Where do I draw the line.
This is not my proudest moment. It sucks.