|Posted on December 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM|
Photo By Deborah Gregory
Two year olds were put on this earth to test you. To test your willpower, your patience, your intelligence, your sanity.
Tonight, as I sit on the couch, exhausted and eating chocolate because I can’t drink wine (my OB frowns upon that), I reflect on the evening and sum it up in two words: SURVIVAL PARENTING.
What is survival parenting? Survival parenting is when you find yourself lowering your usual parenting standards and expectations. You lower them to a substandard level in an effort to make it through a particular moment in time.
I have decided there are different stages of Survival Parenting:
Stage 1 - Relatively minor lowering of standards and includes examples such as:
Stage 2 - A little lower on the substandard parenting scale. Stage 2 survival parenting includes examples such as:
Stage 3 - Sound the alarms, mom or dad is about to blow and their patience has been pushed to the limits. Stage 3 Survival parenting is the mode you switch into when you are doing everything in your power to avoid one, or maybe multiple, outcomes:
Stage 3 survival parenting is that stage where you start to question everything:
Stage 3 survival parenting comes after an evening like tonight. An evening of a two year old choosing to whine instead of use his words, cry when even the smallest of requests are not met, throw himself on the floor when mom needs to make dinner.
The best way to describe my son this evening is incorrigible.
My son and I have already gone several rounds by the time dinner is finally fixed and on the table. Round 13 starts as we sit down to eat, as I present him with a lovely well-balanced meal that I spent a lot of time on.
With perfect timing he starts requesting to watch TV and wants M&M’s for dinner.
In my best mommy voice (which is already sounding strained from round 1 – 12 that we went through earlier in the evening):
“You know you only get M&M’s when you go pee on the potty, do you have to go pee on the potty? If you go pee on the potty you can have your 3 M&M’s with dinner.”
“No pee on the potty” he screams.
Then he spies the banana, “Want to eat a banana" he yells.
Oh man, I have fallen for this trick several times, the banana goes uneaten but the banana peel becomes a fun toy. Once again, in my best mommy-is-so-patient voice I try to come up with one of those award winning responses that I read about in books. You know…those responses that are not supposed to include the word ‘no’ while trying to acknowledge his feelings at the same time:
“I know it is frustrating that you can’t have a banana now but you need to eat dinner first and then you can have a banana.”
This does not work. Round 13 goes on like this for another 15 minutes or so.
It is at this point that I know I am moving into Stage 3 parenting because I would really like to say, “just eat your f’en dinner already!!!”
And the questioning of my parenting abilities really starts to kick in:
I resort to giving in…just a little bit (or so I tell myself). I console him and let him watch TV while I try to finish my cold dinner.
And then it happens...my son quietly gets off the couch and comes and sits at the table and starts eating dinner. I am screaming in my head, "I won, I won, I won!"
Oh no, or did he win because he is watching TV from the dinner table while he spits out organic chicken. But then he eats two bites of the wheat pasta that I slipped onto his plate and my confidence comes back again…"I won, I won,I won!"
Survival Parenting. As I eat chocolate and relfect on what I did well and what I could have done better this evening, I decide I can’t beat myself up too bad for slipping into stage 3 parenting…because it is after all…survival parenting.
I can’t always be super mom. Super mom will be back tomorrow and I will be ready, once again, to outsmart-the-two-year old. I tell myself that my child needs the same leeway as well, he can’t always be perfect. I can’t expect him to have his listening ears on all the time, I can’t expect him to be happily following instructions all hours of the day. He is going to have good and bad moments and both mom and child need to be allowed these imperfections.
I promise to myself that survival parenting won’t rear its ugly head again for another few days. I also remind myself that survival parenting is okay. It is a necessary part of parenting in order for me and my child to coexist.
Do you have similar parenting challenges? Sharing parenting challenges is key to keeping us moms and dads sane! Post a comment to share your thoughts!
Categories: Kid Solutions