Every parenting book is going to insist that there will be no favoritism when it comes to your kids. It’s wrong. It can cause irreparable damage. And they’re right…sort of.
Let’s all be real for a hot sec. When you live with other people, especially kids, there are always personality hiccups. You know what they are, you’ve got one kid that you can’t quite see eye-to-eye with on a given day. Maybe it’s them, maybe it’s you. Everybody is entitled to have a mood. It’s how we handle ourselves in those moments that defines what kind of parent we are. Read on..
Obviously, I love all my kids and I’d do ANYTHING for them at any time (I really like sleep, though, so let’s not forget that, kids!) But have there been days when one of them was acting like a total weenie? YES! Did that aggravate me enough to carry my frustration into the next day? Absolutely. Were there phases that the kids went through that made me want to…well, you get the picture. No need to unload completely here. They still got fed, hugged often, and were given free housing, so they’re fine.
Eleven. For some reason that I will never understand, all my boys were a complete pain in the you-know-what when they were eleven. It makes no logical sense but it happened. Four boys, four separate times. Of course, there were extra punishments being doled out. One even lost an entire Red Sox season (you know which one you are). Games, highlights, even asking Dad the score from last night’s game… all of it. For three months. And this was before smartphone apps updated you on all that stuff (sorry, Brendan, that probably just gave it away). So for parts of that summer, he was knocked out off the top rung. But he made it back…eventually. Especially when he married Meg 🙂
Or there was the time when Keegan threw his hockey stick and dented the wall in his room. Not a great day for either of our moods. He was definitely not my favorite that day…but I still loved him. And he grew up and matured and stopped throwing sports equipment. He made his way back up the ladder.
Or the time that Abby lied about trying on her sister’s eyeliner. I still giggle at that one. She must’ve thought I was a rookie! Regardless, in our house lying is on a different scale of discipline. It means we can’t trust you. The kids have to work especially hard to earn the trust back, but we never stop loving them. Abby fell quite a few rungs that day but learned a great lesson in the process.
So why the ladder references? In our house, we have ‘Mom’s ladder’. The kids all try to make their way to the top rung. I’m not sure when it started, but it’s been around awhile. They love to call each other out when one loses their grip on a high rung, by say, leaving their room a mess, or dirty dishes in the sink.
Good report card? That’ll bump you up a rung or two.
Bring me a cup of dark roast coffee? That’s a big leap up…I’m always up for bartering.
Leave my gas tank on empty? That’ll cost you a rung. Two on a work morning.
You get the idea. Mom’s ladder is a long-standing joke at our house. It’s fun to watch them try to out ‘do-good’ each other in order to knock the other down the ladder.
All in good fun, folks. A sense of humor is a must in this parenting game. The days would be dreadful without at least some humor. C’mon.
So what’s my point? Life happens. Kids mess up. I mess up. (although I have a 9 to 1 ratio, so I’m doing ok for the most part…) There will be days when one kid pushes me to the limit and it’s ok in my book that they understand that they screwed up. It helps teach them the important stuff.
Like the value of a cup of dark roast coffee.