It's important to spend alone time….with each kid, that is...
"I don't even like you anymore." "You don't love me." I will always encourage my daughter to share her feelings but really, those words were hurting. She is only 5 so I know I have a long road ahead, one full of door slamming and evil eyeing. But I also know my daughter well enough to recognize that she needed quality mom time. (Or maybe I needed a little Skye time.)
A few weekends ago, my husband and our son went with his dad to Dallas for the Buffalo Bills vs Dallas Cowboys NFL game. (We are die-hard Bills fans.) And that left an opening for me to organize a "get to know my daughter again" weekend. I didn't tell her that, just my fellow bus-stop moms.
My goal was to take time (which I would have more of with only one kid in the house) to understand her little angry outbursts by calmly and tenderly reminding her that I love her. Of course, I spindled that in while we went to a movie, got a pedicure and giggled throughout the house. That was the plan at least. And things were imperfectly awesome! As I hoped, I learned a few things along the way, and I wanted to share them with you:
1. I need to give up some of my control. I sometimes hover over little tasks…like pouring the cereal and milk. What's a little mess…especially when she jumps at the chance to clean it up.
2. I need to let her make more decisions in her life….not so much whether she should have swedish fish for breakfast, but maybe what shoes she wants to wear or what coat is warm enough for outside. (She will find out quickly, and learn more if I let her make those decisions…and yes, I might just throw a heavier coat in the trunk just in case: )
3. Although time-outs work sometimes, I think tender words of understanding help her to figure out for herself how she should speak to me and what behavior is appropriate. One night I said, "Skye, I know saying those words to me doesn't make you feel good and it isn't going to get you what you want." She was exhausted, but quickly came around so I could read her a book while she fell asleep on my shoulder.
4. I have a determined, tough, hard-headed little girl on my hands that is also very tender, compassionate and sweet. Fun combination. These can and are all great qualities, I just have to recognize her, for her, and let her be!
Now if I could just figure out how to get around this obsession with the perfect pony-tail…