Another lovely fall weather weekend, and mostly had a good time. I fit in two intense workouts (so so sore today!), we had a date night Saturday night, and I took the kids to the library & park Sunday to give G time to work on the bed project. We also got some lingering tasks off the list, including a many months overdue 3-ginormous-contractor-trashbags haul to Goodwill.
This weekend was a good testament to the fact that paying attention to what I need, and incorporating that into our spare time as much as possible, makes for much better weekends. Examples: 1) the workouts 2) being outside as much as possible: Saturday afternoon, after an incredibly boring birthday party at a bounce place (it was 30 minutes away, so we drove, and G dropped us off and did groceries/errands) where I ate too much pizza/cake at the end, I took G up on the offer for some free time & took the dog on an hour-long walk through the city. Worked off the extra food & felt so good to be out in the fresh air. Sunday, I turned the library trip into outdoor time, too, we skipped the first bus & played at the bus stop for 30 minutes on the way home (open space, with trees/grass/benches) and when the boys insisted on having books read to them, we did it at a park instead of sitting at home and 3) resting & sleeping when needed: We came home early from our dinner date because a) they brought the food out so quick we were done and b) I could barely keep my eyes open after a super active day (and half a bottle of wine). On Sunday, after having the boys solo from noon-6pm I again took G up on his offer to take care of dinner & lunch making (the latter is usually my job) since he had a relaxing time working outside in the backyard all afternoon. I poured myself some wine & just sat in the living room loosely supervising the kids while he worked in the kitchen.
The weekend was far from perfect. Sunday was actually really rough---the kids were both tired (I think they stayed up late with the sitter and woke up early as they ALWAYS do on Sundays---whyyyyyyy!!!! we have to wake them up on weekdays!) and L didn't nap either day this weekend. They were TERRIBLE and so so challenging. I really started off with good intentions. I stayed calm, delivered pre-agreed-upon consequences without getting emotional, I tried distraction and diffusion of the situation, I tried to stay in good spirits and made sure we had food & activity & down time but oh my god they were awful despite all that effort. There were definitely some moments where I lost it and was ashamed of my behavior. Sunday night I just felt really down about it, and ended up doing my "zoning out" routine (drinking wine while watching Gilmore Girls AND playing games on my phone) and stayed up way too late.
Before I had kids, and even when they were really young, I had these ideas of what kind of parent I would be and how we would discipline our kids & teach them right from wrong. I read the books and was so sure I would never resort to: bribery, fear, guilt. That I would never make empty threats and would always pick my battles. That we would 100% be consistent within and between ourselves in our consequences & discipline.
Obviously this is not the reality in our house right now. When unacceptable (and annoying as fuck) behavior is not just happening once in a while but seems to be near constant, it is really really hard to stay calm or to be consistent and rational. I find myself stooping to anything. ANYTHING at all that will make them stop hitting/pushing/saying bad words/spitting on me/whining/stomping/screaming/throwing things/demanding/complaining/etc... By Sunday night I was throwing major guilt trips at B and threatening L with things I was never going to follow through on, just to get them to GO THE F TO SLEEP that they (and we) so desperately needed.
I can't keep beating myself up about it. The only thing to do is start fresh this week. Remind myself that its OK to let some things go. To err on the side of reacting less. To keep trying to see their side, to empathize with their big feelings and their inability to express them in socially acceptable ways. To how everything seems out of their control and subject to our (arguably inexplicable, at least from their view point) whims. To understand that while they are maturing quickly in many ways, their brains may be having some trouble with connecting the emotional and rational sides. And that kindness and gentleness will go a lot further (and at the very least, cause less regret) than fear and threats and roughness.
As I say to my kids: today is done, tomorrow is another one. Lets make it a good one.