On Thursday I vaguely referenced my failure as a parent and linked it to a super cute picture of my total FAKER daughter pretending to pout/cry.
This is award-winning stuff right here.
But, really my sense of failure doesn’t stem from that one. Yet. Her day will come I’m sure. Send margaritas now and make sure they are strong. No, the sense of failure stems from my first born. This guy.
I feel like I sometimes portray parenting as all sunshine, roses, and butterflies. While I do think I hit the kid jackpot (most of the time, sometimes I do want to sell them), I am far from being a super mom or a super anything. Except maybe super confused. Truthfully, I know I’m not a failure, or at least I won’t know if I am one until they are out of the house on their own, but just when you think you are totally rocking this parenting thing the boat tips. Last week it flipped me over.
Here’s the thing, B is a completely sweet kid, maybe a little too sweet. He is a social butterfly. He loves getting in the mix of things, “helping” people, and telling them what to do. He, like most oldest children (*ahem*), thinks he’s in charge – and acts like it. But, he’s not. And his teacher, who is also dealing with 15 other 5 and 6 years old, doesn’t have time for his shenanigans.
We got notice in December that he’s been a real pain in the ass to deal with (don’t worry, she didn’t actually call him that) and in January I set up a point system.
Our fancy point system.
Here’s the gist of it:
- He has the opportunity to get 5 points every morning, every day after school, and every night (so 15 points a day).
- He gets points in the morning for good behavior, getting dressed on his own, making his bed, and brushing his teeth.
- He gets points after school based on his school day/after school care
- He gets points at night for eating his dinner, being nice to his sister, and not whining at bedtime.
- When he doesn’t get his points, he also loses the previous points. Basically because we are mean.
- We can give him bonus points when/if we feel like it.
- His current goal is to cash in his points with a trip to Lego Land, which we’ve decided is 1500 points. The kid dreams big.
At first, it worked. His behavior changed drastically. We got great notes home from his teacher and he was selected as the “Terrific Kid of the Month” in February. I thought I was a parenting GENIUS. Seriously, I thought I was the shit.
And then it all came crashing down.
Yep, he decided he wanted to become a stripper. OK, not really.
Turns out, the point system can only work if you are also fully vested in your kids. You have to spent time with them. Snuggle with them. Read to them. Not just give them points because they didn’t annoy you. Not that I did that or anything.
Last Wednesday, I explained the point system to my co-worker and boss. I was practically bragging about how AWESOME I was – or how awesome my parenting skills were. I was like ninja-mom. I feel like B actually heard me and decided to throw it in my face because the next day I got the dreaded email from his teacher telling me he was back to his bad habits. In the short 5 (almost 6) years that I’ve been a parent nothing has felt worse than someone else telling you that your kid isn’t perfect.
There’s no question why this behavior came back. Between the madness of March, traveling for work, and going out of town for a wedding things slipped to the wayside. In no way have I been neglecting my kids, but I definitely shouldn’t be nominated for any parenting awards. I’m lucky they were dressed and fed and mostly clean. B might be young, but he has proved that he is certainly not stupid. We (as I am not alone in my parenting) got served a big ‘ol BOOYAH.
The good news is that we are now back on track. There were some serious conversations. B told us that he “just really likes to ask questions.” And “talking is fun.” How do you get mad at that?? He’s FIVE not 25.
This whole ordeal was completely minor, but the whole experience has given me yet another reality check when it comes to parenting. It’s not going to get easier. And just when you think you know what you are doing? You realize you have no idea.
When’s the last time you got handed one and got knocked back on your ass? What would you do with your points?