One of the major things that made me realize that I needed to become a stay-at-home mom is the behavior of my oldest 2. (They’re 2.5 and 4.) It just hit me one day that they had traits and behaviors that I wanted addressed and I was the best one to do it.
Kids of all ages need their moms – I’m not discounting the mother/child connection at all. But I think that in the beginning of a child’s life, mom is mostly there to keep the child alive and thriving. Meet their emotional needs? Yes, of course. For sure.
But as the child gets older, it’s less about meeting physical needs and more about training them. Shaping their behavior. Socializing them. Helping to root out negative tendencies like selfishness, temper tantrums, and outbursts.
I was facing an uphill battle when it came to that. I haven’t been diligent in the small stuff when they were younger and it grew into bigger things as they got bigger. It’s just snowballed into something really difficult to correct.
I realized that the daycare was in charge of that molding for far more hours in a week than I was. I knew of most of their daycare teachers, but not all of them. And I didn’t know them very well. Each teacher had their own way of doing things and sometimes my ways were different than theirs (not necessarily good or bad, but different brings confusion). Each day, I got a few seconds with their teachers and a written report. Essentially, I was left with 1-2 hours a day during the work week and then the weekends to influence my kids.
It wasn’t enough. Not based upon the behavior that I was seeing. Each kid is different. Each kid needs different things. Each kids thrives under different circumstances. And mine weren’t thriving under the situation we were in.
So now that I’m at home, I’m trying to be intentional about training them.
- Helping them manage emotions (“It’s okay to be angry, it’s not okay to throw things.”).
- Being very clear on expectations. Around all kinds of things, even dinner (We don’t talk when daddy is praying. We sit on our bottoms, not spin around on our head. We don’t take food off others’ plates without asking. We ask to be excused when we’re done. We don’t smash banana in our hair (ok–that’s the 15 month old who does that!).)
- Practicing skills. Skills like walking near me when we’re in public. Learning to button our own shirts. Using the bathroom (Stephen is potty training). Brushing our own teeth. Things that used to be easier for me to just do for them, given the time constraints that I had.
It definitely has some rough moments that turn into rough hours and rough days, but it’s been eye-opening and rewarding. And I think maybe we’re starting to see progress. Little by little – it’s going to take time!