Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Say to My Kids vs. What I Actually Mean

Lately, I find myself saying things to my kids that I don't entirely mean. It's not that I'm lying to them or anything. It's just that what I want to say and what I should say are often not the same things.

Because I see them doing stuff like throwing mulch in the air. Then when it lands in their face and gets in their eyes, I want to say something like "I told you not to throw mulch. Like possibly a million times. You think maybe this was why?"

But then I see other parents saying things like: "When you throw mulch, it can get in your eyes and that hurts. Let's make another choice."

And I'm so impressed by these parents. I just hang my head and think to myself that I'm nearly ten years into motherhood, and all my instincts still suck. So I actively make an effort NOT to say what I really mean to my kids. Instead - I try to imagine what a good parent would do and I say that. And I made little video about it and here it is:



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

34 comments:

  1. Ah Bathtime. That was us tonight :/ 2/3 aren't bad odds though, right? (;

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  2. That is exactly how I have felt the last couple of weeks with my oldest.

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  3. Ladies, I love you more than chocolate-flavored wine... but I have to tell you those were not nearly as strong as the ones I deal with in my house... course my Thing 1 and Thing 2 are almost human- at 14 and 12, when I say "Did you forget anything", what I REALLY want to say is "Are you planning to leave the house without the backpack I just tripped over and poured scalding hot coffee on my legs with?" and "Time to get up" means "I've been listening to the happy sounds of your alarm for the last HALF AN HOUR".... ;)

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  4. I'm sorry, but I so totally say "I told you not to throw mulch. Like possibly a million times. You think maybe this was why?" and I use the word "DUH" and I do the look and all of those. I say NOW!!!!!! so many times during the day that sometimes I think it's the only word I can say!

    So, NO, it's not just you. I think it is every single (honest) mother out there!

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    1. I'm with you. I say all the things she really means.

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    2. OMG Thank you! I read this and thought - Great feeling like the worst mother ever!

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    3. Seriously! I read the response of the "great mother" and just felt like grumbling "hippy." under my breath. maybe I actually did do that, to no one in particular. Truth. Sometimes it hurts. Kid's are like chumbawumba. They get knocked down, btu they'll get up again. I told you not to throw mulch. But you'll throw it again. Probably as a weapon this time.

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    4. Seriously greatest line ever. "like chumbawumba. They get knocked down, btu they'll get up again." i had to copy and paste b/c my 2 year old hooligan too my letter between j and l.

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  5. Love this :) one of my own personal favorites is to tell me kids EVERY DAY to put on coats. It's 27 degrees and there is snow on the ground. You think it'd be a given, but surprisingly, it's not...

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  6. Exactly exactly! Please stay in bed. Vs. Stay, sleep, or I'm gonna flip out, again.

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  7. Oh my goodness, this is awesome!! And completely and totally accurate!!

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  8. Oh even yesser. My husband and frequently discuss What We Said vs. What We Mean after the kids are in bed - we are both right there with ya.

    (Also, WHAT is the song in your video - I loved it!)

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  9. I sit here at my computer and CHORTLE. Yesses. YESSES. Thank you. :)

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  10. As always, I'm laughing and crying at the same time! Thanks for what you do!

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  11. I'm still trying to figure out how mine can remember every toy, writing implement, and accessory in the way to the car, but they somehow forgot the backpack/swim bag that they need for the place we are GOING. And how do you remember shoes AFTER you've walked through the cold garage to the car!?!?!?

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  12. Yeah, I so can't think of the nice way to say things. Usually, by the time we've gotten to the mulch throwing in the eye incident, I've already said "don't do that" about 40 times and they kept on doing it. So, when it does actually land in their eye, my compassion is gone and my "serves you right" attitude is in high gear. My children just insist on learning things the hard way.

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  13. It's not just you. Thanks for this!

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  14. Cute movie!! You have awesome skillz. And no it's not just you.

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  15. Defintely not just you. Mom of 3 here too! My 2 year old fell off the couch because she was jumping on it... I had to bite my tongue on that one. Thanks for sharing your video! Love it!

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  16. Every mother, every where has said something that they probably shouldn't have.... Mine are 20 and 23... years not months.... and to this day I still find myself saying ... " So help me God! If you two don't stop fighting I'm going to smack your heads together!" And I hold the worlds record for the number of times you can ask the question " Did you feed the dogs?"

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  17. OMG yes.... I'm the fulltime stepmom to an eight year old whom I got my claws into around the age of four. In the beginning, I said exactly what I meant, and got a lot of kickback for it. I think I've gradually transitioned into the first category, though, and ask things like, "Do those clothes fit our rules about weather?" ...Every day. And then, "Do those shoes fit the weather?" ...Every...day...

    Thankfully, she's eight now, so I rarely find reason to blow my top with her, but there are nights that I feel a tall glass of wine is in order :D Keep it up, Lydia, and trust me that it does get easier :D

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  18. Love this! The last part about promising was pretty beautiful and true, and yes...mommy needs a freakin' break sometimes! Thanks for the awesome video!

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  19. Oh Gawd! I'm the worst mother ever. I totally go Mother Gothel. After a 10 hour work day, I can get frustrated with the "I CAAAAAAAN'T" attitude over homework. Our school is ramping it up for Kindergarten, so they are expected to be reading and doing basic math. Last night, Youngest told me she couldn't read (she actually does pretty well) and I responded with "Honey, you are such a smart little girl, and your teacher is going to be testing you soon. You don't want her to think you aren't smart, do you? Ok, now let's sound it out." I.Am.Horrible.

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    1. NO! YOU are not horrible, it is her teacher that has unrealistic expectations. They aren't teaching her to read, they are teaching her to hate learning. Learning to read is challenging because English is so contradictory, but it comes, because there is so much incentive to learn to read. If Mommy reads, your daughter will want to also. And that desire will fuel the passion for more. My oldest taught himself to read at age 7--he skipped all those stages of belabored phonics...we just read together every day and talked about what letters said what, then blends, but it was all in the course of reading together. He just turned 13 and has read the entire Tolkien trilogy. I was so worried that he was taking so long, and I never had to be. Some kids learn to read later (age 10-12), if given the freedom, because their brains are wired to be working on other problems, learning other things. But I know how tiring the whining can be. I have a zero tolerance policy on whining, but really, how to enforce it? :P

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  20. This is awesome and brilliant, and I MAY take the time to embed it on my blog. I'm about half and half with kind/calm words and silly/snide/over-truth. As long as I keep it to sometimes, I think the over-the-top responses sink in better.

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  21. I'm seriously thinking of creating a "teen" version of this list of things you say but what you really mean. My God in heaven - the things I say that I a) can't believe are coming out of my mouth and b)aren't close to what I'm thinking and really mean. I'll begin with, "Be safe driving." This really means, "If you text and drive, you will have to have your phone surgically removed from your ass." See? You've inspired me. :-)

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  22. Awesomesauce! Today for some reason my little boy was replaced with a cross between a howler monkey and that crazy gremlin with the googley eyes from Gremlins 2. He was freaking nutz all day and my husband actually said you are going to make Mommy kill herself just to get it to make it stop!!! He was only 99.99999% right lmao!

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  23. I think I do ok most of the time, but I did flip out today and tell my sick 6 year old that he had to stop talking or my ears would bleed. He wasn't barfing or crapping himself at the time, so cut me some slack. But you understand that a kid who STILL can talk non stop after barfing & crapping for 36 hours can make you lose your schmidt.

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  24. Very funny! And brought back some wonderful memories of when the kids were younger. Now at 20 and 15 years old I've totally thrown in the towel and am just treading water praying that I survive!

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  25. omg. i wept through that it was so funny. and as usual - right on the money.

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  26. Actually - I usually say what I mean - JUST LIKE THAT or worse... and my kids are turning out fine.
    Sometimes there is nothing better than a good, strong...."Knock it off NOW!"

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