The Many Layers of Parenting Big Kids
I feel like my day to day lineup of personal responsibilities is already fairly long. Adding in the layers of household duties and each child’s emotional and practical needs and we have our hours and minutes more than accounted for. When it comes to priorities, I am maxed out and honestly have a hard time delegating, when every part of me wants to be the best mom and the best business owner I can possibly be.
During the holidays it seems that everything is exacerbated, and the reality is that a lot tends to fall through the cracks. Unfortunately for all of us, this can sometimes mean that my children take turns feeling overlooked. Beau, Evangeline and baby Demi are young enough to process and let me know immediately how they feel neglected. Jack and Zoe have gotten to the age where-while they can process their feelings-they also compartmentalize and move on to the next thing. It is a great time for me to be very deliberate about making a list and checking it twice to ensure that everything is getting done, including having the important conversations.
During these busy times, I am often overwhelmed and say “yes” to things that will make the kids happy for the time being- more screen time, more sweets, even a Shirley Temple for them and a beer for me during dinners out. I have learned that while this solves the stress of a moment well for me and keeps them happy, it also creates more work for all of us later. It’s imperative that I remember to have the conversations about making good choices often and regularly so that they know the difference between responsible decisions and problematic ones. I don’t drink beer often, so I make sure to note that festive celebrations sometimes mean that when they get a soda pop and the adults drink a cocktail, we all keep things in moderation. Often the more “fun” choice is the one to make sure we don’t go overboard with.
Jack and Zoe are getting to the age where they’re in situations more often where they can make decisions for themselves, so it’s important to me that I model good decision making as well as moderation. We don’t eat 15 cookies in a sitting, and mom and dad rarely drink-and when they do, they only have one or two. For my family, so far, this has worked well and I have the resources at http://asklistenlearn.org/ to thank for guiding me around this behavior and the conversations. It’s not something that comes naturally, so I am most grateful for the resource and absolutely recommend that you check it out, especially if you have children in the tween age range. I feel empowered and equipped to handle some of the tougher conversations, and that is incredibly valuable to me as a parent.