Yesterday was really a hard day as a parent. I watch my nephews who are 5 and 4 about 1-2 times a week in addition to my son who is 2 1/2. My son loves his cousins so much. However he is still learning not to hit when he wants something or push someone out-of-the-way. Last week I felt like we were turning a corner on this behavior as he didn’t hit at all that day. The older boys have been helping me by just giving him a toy as long as he says please to help encourage the good behavior. However yesterday was the opposite of last week. Whenever he doesn’t sleep well he is cranky and rude. I can relate. I am not the happiest of people but I am an adult. I felt like I was being a referee all day, constantly having to correct him and separate him from his cousins. Thankfully he rarely hurts anyone, it is usually just hurt feelings but it is frustrating as a parent when you are trying to teach them the right way to behave. So needless to say I felt exhausted and just done at the end of the day. His behavior was clearly motivated by his tiredness as he told me at 5pm that he needed a nap. So he went to bed early and slept so much better last night.
I had planned to do some errands and some other chores around the house today but realized that we needed to reboot our week. I needed to have a fun day with my son so that not all my parenting is discipline. Discipline is important but so is fun. We need to be the fun moms (dads and grandparents). As families we will burn out if we spend day in and day out in the same grind with no family fun. We need to enjoy our children and experience the joy that is their childhood.
So today instead of errands and housework I took my boy to Busch Gardens. We have passes so it is a fun outing that I like to do with him. He didn’t get to have everything he wanted or call the shots but we had a fun time. I asked him what animals he wanted to see or what he wanted to do next. We got a soft pretzel and shared it. We rode the train and played in the splash pad. We had fun. I enjoyed being with my son and I really needed that after yesterday’s marathon of discipline. I know it isn’t always possible to drop everything and spend a day of fun but even a trip to the park or to get an ice cream is a great way to reboot.
So when you get in that vicious cycle look for a way to add fun into your family life. You need it and so do your kids.