Wednesday, December 12, 2012

mothering on display

Mason's nearly 15 months old, and his disobedience is in full force. (Well, it feels like it's in full force, but he's not even two yet. The best is surely yet to come.) The combination of his endless energy, strong will, and quick temper get him in trouble frequently. As first-time parents, Brad and I are muddling through--praying and thinking about how to wisely and effectively discipline Mason. It's not easy. Regardless of our method, we strive to be united and consistent.

A natural rule follower and a lover of structure and policies, I anticipated no problems being consistent in my disciplining. But I did not expect the act to be so exhausting, especially when I'm scolding him for the same offense for the 20th time in an hour when all I really want to do is finish a sentence conversation with a fellow mom or complete the task at hand, whatever it is. It's often tempting to ignore Mason's disobedience and carry on, but my passionate boy doesn't learn the expectations with my negligence, which often makes his behavior worse.

Alas, I find myself in this season that I call "mothering on display." He tests me both in public and at home. I feel the least amount of pressure among moms with similarly aged children--we all feel each other's pain. People in public will be judgmental of my child and my parenting skills, that's a given--I cast plenty of judgment on other parents and children pre-Mason, too. Some doting family members mean well, but they've forgotten what it's like to have a disobedient toddler and that it's inappropriate to laugh at or encourage Mason in his troubling antics, which only tempts me to discipline them, too!

In what ways do you feel like your mothering is on display? How do you deal with it?


Robin (noteverstill/noteversewing) said...

Just let it happen. Otherwise he'll quickly learn that you'll be more lax if there are witnesses, and he'll modulate his behavior opportunistically. Kids are crafty that way.
And my sweet girl who turned five yesterday? She's the one who put me through the toughest version of this test. She lay down in the center aisle of Target screaming and tantrumming and when I tried to pick her up and move her out of the way she yelled "don't touch me! You're not my mommy!" Luckily she looks just like me. That was three years ago; I'm still scarred.

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

I still feel very much on display (love that phrase BTW!) and don't handle it very well but to compensate, I always make an extra effort to give a smile or simple, "this is so hard, isn't it?" to OTHER mothers who are mothering on display, especially those with children younger than mine. Imagine how much easier parenting would be if everyone would stop judging!

Stacy said...

Awwww.....hang in there - Freddy was awful from about 14 months until about 2 years 7.5 months. Not that I was counting. But he challenged us on everything. And you have the right approach, consistency, consistency, consistency. Freddy is a huge sweetie now, but it was a long hard toddlerhood. As a friend recently told me, the days are long, but the years are short - will be praying for much perseverence for you and Brad, sounds like you have a brilliant, healthy, energetic little guy!

Thrift Store Mama said...

My DD#2, Ramona, now aged 5, is a challenging child. Wonderful and loving and funny, and spirited and stubborn and challenging.

I feel most on display when she is in a tantrum or about to go in to one. With her, any direct confrontation at those moments results in further escalation; so we either benignly ignore her or try to distract her. But it's hard to keep calm and not freak out or yell at her.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh yeahhhhh. I know exactly what you're going through. Cadet is starting to show his personality and assert his opinions. He's about to turn 15 months too...and it's a challenge. I have no words of advice, as we're just starting out in these new waters.

I will say...I love that shirt on Mason. Cadet has the same one!!!