I’m sure many of you can relate to the story I’m about to share. I’ve gone through a tough year with my soon to be 8 year old daughter. I don’t know where her attitude, disrespect and anger have come from. Am I getting a sneak preview of what’s it’s like to have a pre-teen? I have noticed one common thread though. She only treats me like this, which unfortunately means there is a reason for this. Which I will share at the end.
I am a stay at home Mom who’s main job is to raise a good hearted person. My daughter practiced Martial Arts from 3 years old up till right before her 7th birthday, when a tragic event happened (that story will be told in another post). Joining martial arts was the best decision we could have made for our daughter as it has taught her respect, discipline, communication, honesty, self defense among many other things. I was so proud of my little girls behavior in and out of the house.
Unfortunately, after a personal family tragedy last November, my daughter could no longer walk through the doors of our second home. We decided to give Leah a break, as she had been dedicated for so many years, and we had both earned our green belts and had just moved into advanced classes. We say to this day that we will never give up, some things take time. I’m sad to report that my daughter is still not ready and we have not been able to return yet.
“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a Mother.” @whw_jessica -Click to Tweet
Back to my original post! My daughters behavior has been unacceptable recently as her father works 2 jobs and is never home. I am left to try to be Mom and Dad, and today I feel like a failure. I told my husband the story I’m about to tell you last night, through tears. He listened silently then told me that I should never feel like a failure, and that I am doing an amazing job. He gave me the reassurance I so needed. I honestly don’t hear those words too much. Lately it’s been “I hate you” or “you’re the meanest mom ever”. It felt very good to hear even though I couldn’t stop crying.
It started yesterday after school, the second I picked my daughter up. She was ignoring me, not listening and being extremely disrespectful. Once home from school it got worse. My 7 year old told me to “shut up” and didn’t care how hurtful she was being. She threw one fit after another. It was seriously ridiculous. It was definitely one of those nights. Nothing was going right and my patience was breaking. I couldn’t believe I was arguing with a 7 year old! The afternoon hit its peak after homework was completed, my daughter turned into a complete monster. It’s like she is so good at school all day and when she gets home she lets everything out. She ended up getting her tablet taken away (until her behavior changes), and was given dinner, a shower and put to bed.
Daddy got home a little early and caught me crying in our room. I try so hard to be a good mom and I absolutely hate losing my cool on her. I let her see that she got to me but I was extremely disrespected. I could not let it go. I’m not a spanker, I believe that words and explanations work better. And taking away an electronic is always the end of the world at our house. My husband had a very long talk with her. He is so good at this stuff, I believe it would be so different if he was around more often.
As another part of her punishment we decided her 2 elves on the shelf would be staying at the north pole until her behavior changes (she has 2 elves, a boy and a girl. This will be explained in the next post). They left a letter behind telling Leah why they wouldn’t be back. My daughter is extremely attached to these elves. I’ve never seen a kid so crushed the next morning. So much, that it broke my heart. She couldn’t believe her Elves were really gone. She just cried. Great start to a day. I drop her off at school still feeling horrible. I don’t think the feeling will go away but I’m learning this comes with being a Mom.
When I picked her up this afternoon she had gone shopping at a holiday bazaar at her school and had bought Christmas presents for everyone she loves with all her Toothfairy money. Then we headed into the school for parent/teacher conferences and I was blown away by what her teacher said about her. It brought tears to my eyes. I thought to myself that maybe I am doing something right. I don’t know how but just maybe.
After the meeting, I kneeled down and gave Leah the biggest hug ever and told her how proud I was of her. Then I took her out for pancakes and we ended up having a really good night. As we pull up to our house I look back at Leah and she is silently crying. She said she missed her elves really bad. Ouch, it stings seeing her reaction.
Even though it hurts, I’m proud of myself for not caving in today and giving her tablet back, because she definitely asked. I told her not until the elves come back. Leah’s birthday is Monday and she will be crushed if her elves aren’t back by then. I’m going to hold out as long as I can because the magic these elves hold over my daughter really is magical. I hate having to use them against her but honestly I didn’t know what else to do.
Which brings me back to my statement about Leah only treating me badly and everyone else just fine. It’s because we are together almost 24/7, she is most comfortable with me and she knows my love for her has no end. Therefore she feels she can act any way she wants and I will forgive her because I am her Mom and I will always love her. At 7, she realizes that my love for her will never change, but there are going to be more consequences for bad behavior.
As a Mom, who suffers from an invisible illness, sometimes my guilt gets the best of me as I understand how short life can be. I honestly don’t want my daughter to remember her Mama as being strict and mean. I am more about making the best memories for her. I’m finally finding a balance and we all know these phases change daily. Just trying to make it through one day at a time with this one. She is definitely a challenge but I wouldn’t trade her for anything.