Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Leave Me Alone!!

My oldest has been, in my mind, ridiculously demanding of my attention the past few days. If I walk away to fold a few towels, he starts screaming for me to come and see what he just did. If I tell him I would love to see his creation in a few minutes, things are thrown, my youngest is pushed or the dog is let outside (this is not a helpful thing in a neighborhood that is nuts about leashed dogs). If I stop playing to get my youngest a drink, he says, "Why don't you ever want to play with me?" I didn't realize he would learn how to make me feel guilty so early on in his life. The adult part of me knows that we have been very busy, he's tired and he's still unwinding from the craziness. The inner child in me says, "Leave me alone!!!" At a loss, I called my mom.

"I'm hearing a few things," she said kindly after she listened to my twenty minute rant. "It sounds like you are being a bit too nice to him. Sometimes you just have to say, 'Enough. I will not put up with this behavior. In your room until I'm ready to get you.' It's okay to be scary sometimes. He needs to know you are in control," she shared.

She went on to tell me that I needed to build in some time for myself in the day while they are awake. "Tell them it's free time," she said, "and that they can play with whatever they want during that time as long as they play by themselves." Apparently my cousin Jasmine, who has a five year old, sets aside 45 minutes a day for reading time. (I know, I know. I'm not sure it's possible either but it's worth a shot.)

Every time we talk like this, I can hear her saying those things to me as a child. And guess what? I still love her. I love her even though she was very firm with me. I love her even though she would spend a few hours every Saturday sewing, reading or gardening and she would not permit any interruptions. I love her for always being clear about what was okay and what wasn't okay. And my sons will, too.

As hard as it is to feel like I'm being a bad parent by not playing and indulging them in their wishes, the opposite is really true. They need to hear "no" because they must understand that other people have needs, too. The world simply cannot revolve around them as they grow older. It is my goal to raise men that make a difference in this world and that won't happen if they are spoiled by constant attention. And it certainly won't happen if I don't take time for myself.

How do you make sure that you have enough time for yourself? What is the best way you have found to nip behavior in the bud? Jasmine, my sweet cousin, share your secret to a 45 minute reading time with us!!


  1. Hi Kate! Yes as an avid reader like yourself, reading is extremely important for me to do daily. Weekdays Chloe and I have 45 minutes to an hour of reading time. Yes she just looks at books but it counts. We grab stacks of books even toy catalogs for her in our big get ready for quiet time precession. We settle down by me reading one story before I leave her to her stack! Sometimes it lasts longer and sometimes it only lasts 5 minutes. She reminds me if I have taken forgotten to do quiet time. Which shows me she enjoys it also. Sometimes she just sings or occasionally will be caught jumping on the bed but for me that 45 minutes before daddy comes home and bubba is doing homework while we are reading is the recharge we all need to have a great evening. It is different from time outs because she gets to pick out her books and where she reads. My 6th grader also has to read daily and he like Sis always had to do this and his love of books is beyond most children. Your bookworm cousin, Jasmine

  2. I love this idea! I am going to try it before Dane comes home today. We all need that time to recharge. It's encouraging to know she doesn't sit quietly for 45 minutes every day. As long as I have time to read, I am a happy girl. Thanks so much for giving me the details! XO


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