For Project Optimism this lovely Monday morning, I thought I would touch briefly on how there is invariably a glimmer of hope to be found in every situation, whether it be big or small.
I have mentioned before that I do like Mondays but I have to admit I was not looking forward to today. My weekend had had a number of components to it that had just zapped my expectations of a happy day, starting with the normal Saturday morning screeching and wailing that is my 6 year old being told that she has to tidy her room.
‘But WHY?’ she wails.
‘I don’t mind the mess.’ she cries.
‘He did it!’ she accuses her 3 year old brother (there may be some truth in that, but it’s not the entire story at all).
‘Why won’t anyone help me.’ she demands.
‘It’s not fair.’
Yes – at 6 we have reached that well known childhood phrase. It’s not fair. Teenagerdoom lurks ahead. (no, that is not a spelling mistake!)
We have tried reasoning, arguing, impassioned sobbing (both her and me). I have attached star charts to fridges, offered pocket money as an incentive, threatened to bin everything on the floor.
On Sunday I ‘helped’ tidy her room and in doing so made a pile of yet more broken toys.
‘Why don’t you look after your things?’ I demand.
And yes, once again I feel like a total failure as a parent because I have tried bribery and everything else known to parents all over and still my child refuses to clean her room and shows no appreciation for the many things she has.
(I don’t think my child is any more spoilt than the average kid in the UK, but perhaps all of our children these days just have too much!)
She doesn’t understand the time it takes to earn the money to buy the frippery in her room that she so casually stands on, snaps, kicks under the bed or uses as a doorstop.
Is 6 too young to learn this?
I don’t think so. I just am not sure how to go about instilling it.
So – I banned use of my iPad, my phone, daddy’s PS, the TV. All screens were off in this house.
Sunday was a day of play. With actual physical toys. (NO, this does not count as child abuse.)
I issued a new decree in the land of Mummy Rules! And it was thus –
You shall earn your gaming time by doing something good every day that shows you value and care for your things. There shall be no screen until your bedroom is tidy every day.
Yep – I didn’t really expect her to listen either. Or Mr G, or myself for that matter. Because let’s face it – throwing them at a screen is an easy babysitter for us too.
On top of this I have been having some down time about family/friends. I mentioned it briefly here. So I went to bed last night feeling quite tired of it all. Flat.
Which is not like me.
This morning I woke up ready to attack the day, starting with the morning screech and shout to get the kids moving, dressed, fed and ready for school. (Good god, I sound like an awful mother. Perhaps I should give up now.)
I went into my daughter’s room to wake her up.
But she was not in bed.
No – she was tidying her room.
Then, whilst I was in the shower, she dressed herself, brushed her teeth and attempted to brush her hair.
Whilst I was dressing Mini Monster 2, she went and voluntarily washed her face. Voluntarily!
We ate breakfast, early.
And then Mini Monster 1 turned to me and said ‘Did I do something good now mummy?’
“Yes darling, very good this morning.” I smiled.
“And did you notice I tidied up Mini Monster 2’s toy box too.” she questioned.
“Yes honey,” I lied. Mental note, must go check the box.
“And have I earned some time on the iPad now mummy?”
Yes – it is bribery. Yes – it is materialistic. Yes – it is a computer game.
But I have found a carrot and stick that works and I’m keeping it.
So – the point to this is that just when you think it is time to give up, to stop trying, a glimmer of hope will appear! Just a calm start to the day can make all the difference.
Now – you might think that that is all there is to say.
But no – I have yet to tell you where the optimism comes in.
And this is it – despite all evidence to the contrary, despite knowing that my child has the attention span of a gnat . . .
I am optimistic that this particular carrot will last for at least two whole days before that room is a tip again.
This is all about optimism as part of Project Optimism. Find out more here.