Yes, it is!

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Do What Your Mama Says"

I'm becoming more than a little bit frustrated.  It doesn't matter how often I have asked T to help me with parenting and discipline, it always got right back to the same old routine.
So tonight was a night from hell.  Everything was fine until I came home from Target with a few essentials that we needed for the next day or two.  It was already 8:15 and the kids were still nowhere near ready for bed.  I immediately told Ben to get his pajamas on and brush his teeth.  Well, he was determined that he was going to have ice-cream that he usually never gets because he doesn't eat dinner.  So, he grabbed his dinner that he didn't touch earlier and proceeded to quickly eat it.  Normally, I wouldn't allow this because I expect my children to be finished before I have the kitchen cleaned up after dinnertime.  But in order to keep it as peaceful as the day had been, I gave Ben a time limit to finish up, get his pajamas on, and then he could get ice-cream.  While Ben was finishing his ice-cream, Jackie came in and demanded ice-cream even though I had already told her that since she didn't eat any of the salad that she asked for and only ate a small portion of her spaghetti, she would not get ice-cream.  She asked for a Hershey kiss to which I relented only because she did eat a small portion of her dinner.  After she ate the Hershey kiss, Jackie started in on her drama because I wouldn't give her ice-cream.  I raised my voice while I tried to explain why she couldn't get ice-cream.  Jackie continued to sob, loudly.  So, I gave her a small amount of ice-cream to placate her.  But, Jackie was not happy.  She expected a large amount of ice-cream.  I may have given in already but I was not about to give in to giving her a large bowl of ice-cream.  I was firm and gave Jackie 2 choices, the small amount or none at all.  She continued with the drama and put the little bowl in the freezer.  If she couldn't have the amount that she wanted, then she wasn't going to have any at all.  Fine with me.  In the meantime, Ben still had not picked up his toys like I asked him to.  When T asked what was going on, I told him and so he told Ben "do what your Mama says."  I kindly reminded T about being united as parents and to not say "do what your mama says" because this makes me out to always be the bad guy. I just can't seem to get T to understand this. 
So while I'm trying to deal with Jackie and get her ready for bed, Ben comes around with Jackie's homework.  I kindly asked him for it and he grinned and acted like he was going to color it. When I asked him again, he still refused so I walked toward him to take the paper away from him.  Ben immediately took off, with paper in hand, toward my bedroom where T was busy doing his own thing.  Apparently, this disrupted T enough that it made him a bit angry so he grabbed Ben and took him to his bedroom.  Well, things just went downhill from there.  I went to help Jackie finish getting ready for bed and I could hear T getting frustrated with Ben and even getting a little rough.  By this time, it was around 8:45 pm.  I prefer my children to be in bed by 8:30 but lately, this has been very difficult to achieve.  I can relate to what single parents have to endure during bedtime, especially with more than one child.
After I finished with Jackie, I went to Ben's room to "relieve" T.  Ben was extremely hysterical by this point so I held him until he calmed down enough for me to talk to him about his actions.
After the kids were both in bed, T came out and started in on me.  I then expressed my frustrations when it comes to co-parenting the children.  Apparently, he has certain shows that are very important to him.  I totally understand that but we also have DVR.  He also accused me of yelling at the kids as soon as I came in from Target.  I admit that made me angry because it was not true.  As soon as I came in the door, I noticed Ben had grabbed his cold dinner because he noticed that I had bought some ice-cream and he knew the only way he could get ice-cream was to eat dinner.  I did not yell at Ben.  I was firm when I told him that he had a time limit and that he must be dressed for bed and have his toys picked up before he gets the ice-cream.  Is that fair?  Then I called for Jackie to get ready for bed but T called out that she was still working on her homework.  Okay, fine.  But then she came out and wanted ice-cream because it wasn't fair that Ben got some and she didn't.  I explained to her why she wasn't going to get ice-cream.  But when she started with the major water works and the uncontrollable sobbing, I raised my voice so that she could hear me explain my position.  Perhaps that wasn't right but I didn't yell at her.
When I tried to explain to T my frustrations about bedtime and that they really should be in bed no later than 8:30, T chimed in and said that 9:00 pm is a more reasonable bedtime?  Really?  For a 4 year old and 7 year old?  Hmm, I had much, MUCH earlier bedtimes at that age.  Plus, with the sleep issues that Ben has been having for the past month, I totally disagree with the late bedtime.  T thinks that if Ben goes to bed later, then he'll sleep in later for me.  That's wrong.  I've noticed that whenever Ben goes to bed very late, he is up extremely early the next morning.   Ben has been waking up in the middle of the night every. single. night for the past nearly month.  Ben went through this before he turned 3 years old and I took him to the doctor.  The doctor back then said this was a normal thing and that Ben was healthy.  I'm at a loss what to think about this latest ordeal with Ben.  Ben wakes up and he climbs in bed with us in the middle of the night and T acts irritated that this is becoming a habit.  I so often feel like I am left having to deal with and/or come up with a solution to certain situations, such as this, on my own.
I am the primary caretaker for my children and I pretty much do all the bedtime routines.  A few years ago, I did tell T that he had to do one night a week to help me out.  I really want him to be more involved in this but I always get the impression from him that it's my responsibility, not his.
So, again, I am left looking for a solution to this latest debacle.  I guess I should also do some more research on how to handle a situation such as Jackie's tonight.  And how to handle when one parent always says "do what your mama says" instead of just personally directing the child to obedience.  And really, what is a good bedtime for young children?  I personally think 9:00 pm is too late.  My preference is to have my children in their rooms reading by 8:00 pm and lights out no later than 8:30.

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