May 16, 201206:00 AMHoneybee Mama
Playdates Remind Me to Play Nice
I love my kids.
You know when someone starts a blog post with "I love my kids," there's probably about to be a big "but, [insert various reason your kids drive you crazy here]." I will refrain from telling you any reason why any of my kids my drive me crazy on a day to day, or sometimes minute to minute basis. Instead I'd like to share about a little parenting lesson I'm learning.
Playdates are good for me, probably even more than my kids. Not the playdates where my mom friend comes with and we sit and sip coffee or cocktails and ignore the children making chaos upstairs because we need "Mommy Time." No, playdates where I invite other people's kids over to play with mine and I actually make an effort to provide interaction and creative activities for them. In other words, the TV is off and I'm not stationed in front of the computer trying to get work done or crouched over my sewing machine barking at children not to touch my pin cushion!
Playdates remind me to play nice because I'm confronted with kids that are just like mine. Here's what I mean: I realize when there are other little munchkins asking me incessant questions, saying their tummy hurts so they don't have to eat their food, or whining because someone's not sharing that this is normal behavior for small children. It clues me in to the fact that my children are not out to get me with a secret plan to crawl up my butt and live there indefinitely. They're just kids. Knowing this gives me patience with them, and I remember that my kids are good kids and I probably ought to cut them a little more slack from time to time.
Also, have you ever noticed you're nicer to other people's kids than you are to your own? C'mon, I know I'm not the only one. Would you ever say to someone else's child, "How many times have I told you to put away your dishes from lunch?!" Probably not, unless you want to ensure your child never has friends who are allowed to come to your house again! No, with other's children, we say, "Tommy, in our house we clean up after ourselves. Can I help you bring your dishes to the sink?" Better yet, we ask our children to show them how to do it and set a good example for their guest, while also boosting our kids' confidence about how well they do what's expected of them!
Maybe part of it is knowing someone else is watching and that little kids talk. I know if I'm barking out orders like usual (and I hate to admit that the term usual is appropriate here) and belittling my children, his friends will probably go home and portray me as a pretty mean parent to his mom. So, I clean up my act.
I also spend less time with other people's kids, so I'm less likely to see all of their shortcomings. Maybe if I saw their misbehavior all the time I wouldn't want to be so nice to them! Then again, wouldn't I still be nicer to my kids if I focused more on their good behavior than the bad? I think so.
Thinking about summer so quickly approaching, I hope to make a greater effort to bless my other Mommy friends with a day off from their duties and have more playdates, and in the course of that brush the dust off my smile and kind words. Here's to playdates and being a nicer mom!
Love and Honey,