My warm fuzzy jar

I have a warm fuzzy jar.  I know that sounds weird and why in the world would I give myself a warm fuzzy jar, you ask?  Because I read this:

We are not talking here about esoteric defects in problem solving associated only with people who clearly manifest psychiatric disturbances.  The financial analyst is EVERYMAN.  Who among us can say that they unfailingly devote sufficient time to analyzing their children's problems or tensions within the family?  Who among us is so self-disciplined that he or she never says resignedly in the face of family problems, "it's beyond me"?

Parents are executives, and despite the fact that they are usually ill-prepared for it, their task can be every bit as complex as directing a company or corporation.  And like the army executives, most parents will perceive problems in their children or in their relationship with their children for months or years before they take any effective action, if they ever do.  "We thought maybe he would grow out of it,"  the parents say as they come to the child psychiatrist with a problem of five years' duration.  And with respect for the complexity of parenting, it must be said that parental decisions are difficult, and that children often do "grow out of it." But it almost never hurts to try to help them grow out of it or to look more closely at the problem.  And while children often "grow out of it," often they do not; and as with so many problems, the longer children's problems are ignored, the larger they become and the more painful and difficult to solve. 

~M. Scott Peck, M.D.  "The Road Less Traveled"

I would find myself getting angry, then yelling, then screaming, then putting them in their room and having to count to 30 before I could get it together again.  And how crazy is it that that wasn't effective and it just made them worse!! :) Then I found myself telling them "why did it have to get to that point."  and blaming her!  Then one day I heard myself say it and I felt horrible..."Yes Leslie, why did it have to get to that point?"

So I made a warm fuzzy jar for me so that my kids had the ability to let me know if I was meeting their needs that day or not.  And also so that I have something to work hard for on the days that are just so hard to get through.  I have to be honest I get really excited when I see that chubby little hand put a warm fuzzy in my jar and give me a big hug and they say "you did a good job today mom."  And I feel proud because I worked so hard all day to get it...and I feel satisfied!

The hard part was learning that their problem was me.  I wasn't meeting their needs.  I was pushing them away and I was always too busy.  I wasn't taking things for face value, of course a 3 year old is going to throw temper tantrums.  Of course a 5 year old is going to be sassy.  And of course a 1 year old is going to poop so many times you can't keep track and then while you aren't looking she'll smear it all over your walls and make your whole house stink.  My problem was I was expecting them to not act their ages, I was expecting them to "grow out of it" .  Yes they one day won't throw themselves on the ground and embarrass me at the grocery store.  Yes one day it'll be easier and I'll have 1 second to, I don't know, take a shower or something.  But I guess what I got out of this was if I ignore their problems now, no matter how insignificant they may be, that's all they know and it's their world.  And if I yell at them instead of listen to them, I am letting them know that I don't care about it and to leave me alone.  So like he says the longer children's problems are ignored, the larger they become and the more painful and difficult to solve.  When they are 14 years old I don't want them to automatically think, "She wouldn't want to hear this"  or "She'll just be mad if I tell her"  There are no guarantees that it'll happen one way or the other, but I will do everything I can to let them know I'm listening and that I'm here for them.

I love my naughty little kids so much!!! :)

xxoo mom