I did it. That one thing that in my head I told myself I’d never do. It can’t be undone, so now the real question is: will I do it again?
It happened yesterday. I was working in my office and I heard sounds of a pre-Christmas toy purge going on in my living room. I could hear my mother-in-law trying to explain why something should be thrown away and my son explaining why it should be kept. I contemplated hiding in my office all day while this happened but after another round of whining and protests over throwing away a broken toy I decided to go see if I could talk some sense into my son.
I tried all the approaches in my arsenal.
I tried reasoning with him – as if he was an adult and could separate the logical process with the emotional attachment. Yeah, that didn’t work.
I tried bribery; “For every ten toys you get rid of you can have one new one for Christmas!”. That sort of worked but was met with skepticism and a lack of mathematical understanding.
I tried threats; “I will tell Santa not to bring you any more toys because you already have too many”. That was met with sadness and tears. Note to self: don’t try that one again.
I tried consequences; “If you can’t do this then you can go sit in your room and Meemaw and I will decide which toys to keep. Again, tears.
Then it happened. Those words popped out of my mouth and I am still not sure where they came from. “Do I need to call Daddy?” The response was a tearful no.
I then circled back to bribery and hung on to that for dear life because it was the only tactic that seemed to work. Eventually he got slightly on board and I went back into my office while the toy purge continued.
Then I thought about the implications of what I had done. At first glance it seems trivial but there are subtle undertones that could change the course of my parenting style forever. There are three reasons I did not want to do what I did. First, it makes my husband out to be the bad guy and that is not a role he deserves. My son should not fear conversations with his father, he should enjoy them. Second, it diminishes my authority. I am the primary disciplinarian during this deployment so my son needs to be able to take direction from me as the final word, not daddy. Third, it puts Rick in the position of having to talk about a situation he is not familiar with. He can’t give direction to our son if he doesn’t know what has already been said. All around it is just not fair to everyone involved.
So the answer to the question of will I do this again is probably, but I will try not to. I will also try to think about the ramifications before the words tumble out of my mouth and maybe that will help. Of course there are those times when your emotions hijack your brain and you say things you regret. Its part of life so I guess I will have to deal with it.