I hated working for other people. Nearly every job I had came with a boss who micromanaged. Anyone who ever had a micromanaging boss, knows how suffocating and ineffective that management strategy can be. I always felt like I was on the brink of getting in trouble, which in turn made me so anxious that I would mess up and get in trouble. Or sometimes I would just say eff it and do things the way I thought they should be done because I knew I'd get in trouble no matter what. It was a never-ending cycle.
I recently realized the same thing was happening with my threenager. I was hovering over him telling him to "stop!" or "no touch" or "don't" and he was constantly frustrated and acting out which made me feel helpless as a parent. I had hit a point where I did not feel in control of my kids. They ran this house and everyone was pissed all the time. Not great.
Recently I made a choice to stop assuming my three year old (and two year old) were going to do something naughty. Instead of lecturing them on being good and not fussing when before walking into Target, I decided to let them know that I love spending time with them and that I love how target has cookies for kids who do not fuss. And instead of getting mad at tantrums and being frustrated by not being able to make them stop, I decided to walk them (or carry them) to their rooms and let them know that I am so excited to play with them as soon as they are done with their fit.
I don't know why it took me this long to make this decision, but in the past week or so our house has made a 180. It is full of laughter, "I love you" and joy. Fits and fighting still occur among my children, but they have been short lived and the moments in between have been much sweeter. They seem to feel safe knowing that nothing that they do can make me break a sweat. And while bad behavior is not tolerated, they are loved right through it.
I never want to go back to the days of reacting. There is so much joy in being calm and in control. Toddlers and preschoolers are full of so much goodness but they need to know that nothing they are going through is too tough for mom.