I have to admit something to you, dear reader. It’s about parenting. Come a little closer and take off your judgement hat.
When I was a young single twenty-something, living with my fiancee (now husband) and contemplating the direction of my life – somehow I knew parenting was in it – I remember having very firm ideas about how I would raise my children. I WOULD NEVER be that mom losing her sh*t in the grocery store’s frozen food section with a two-year-old monster incarnate running circles around me while tears of frustration run down my cheeks. I would always be cool, calm and collected. I WOULD NEVER let day-old macaroni crust on the bottom of a plate sitting inside a sink of murky water. I’d always address a mess as soon as it was made. I certainly wouldn’t be THAT HOUSE in the neighborhood with kid paraphernalia littered from property line to property line, evidence of clear lack of pride in one’s outward appearance. (There was actually a house on our nightly walk and my husband and I, snots that we were, actually commented on).
And of course, if I had more than one child they would hug and love each other because my house would be a warm, welcome vibrant place of respect and peace.
I feel like the record needs to scratch now …..
I am 35 years old and the mother of three children. I work a full time job I created myself in part time hours while my kids are at school and daycare. I am happily married to a man who does his very best to share the load with me 50/50 and his efforts are noble and yet I still carry the burden of our household finances, all manner of household management, and a larger slice of the childcare responsibilities because I have a flexible work arrangement. I.am.exhausted.
I lived through a year of sleepless nights x 3 and yet many days I feel more exhausted then I ever remember feeling before. Because when you’re nursing babies, life is simplified and people are there to help (because they get you are maxed out). You might be lucky not to have work responsibilities (whoever heard of a parental leave to deal with a moody 5 year old?) It’s when the three-year old starts hitting the floor in convulsing fits of rage because you dared give him the Batman cup when what he really wanted was the Superman cup that the care and support starts to melt away.
I think I could handle a tantrum here and there, if always coming from the same source – and I have a challenging child to boot. But maybe it is just my perspective on things as a mother of three but the hardest part of my day isn’t managing the emotions of one child in isolation, it’s managing the dynamic of energy in one household. These little buggers ALL have needs, and usually (ok ALWAYS) these needs seem to clash.
I’m talking about sibling rivalry folks. Good old fashioned “He looked at me the wrong way.” And “that’s my favourite toy SHE NOW HAS even though I haven’t looked at it in 6 months.” It’s not that the other parts of my job aren’t hard (potty training, hello) but this is the part that sends me into fits – sometimes in the frozen food section of the grocery store. I want them to so desperately go off and play on their own. And yet when they get into any kind of play scenario they immediately butt heads with each other. Yesterday … ok I’ll tell ya, no secrets here … we pried our 3 year old off of his sister who was taunting him into clawing at her face. Ya. Fun.
They are so pleasant! To their friends, their grandparents, even to us in those too rare moments when we get time one-on-one with them. And yet to each other they’re raging beasts. Sometimes it’s a fierce kind of love, so they’ll hug each other in between clawing at each other. But mostly it’s exasperation that the other one exists! And how dare he want to take this pretend game in a different direction!!
So here’s the thing …. I always said I was going to be THAT parent who didn’t let their kids watch TV. Or at least TV in my home would be very limited.
So here’s the thing …. they are quiet, peaceful and kind to each other when sharing a favourite program on Netflix. So sometimes … GASP … I put that damn TV on just so I can make dinner, pour a cup of tea or sneak in some time to get my work done without screaming.
Now some of you may be finding that your kids argue over what to watch on TV. I get that. We have some arguments there too. (We do also have the multiple screen account with Netflix so one dissenting child can retreat with an iPAD. Remember, I said don’t judge me). But I find when faced with the “agree or no tv” declaration, they all quickly find the “better than nothing” program.
Netflix also wants to help you with your sibling rivalry problem. And they’ve created these lists for your kids – sure to please everyone. Mark them in your favourites and share this with your friends. Lets all work to end sibling rivalry around the world. And give parents a little bit of a break. (When clicking the links Netflix users will need to choose their profile “Who’s Watching” and then these pages will show up).
Parenting: Help with Sibling Rivalry
So, while “play nice” doesn’t always pan out, at least “watch together nicely” can mostly happen. Happy (peaceful) watching. Now go get some rest!
Disclaimer: We receive perks from Netflix including 1-year of free service for being part of the #streamteam. As always, the opinions in our posts remain our own and do no reflect the views of our sponsors.