Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tantruming Two's And Lower Expectations

My little two-year-old is such a giant shining star in my life. He is so much fun and makes me laugh multiple times a day. I was talking to one of my mom's friends the other day and she said, "We all love our kids of course, but don't you find that some are just (pause), juicer than others?" Well said, and very true. With that being said, my shining star has entered the 'terrible two's' and it is exhausting! I'm re-naming this phase the 'tantruming two's' because that is the biggest issue. He knows what he wants but doesn't really want to try to tell me exactly what that is, nor does he like to be told no, later, just a minute or anything that doesn't satisfy him immediately. He starts jumping up and down and whining and crying and screaming - it's totally awesome.

"Blessed are they who expect little for they shall not be disappointed."
 
 
Expectations reduce joy. Most of the time we get frustrated because our expectations are not being met. My kid shouldn't be messing around, my kids shouldn't be trying to pour his own bowl of Wheat Thins (see above picture), my kid shouldn't be screaming at the grocery store, my kid should be making his bed, my kid should try to communicate rather than tantrum, my husband shouldn't nit pick, my husband should think the way I do - about everything. Whoops, I derailed a little there - I don't really think that about my husband. Okay - I do! But when we don't see eye to eye I just tell myself that he deserves to be forgiven just like the one or two times I deserved forgiveness (I know sarcasm is difficult to decipher through type so just a head's up that I'm laying it on pretty thick).
 
It does help to remind myself that if I set my expectations low, there will be less disappointment.  can pretty much expect that buster will tantrum multiple times a day and rarely will I guess correctly what he wants. However, in terms of expectations, I do think that in this day and age having a standard to hold kids accountable to is absolutely necessary. And here's the thing - it has to be based on that kiddo's abilities, not comparatively to anyone else. I'd like to have the standard in my home that A's and B's are all that goes. My oldest can totally live up to that standard so we do enforce that with him. My little Preston though is struggling just to get his work done each day and not bring home a book-length missing assignments list. I would be setting him up for failure if I consequenced for all his grades that are less than a B. However, he is aware that we work hard for good grades. Just because he struggles, I don't let him make it a crutch either. Such a fine line to walk isn't it? We all have the potential to improve and anything good requires hard work. It's not about perfect, it's about effort. I love hearing Jillian Michaels rant in her workout videos: "Perfect is boring! Perfect sucks! It's about effort!" So true.
 
Aside from lowering my expectations, I'm going to be more diligent about my daytime routine as well. My night routine has proven to be very successful for me and the family. The kids are enjoying the menu board, I've lowered my monthly grocery bill and my stress levels during the evening hours are way down. I sat down the beginning of February and planned out my menu for the month. I keep some quick go-to meals for the nights that something unexpected happens or we decide to go out but then I jump right back in. We're finished with dinner earlier which has also helped the family to have some more together time with each other and my husband and I are getting into bed earlier (which is huge for him since he gets up early). For starters with a switch-up in my day time routine, I'm making the goal to get up at 6am, do my workout, shower and be ready by the time the kids get up for school. That way, I can do breakfast, clean-up, play with Buster and then go out for errands before nap time (the toddler's; I wish it was for me). Home by 11:30am for lunch, nap time (which is then my work time), then ready for kids to come home from school and help with homework and prep for dinner. It's amazing how fast the day goes isn't it? Having a set routine does help the day go smoother and help me to keep myself in check. So here's to routine and lowering expectations for a happier me and apparently more content kiddos. :)


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