As one of my daughters was washing a sink full of dishes, I found myself barking at her because she wasn’t doing it the way I showed her to. I began barking at my other daughter while she was folding towels because she also wasn’t folding them how I wanted them to be folded. During school time I found myself getting really frustrated after the ten thousandth time I had to demonstrate how to round a decimal to the nearest hundredth. And before the day was over I found myself laying in bed behind a locked door just so I could be left alone.
If you are a mom, does this sound at all like yourself? If so then you are probably thinking to yourself, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!
A few months ago my oldest daughter randomly began saying, “I love you Mommy. You’re appreciated.” It started out as a joke and we laughed every time she said it. She is twenty years old so hearing the word “mommy” come out of her mouth was enough to find comical. But I noticed after a few times that she said those words to me that I found myself feeling happy and joyful. Those words were affirming to me, letting me know that she cared enough about my feelings to make sure that I knew that she really did love and appreciate me. What started out as a joke by my twenty year old turned into an epiphany about how I may be making my children feel, and I knew I needed to change.
I love the way I feel after hearing those precious words come out of my daughter’s mouth, and I realized that I needed to do the same for them. I noticed that every time my daughter would tell me that she appreciated me, it led me to want to do more for her. Every single time I start to bark at one of my children, it not only raises my stress level, but it raises theirs as well. And that doesn’t do anyone any justice. It only creates a sense of dread, hostility, and anxiety. So I began speaking words of affirmation into my children rather than barking at them when they were doing something different than how I would have liked for them to. And my goodness friend… it changed the way every single one of us approach our day.
As a homeschool mother I am surrounded by my children 24 hours a day. I chose this life for myself, and I chose this life for them. Not only do we have to get through our homeschool lessons every day, but there is still lunch and supper to be cooked, laundry to be washed and folded, a house to clean, grocery shopping to be done, a husband to give some of my attention to, and pets that have to be taken care of. Somewhere along the way I lost my joy from this job and that is where things began to go downhill.
As a parent it is our job to teach our children to become functioning adults, and if all I ever do is bark at my children when they are doing something wrong, what reason do they have to want to try to do it again? Or better? I had to realize that technically it is not their JOB to take care of the home the way that I want them to. It is their job to LEARN. And if it is their job to learn, then it is my job to teach.
If you want to find out very quickly how pleasant your life at home with your children can be, start speaking words of affirmation into them. Tell them how much you love them and appreciate their help with the chores rather than barking at them for the way that they are doing them. Sure… you may have to go behind them and rewash the dishes. Or you could stand with them and wash them together. What a great opportunity to have some positive conversation. But you will be extremely surprised at how much harder they try to do things correctly when you are telling them how much you appreciate their help.
From a former barker!