We Have Decided Not To Have Kids. The Kids Are Taking It Pretty Hard.

Since we promised to keep it real with each other you should know that I’m currently having trouble controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE. I don’t like this version of myself. The slightly frazzled, worn down, short tempered version. Mean-mommy voice has come out more than once this week. I’m not proud.

The children have been beastly. This morning before my eyes were even open I could hear their shrill argument with each other carrying up the stairs from the breakfast table. It’s been a fun and busy month and yet they are acting progressively more miserable and ungrateful.

Why is does this always seem to happen when I am trying to do cool things for them? It’s like they’re sabotaging their own fun. I want to give them the whole Jerry McGuire speech- you know, “Help me, help you” and all that, but I think I’m just too tired.

I could probably chalk it all up to exhaustion as we are all still adjusting to our busy fall schedules. Bigger One has been waking up nightly with bad dreams and losing sleep because of it. I’m also losing sleep because after I spend twenty minutes calming her and praying for her and singing her back to sleep, I lose sleep myself, worrying about why she is suddenly having bad dreams every night.

Little One is still having a hard time dealing with this new kindergarten business of school-all-day-everyday. Six hours is a long day for a little guy. Everyday when I pick them up from school I ask cheerily how their day went and they’ll each reply “Good” absentmindedly, and then proceed to promptly fall apart. Someone is usually crying or arguing before we even make it out of the school parking lot.

This week we had a total of five birthday parties, including one for my son. There was cake, there was presents, there was plenty of merrymaking. I scheduled a surprise playdate one day this week. I took them for an after school treat on a different day. All of this, in between running them to and from art classes, horse lessons, soccer games, and the like.

So yes, we are all busy and exhausted, but since when are busyness and exhaustion an excuse for bad behavior? That’s not how we roll. Homie don’t play like that.

It sometimes feels like the more I do for them, the worse their attitudes get. Why does more fun, more treats, and more special activities often equal more whining, more complaining, and more fighting?

No seriously, I’m asking why. I don’t have a sweet, prepackaged, little anecdote to share here.

Some seasons are just randomly harder than others. I’m not at all sure how to deal with that, other than to pull back a little bit from all the busyness, and as a family to bring the focus back to the Lord. To slow the rhythm of the household enough to foster gratitude and joy in the things that really matter. To work hard at things that don’t only benefit ourselves. To spend quality time investing in their little hearts.

For as much as my kids love to go and do and buy and see, they are truly the happiest when they are snuggled up next to me on the couch with my undivided attention. I often make the mistake of thinking that keeping my kids busy makes me “Fun Mommy”, when all they really want is Regular Mommy. They simply need me and my time and attention. Wasn’t it Ann Voscamp who said “It’s the child that is driving you the most mad that you should draw the nearest to”? I might’ve just made that up, but I do feel like she said that once. Smart lady, that one.

My kids are awesome kids, actually and I’m only joking about giving them away. But I may have to start storing tranquilizer darts in the glove compartment of my car for those after school meltdowns…

Just kidding.

But really.
image* This is Day 22 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *

5 thoughts on “We Have Decided Not To Have Kids. The Kids Are Taking It Pretty Hard.

  1. Ludavia @ Nifty Betty

    LOL. I love this so much, especially this quote, “So yes, we are all busy and exhausted, but since when are busyness and exhaustion an excuse for bad behavior? That’s not how we roll. Homie don’t play like that.” You’re too funny. But, it’s true. When we’re tired, we get cranky and monster mommy comes out for a visit. My answer to why our kids start whining and behaving like hooligans when they get more stuff, is probably an entitlement thing (I’m your child and I deserve for you to give me treats and gifts all the time. Why not?). They just can’t handle it and don’t understand that just because you want it, doesn’t mean you get to have it. Or even the difference of a special occasion versus everyday life. It’s a hairy one to deal with!

    1. ambersalhus@msn.com

      Ludavia- It seems that every few months we’ll realize that the pendulum has swung to far in this direction and we’ll have to sort of re-set. I find it helpful to get my kids focused on helping someone else, even if it’s just each other. They’ll whine and complain but after a bit they get into it and it really does change their attitude.

  2. Kristen

    Somehow I feel like we are a kindred spirit Amber! I so totally get what you’re saying here. Even though my oldest is 22 he still acts up the more I do for him. It is mind boggling really. I wish I could say I’m all done with little kids but I still have a teenager to direct. The best times are when we r just sitting together talking. Thank u for your humor and transparency.

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