By the end of 2019, I felt like the nagging Mum of the year! All I did from morning to night was ask my kids to do things which they generally never did the first time so I ended up nagging, whining or shouting at them to do it! Our day would start with beautiful good mornings and then we would move onto…… “please drink water”, “brush your teeth”, “wash your face”, “lift the loo seat”, “flush the loo”, “get dressed”, “pack your school bags”, “put on your shoes”, “turn off the lights”, “close the door”, “stop fighting!” and “hurry up!!” (just to mention a few…) and then school starts………
When we were back home in the evening the day would close with “have a shower!”, “put on your pyjamas and stop running around naked!”, “stop trashing the house!!”, “do your homework!”, “eat your food!”, “stop hitting each other!!”, “read your book!”, “go to sleep!!!” – notice the extra !!! in the evenings..
When we had a holiday, it was very much the same thing but we add in the “switch off that fricking phone!”, and “enough of the tv!”. Holidays and weekends used to be so stressful for me because I found myself constantly shouting and constantly getting upset.
I began harbouring a life of guilt. Always asking myself two questions: “What am I doing so wrong that makes my kids not want to listen or respect me?” and “why do I always have to lose my shit?”…
I sat down a few weeks ago and really contemplated my situation. I didn’t want to be miserable and unhappy all the time. I didn’t want to be that annoying nagging Mother anymore. I want to be a fun Mum. A Mum my kids WANT to spend time with (like they used to). I always blame my children for not listening and dis-respecting me, but maybe it was me. I thought what can I do or change to better the situation?
I started by telling myself that it’s not my fault or my kids fault. We are just in a rut, it’s normal. I am still a good Mum and my kids are great and the main thing is we really do love each other. Once I had reassured myself of the facts, I could move onto trying to make a change.
Firstly, Why do I nag?
I realised that I keep lists for pretty much everything. Shopping lists, to do lists, packing lists etc… I manage to get through my life by constantly ticking things off. I guess I nag because my kids don’t do things in order or the way I want them done and the boxes in my head are not being ticked off.
What could I do about it?
I had a light bulb moment and a flashback of the “sticker chart” my kids used to have when they were little. That is the equivalent of ticking boxes to me so I thought I would start this concept again but call it the ‘star chart’/’reward chart’.
I spoke to the children about improvements I would like to see, from all of us (including me) and what we can do to get there.
We needed to start with a goal. I asked my children what are the handful of things which they would like to work on and I gave them the handful of things that I would like them to work on. We wrote these on strips of paper and added them to the chart. We did the same with me!….
We then decided on a reward. It worked when they were little, why not now? My son chose ‘a day out’ and my daughter chose ‘ice cream’. Their goal is to collect a certain amount of stars to achieve their reward. I didn’t have a star chart for myself but I did promise to try to work on my goals with the help of the two of them.
Follow through! We have been doing this for a few weeks now and it is actually working!!! Who knew something so simple (one change) could make a difference to everyday life?
When my children work hard, do what they have been asked, listen and respect me; they get stars. If they don’t do what has been asked of them or they are rude, they have stars taken away.
If I work hard on my “problems”, my reward is happy children. If I fail, they TELL ME! which makes me feel like rubbish 🙁
The reward and consequences method is probably the oldest in the book but it works. The chart is a reminder to follow through with our goals. It is a simple but effective tool to make sure we are all being held accountable for our actions and making improvements everyday.
I am finally falling back into the category of ‘happy, fun Mum’. My children are losing their devil horns and wings are now growing! Heres to a happy, great 2020!