Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thoughts on motherhood: the kindergarchy

* Thank you for your lovely comments on the Sprout dress in the last post. It's a shame Blogger lost them in their technical problems, but I wanted to say how encouraging it is to hear ;-)

Listening to the local ABC radio station this week, a segment on "the craziness of 3 year olds" came on. Perfect. Just what I needed when feeling burnt out trying to (calmly) deal with the craziness in this house from one particular 3 year old.

I had such a laugh relating to stories people told about stubborn behaviour, quirkiness and colourful language. One woman mentioned her 3 year old asking, in a very quiet post office queue "Mum, when you were in jail..." (she'd never been in jail). And another, after noticing in the bath the difference between her own body and that of her brother's, asking anyone she met in the street "do you have a vagina?". They have a knack of embarrassing us. There's no social filter, it's just tell it how you see it!

Then something came up that got me thinking. A caller mentioned that his son insisted on wearing pink whenever he went out (yep, know that one), but the child also insisted that the father did too. And the father obliged. The announcer was obviously surprised by this compliance to the little darling's demands and remarked that the caller was living in a Kindergarchy where children rule the roost and adults do as they say.

I realised that slowly slowly I tend to let my 3 year old get away with more and then suddenly it's all out of control and I snap and try to pull back some control, yelling and getting annoyed at both of us. So it was a bit of a wakeup call (again) to try to be consistent and strong. Even though it's easier to give in when I'm tired or fed up, in the long run it doesn't work for us. I don't want to live in a kindergarchy!

But what I do feel much better about after listening to the segment is all the funny, irrational, bizarre, illogical 3 year old behaviour that I see every day.


  1. You know, it's a hard and thankless job we have and there's always someone out there who tells us how we could be doing it better. (be tougher, firmer, more consistent, more patient, more...)

    My son is part of a playgroup for children with special needs. Some of them will never learn to talk, will never be toilet trained, and when their parents die they will be institutionalised. This experience has really given me an attitude of profound gratitude. I have begun to see that being able to talk is a blessing, that engaging in a conflict is evidence of being able to engage meaningfully, that defiance is a show of strength and determination.

    I wonder if instead of feeling defeated by your child you could instead see that the behaviour is actually a tremendous blessing.

  2. Hmm, a little anxious now about how that comment reads, because writing has no tone of voice and I think it may sound a bit preachy.

    Sigh. Parenting is a hard job and now my mantra is, "stay hopeful and whatever gets you through." Yes, it has come to that!

  3. Hi Mary, thanks for your comments.

    I think I do have a tendency to be a bit 'glass half empty' about family life when I'm finding it hard. So it's good for me to think about how fortunate I am, look at the positives and count my blessings.

    I guess what I didn't express in the post (I wish I was a better writer) is that the radio segment reminded me to laugh and enjoy her more, to embrace the craziness, to celebrate this creative, vibrant, fabulous little character whose life I am helping to guide.

    And it's certainly not all doom and gloom here, I hope it doesn't come across that way. For me writing about some of the hard bits and sharing with this community is helpful.

  4. It's a great post - I love it when people are frank about the difficulties of parenting -so often on blogs you get "look at my adorable children, look at what a great parent I am" it is certainly refreshing to see an honest point of view about how overwhelming the whole experience can be.

    I really enjoy your blog - it's a great mix, and the tone is just right. I have certainly had my fair share of glass half empty recently - I think it is just indicative of the level of demand on resources. It's easy to be positive when there is good support. However, modern life doesn't provide a lot of intrinsic support for mothers with young children.

  5. Gee, thanks Mary Nanna :-)

  6. Great post Jo :) We are not too far away from the crazy 3's... arghhh! I find myself giving into M a lot more these days... sometimes just to keep the peace, which can lead to a few problems!! It's a good reminder that one must be consistant to avoid future issues (note to self)! I actually rather like a bit of craziness.. it can be very funny!! If you don't laugh... you'll cry :)


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