I have the absolute best 5 year old on the planet. She is way smarter then I ever was, cleaver as can be and the sweetest, most gentle little 5 year old I have ever met. I can not imagine my life without her and am so blessed to have her to hug and kiss every day.
But if there is one thing that makes me wonder if I have a child with split personalities, it is her intense stubbornness. I would say that she gets it from her dad – and I would be right – but truth be told that it is in us both. I just hide it a little better, I think.
And I simply do not think that I know how to handle it all that well. At least, the screaming, tantrum throwing, crossing my arms and pouting I do when this gets out of control shows that.
OK -a little overtly dramatic but you understand.
Through the summer I have the girls in camps. I am the first to admit that I lack the creativity and patience to handle three kids all day and all night during the summer. I am a good mom but I am not ‘that’ mom. They need activity and it is HOT. So, Art Camp, Vacation Bible School and Swim Lessons are in order. And their dad put them in Cheer Camp.
The other day we were getting ready for the last day of Art Camp. Everyone was getting ready, happy as clams, getting distracted with other things when I needed them to focus. The typical morning.
I got two dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, faces washed, smiles affixed with no issue at all. But Sarah, sweet, sweet Sarah was getting close to full on tantrum.
The issue? All 25,000 of her purple shorts were dirty – she is a MAJOR purpleaholic, y’all! Like SUPER purple all the time – and I needed her to wear her one pair of brand spanking new, so super cute, she picked them out from OshKosh, pink ones.
Well… there was no reasoning. She went from happy and excited about camp to the most stubborn, whining, frustrating 5 year old I have ever seen. Literally, she was unrecognizable.
Now, I know when we reach this phase of total craziness that nothing I do will change a thing. I need to walk away and let her sit, stewing in her own inflexibility. But we had a place to go. A place I paid a lot of money for that the other two were excited about. So I can’t punish them for her tantrum, now can I?
So I got down on her level, turned on my mommy “you had better do this or else” tone and told her that she would put on the pink shorts, like it and smile about it or she would go to Art Camp in her underwear and everyone would laugh at her.
Not my most shining moment.
And it did not work anyway.
Things quickly reached fever pitch and I finally was fed up. I walked out of the house, told her good bye, got into my car where my other two were happily buckled in, waiting, and pretended that I was going to open the garage door and leave.
Bad idea, Mom.
I scared the living tar out of her. She thought I was really leaving her at home alone. As the crocodile tears fell and the “Mommy! NOOOO!” filtered through the air, I banished myself for my stupid decision.
When I scooped her up, squeezed her tight and told her that all she had to do was get her shorts on to go, I felt like dirt. But she did put her shorts on, get in the car and we made it to Art Camp. A little late but no harm, no foul.
On my way home I wondered how I could have handles that differently. More successfully. More like an adult. I had no clue and a little shiver went through me as I realized that I had better figure out how raising a stubborn daughter works or my next 15 years was going to be horrid.
And -at least in my motherhood – the last thing I ever want is to look back and think it was horrid!
So I am all ears. How do you handle stubbornness to a fault? I am taking suggestions.
Come Read More about My Motherhood in My Recent Writings