I have been working since Saturday trying to get my mothering mojo back.  I lost it in a big way over the weekend.

Nursing my babies, check.  Nurturing my babies, check. Cuddling with my babies, check.  Guiding their great minds, check.  Helping my kindergartener with homework, oh my freaking gawd, shoot me now.

I don’t think I’m cut out for mothering the school age set.  Can I turn them in when they get to be in school and check out a fresh little baby that needs to be cuddled and loved on?  No?  Damn.  I’m in trouble.

But the homework wasn’t the mothering implosion that was heard around the world.  That would be my daughter and I going round after round at each other’s throats.  All. Weekend. Long.

Maggie and I spent Monday together, just the two of us.  At the end of the day she told me I pay too much attention to Nick.  WE SPENT ALL DAY TOGETHER, JUST THE TWO OF US. Sorry, I don’t mean to yell at you.  It just seems to be coming naturally to me these days.

To say we weren’t seeing eye to eye would be an understatement.  At one point she turned to me and said “You know, mom, when you yell at me it just makes me do whatever it is more.  I just do it more and more.” She’s FIVE.  I’m so in for it.

So we have moved back a few steps into a zero-tolerance zone.  I figured out (or at least I think I figured out) that Maggie has been testing limits again.  And I have only one answer to that.  Cracking the whip. (Figuratively, not literally.) Instead of giving her one or two or eight more chances to do what I asked, follow directions, stop annoying her brother, put on her pajamas, etc. she gets one chance.  One.  After that, game over.

The first two instances of zero tolerance were not received very well.  Lots of crying.  A little bit of hysterics. But a day later and all seems to be right with the world again. For today anyway.  Let me say, all instances of zero tolerance have been when there were two or three simple, easy to follow rules that we discussed and she understood.

It was kind of like learning what is expected all over again.  Not easy when you’re in the middle of it, but when you walk out on the other side, it feels awesome.  A friend reminded me today of a time we had to leave something that I wanted to do because Maggie was not following directions.  I had forgotten that instance until she mentioned it, but I remember that it was a valuable lesson for both Maggie and me.  I realized I had to follow through on my threat word; Maggie knew I meant what I said.

And, the other plus side is I didn’t yell at all today.  Her poor choices landed directly in her own lap.  I was just there to make the calls, not to be the enforcer.

And now that I feel like I have some mojo back and a plan to get through the next couple of days, I’m sure she will change the game by morning.


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