I remember reading a Michelle Duggar training technique last year, and am ashamed that I didn't try harder. With her first set of twins she came up with "blanket time." Well before the twins were a year old she would lay a blanket down and place the twins on the blanket. She'd bring out two new exciting toys they were unfamiliar with and let the twins play with them, and set the timer. In the beginning it was a short 3-5 minute goal. When one of the twins tried to crawl off the blanket, or started getting fussy, she'd firmly and consistently bring the child back to the blanket and discourage cries and whines. When the timer went off, she'd cheer and clap excitedly, giving kisses and hugs for a successful blanket time. It was always an excessive celebration.
She'd repeat this many times in a day, with the blanket in different areas of the house. After awhile, maybe a few weeks, she'd lengthen the time on the timer, and after that she'd eventually stop giving a toy, until ultimately she had twin toddlers that would sit quietly on a blanket for over 30 minutes in various environments without a peep of complaint.
WHY DIDN'T I DO THAT??
The sad truth is I didn't anticipate the consequences would be so damaging. I couldn't see passed today. Now that I see it, I am scared of being judged. I don't know that I know how to discipline two at once out in public, and it always seemed like keeping them home was the lesser of two evils.
I've recently discovered the MOB Society website,where Moms Of Boys can find support and encouragement from other moms of boys. Co-founder Brooke McGlothin struggled with her first son since birth, and she reflects upon when she put a sign on her door after coming home from the hospital that foreshadowed the next two years of her life. She writes:
Visitors who came to see our new little “blessing” found me hiding in the bedroom trying desperately to get him to eat. On the third day of his life, we put a sign on the front door that said, “No visitors, please. We’re getting to know our new son and just need a little more time before receiving.”
With my “no visitors, please” sign taped firmly over my heart, I muddled through the first two years mostly alone, mostly depressed, and starving for some kind of relief. I did the best I could, tried everything to be a better mom, but consistently fell short in almost every way."
Let me say here...Jackson and Lincoln are NOT bad boys. They are sweet and kind and smart and funny. But I hindered their development in my decisions to keep them away from challenging situations. Truth.
Even though they're not "bad", I am taking the 5 day challenge from the MOB Society, The challenge is called "Fighting for Those Hard-to-Handle Boys." I have to stop whining about what I did wrong, and start actively looking for daily opportunities to do right.
I got to unplug last night with a whole bunch of other moms, as we attended the Buggy Bunch movie night "Mom's Night out" at the Majestic Theater. I recommend this movie to other moms/dads who may need a gentle reminder about how noble a calling parenthood, and in this case, motherhood is. The powerful message that resonated with me was God's decision to make ME the mother of my children. Critics moan it's anti-feminist and an "insulting diminishment of the complex struggles of motherhood." But as a stay-at-home mother I did not feel diminished or misunderstood, and I believe ALL moms, working or not, can appreciate the sometimes suffocating circumstances of motherhood and the need to come up for air every once in awhile.
For you moms reading, I hesitate to just make a blanketed statement that would tell you, "You are enough! You're doing a great job! Keep it up!"… Because let's face it, there are some horrible moms (probably not you) out there that really don't give their kids their best, they are selfish (probably not you), they neglect their children(most likely not you), or flat out abuse them(surely not you). But chances are, if you're reading this, you're one of the moms that ARE enough. We are not perfect, we may each differ in our parenting styles, we make mistakes DAILY, HOURLY even, but we are equipped to be enough for our families. I must remind myself of that as I set out on my 5 day challenge and beyond. Jackson and Lincoln may not have mastered social situations or patience, but they are capable of doing so, and I am the right person for this job.