Tough love proves tough on Mom |

Tough love proves tough on Mom


Daily Press writer

Tough love is … well, tough.

And I’m not talking about the kids. I’m talking about me.

I decided to crack down. It was just time. I am not willing to live my life repeating the same phrases over and over again.

“Eat your dinner.”

“Eat your dinner.”

“Eat your dinner!”

“Clean your room.”

“Clean your room.”

“Clean your room!”

Sometimes I get to mix it up a little bit.

“Eat your lunch,” or “Clean the living room.”

Really, it wears you out.

So I finally decided to do something about it.

Katie and I fight every morning over getting ready. Evidently 15 minutes isn’t enough time for her to get dressed in — and that’s with constant reminders.

I finally hit my limit one day. When it was time to go and she was still wearing only a shirt and underwear, I decided I was done putting on the pressure.

I loaded her into the car wearing no pants and no shoes and hauled her to preschool.

She was a little freaked.

I caved by the time we arrived at preschool — mostly because I don’t think they would have let my half-dressed daughter stay, but also because by the time that we arrived, Katie was A-OK with her attire.

She’s not really a big fan of pants anyway.

It still worked though, albeit temporarily. She speed dressed for about two weeks. Now we’re back to the occasional reminder.

I’m sure I’ll have to come up with something else to get her going.

I kind of had the same breakdown about room cleaning. By that I mean I was sick and tired of walking into their room every 10 minutes and telling them to clean up. Finally I told them they had five minutes and every toy left on the floor after five minutes would go into the trash.

Well they threw in the token protest and half-heartedly started.

I gave them 10 minutes.

I returned to find Nikki wearing a swimsuit, plastic high-heeled shoes and princess gloves and Katie working to get similarly attired.

So I started picking up toys.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Nikki scream that way. Most amusing (I didn’t actually laugh, but I wanted to) was when Nikki stretched her arms and legs to fill the doorway, thinking that was going to keep me from leaving.

Surprisingly, I managed to press through her defenses. She ran around me and tried to block me again, using the same frozen jumping jack stance she tried in the door.

Katie went for offense instead of defense and was diving at my feet (she’s not so good at that).

I managed to get ahead of Nikki, again. And she again ran ahead to block the trash can.

Same stance. She doesn’t give up easily in the face of repeated defeat.

Meanwhile, there was the screaming. It was tough — on all of us.

I got out the door and forced the girls back inside.

Then I caved. I couldn’t throw away their toys? They were so sad and I don’t want to be the reason they’re sad.

I dumped them around the corner of the house and went back inside.

A few minutes later they were playing again, smiling and getting ready for bed. It took them a surprisingly little amount of time to get over the trauma of losing their toys.

Evidently tough love is only tough on me.

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