The Hardest Thing

For me, it's one of the hardest things about parenting.

Getting them to take me seriously. Using that firm, I'm-not-going-to-ask-you-again voice. Being confident and clear when discipline is necessary.

I'm a "nice girl". I don't like to be mean. I don't like conflict. I don't always understand sarcasm and can take things too personally. I'm sensitive. And in my early years of parenting, sometimes a pushover.

But parenting is not for pushovers.

Happy children need boundaries that they can count on. They need people that give them rules and routines.
They need consistency.
I can do that. But the hard thing, the very hardest thing is when they push the boundaries...they give me that look that says "I'll do it when I feel like it" and play sassy lassie...and I need to use my MAMA voice.

It's evolved -- that mama voice of you-betta-do-as-I-say. Started out kinda frantic and frustrated. Like "how could you?" and "haven't I said?" Lately it's more of a sigh and a calmer "I'm going to ask you one more time and I expect you to make the right choice". It's working a lot better. There are less tears, all around. But even with the higher success rate, I still just don't like having to be firm.
I have a memory of student teaching in a sixth grade classroom and having to send a troublemaker to the principal's office. The hand holding the phone was shaking, I didn't know what to say, I was afraid he wouldn't go. I didn't know how to deal with his misbehavior.

Every morning I get up and try to avoid conflict for as long as I can. It usually ends right around bath time. Sometimes we're still tranquil up until time-to-get-in-the-car time. Someone needs a boundary, my tone of voice changes, and my spirit instantly feels deflated.
I just feel so weary, so soul-tired from the firmness required in parenting. It goes against my grain. It saps my energy completely. I'm getting better at it, loving them is part discipline of course, but my oh my it puts a strain on my heart.

I don't like the creases in my forehead. The furrows of my brow. I really don't like using my big mama voice.