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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mean Mom

I'm a Mean Mom. I felt I should tell you that, if you have yet to ascertain it on your own. The Tongginator can attest to this fact, as can Pocket and Posies, five-year-old twins whom I watch several days each week due to their mother's serious illness. These past two months, I've become an even better Mean Mom. Oh, I don't mean that I'm growing more strict, or more temperamental ... instead, I'm becoming more creative, if you will, and also more methodical.

Why, after three years as the Tongginator's mother, am I suddenly quadrupling my parenting skills? For precisely the reason that Pocket and Posies are not my children ... and they do not have a Mean Mom ... she is a Nice Mom. This influences a lot when it comes to their discipline while under my care. They are with me enough that I can't let things slide the way I would with the occasional play date or babysitting session. Their family situation is such that I walk through a strange gray area ... neighbor mom, honorary pseudo-auntie, I'm not really sure what they'd call me. I must enforce our house rules, but - again - they aren't my children, not even extended relatives. This all adds up to an equation that forces me to respond rather than react.

God is truly growing me through this experience. Watching Pocket and Posies is helping me become a better parent to the Tongginator. The situation forces me to think creatively, to pause before I use discipline, and to really focus on the reasons why I wish to alter certain behaviors. I'm learning to ask myself, "what is the deeper lesson I wish to teach?" and "how can I best teach that lesson?" I feel grateful because I'm learning to turn more to God and less to annoyance and anger.

I also feel a bit of trepidation. I'm frightened that He might be further preparing me to parent the child we currently wait for. Will our next daughter be as strong-willed as the Tongginator? Will she be stubborn like Pockets? Clingy like Posies? Can I handle it?

I just don't know. And the longer we wait, the more I wonder.


Janet said...

Oh, I get it! The longer I wait, the more nervous I feel too!