Yesterday was a rough one with my oldest daughter … AGAIN.
Frankly, I saw qualities and characteristics in her that made me cringe … over and over again.
The day started with a lie … at 5:45 a.m., she met me in the hallway and told me, “My clock switched.” I found that odd since it’s set to switch from nighttime to daytime at 6:00. When I checked into it, it had not switched … despite her efforts to switch the time so that it would switch earlier (a second lie). Lying and sneaky behaviour has been rearing its ugly head more and more lately … naturally, this upsets me (the #1 quality I detest in people and maybe kids especially is sneakiness).
From here, I saw manipulation, bribing, and threats (with her younger sister). I was also confronted with ARGUING … so … much … ARGUING.
“Mackenzie, I need you to do your chore of the day (from Tuesday) … there’s a box of groceries in the basement that need to go in the snack drawer or the pantry.”
“Mom, I’m only in charge of the snack drawer.”
“Right, but today, I need you to help by putting the rest of the stuff away too.”
More arguing about how the pantry stuff is not her job … Grrrr …
She stomps off to get the items from the basement and starts putting them away. Her little sister sees the job as fun and asks if she can help. They even work together at one point to carry the big box up from the basement so they can finish the job. Now, there are some qualities I love … helping others, working together, sticking with a task until it is done (completely and well).
Having removed a container that was no longer needed in the snack drawer, my oldest daughter just tossed it onto the floor. Seeing it laying there, I asked her, “Where do you think you should put that?”
“How would I know where it goes, Mom?” More attitude.
“Mackenzie, if you don’t know where something goes, all you have to do is ask. And it certainly doesn’t belong on the floor; even the counter would have been a better choice.”
“I did put it on the counter; it must have fell,” she argues further.
A short while later, after I filled 26 flour balloons for her classmates (something that was important to her), it was time to clean up our mess. Of course, I was met with MORE undesirable qualities, “Why do I have to clean this up? Why doesn’t Madilyn have to do anything? Mom, I don’t know where any of this stuff goes. I can’t put the bucket back where it goes. It’s too hard. Why do I have to vacuum that? Madilyn spilt it.” And on and on and on.
And this is why I hate doing crafts or projects with my kids sometimes … the clean up ends up being a big, unnecessary argument. And them helping with the cleanup is non-negotiable. How else will they learn to clean up after themselves?
As we were finishing up, I noticed that the broken balloon that I had asked Mackenzie to put in the garbage a little while before was laying BESIDE the garbage can. I saw a teachable moment with my eldest and invited her into the bathroom to see where her balloon had landed. “I put it in the garbage, Mom. I know I did. I promise it was in there. It must have fell out.” And I’m ticked again … there is no friggin’ way that balloon was put in the garbage as I had asked, yet my daughter is arguing with me, completely and utterly adamant that she put it in the garbage. All I wanted from my daughter when I invited her back into the bathroom was a simple, “Oops. I must have missed the garbage can.” And she would pick it up and put it in the can.
I know a balloon BESIDE the garbage can seems like such a trivial thing, but as a mom, I do feel that it is my responsibility and my job to raise good humans. The balloon represents a request from an adult being fulfilled properly … it shows respect for the person who made the request. Also, doing the job properly and well demonstrates a certain amount of conscientiousness (another important quality in people, I think). And finally, it represents an opportunity for my daughter to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for her actions … something, I am so desperately trying to work on with her.
The day continued with many more instances of arguing when she heard no or was asked to do something, accompanied by countless instances of blaming and excuses, “But Mom … “ or “But Madilyn …” or “But YOU …” She’s notorious for pointing the finger outward, for wanting what she wants and being relentless in pursuing it (she gets her sister this way, but unfortunately for her, I am more stubborn than her), and she’s so, so selfish at times.
I feel like I’m beginning to loathe too many things about my oldest daughter. I feel like I am seeing far too many undesirable traits … denying, lying, manipulating, arguing, speaking rudely, talking back, being mouthy, making excuses, avoiding responsibility, thinking of herself only … unfortunately, the list goes on and on and on. And, of course, in my heart, I am met with a certain amount of fear … fear for the human I am raising, and, but more importantly, I am terrified that my heart is hardening towards my child. Her undesirable qualities and characteristics are clouding my vision, and I can’t even see the good stuff anymore … sometimes, I feel like I can’t stand the sight of her and sometimes, I catch myself trying to avoid her. What kind of mother feels these things towards her own flesh and blood? What kind of mother …
And … that’s all for now … she’s awake … and the last fifteen minutes has been more of the same undesirable qualities that I saw yesterday … not sure what to do since she isn’t allowed to use the iPad this morning, she asked for suggestions … I started listing a few, but was met with, “That’s boring. I don’t like that. No.” I tried to walk away, before I said something I would regret, but, of course, she followed me, repeating, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”
And the truth is, I don’t either. I don’t know what to do with my daughter anymore. I feel like I’ve tried EVERYTHING … and just when one thing seems to work, it suddenly doesn’t anymore.
I need help … she needs help … please, if there’s anything you can share that you think might help me, message me or leave a comment below.
Happy Sunday, Everyone!
3 thoughts on “A Hardened Heart”
Leanne we all have these little periods of conflict with our children. Often they’re just phases that will pass. It sounds to me like you need a break. Get out and do some “adult” things with a friend. Go out for lunch, and have an uninterrupted conversation and you’ll feel better. You have a lot going on in your life right now so take care of you.