I decided yesterday that I needed to say "yes" more often to Sister. My girl has been having trouble in school again lately. She is daydreamy when she should be working, her teacher says, but is also getting into trouble when she lets other kids--boys, usually--tease her into misbehaving. My sneaking suspicion is that I'm not cutting her enough slack at home. I've reasoned that between me and my Ex, my parenting role is the disciplinarian because Sister's father is so very lax with her that it's not even funny. I've mentioned before that she's borderline chaotic whenever she's with him and his parents, so I've felt that I should be more firm with her, that I should take special care to spell out the rules with her. Until now.
I'm tired of being the tough parent. I'm tired of having her looked stressed because I'm making her do homework on schedule. (Her 1st grade teacher kept harping on how it was important to lay down good study habits NOW by making her do homework at a routine time in a routine place everyday. I'm thinking that maybe it's just enough that it gets done at all each week.) I'm tired of trying to drill manners into her head at the expense of tension at the dinner table. (That's a hang-up shared by both myself and my Husband.) I'll be the first to admit that I'm rather a control freak, but I'm just tired of being her really-too-rigid mama. My girl used to be the biggest sweetheart I'd ever known, but she's changed in the last year or so. Maybe it's because she's just older and doesn't show it as much, but maybe it's because I'm not being all that sweet myself anymore. Even I'm noticing these days the contrast in my tone when I'm talking to little baby Bean versus when I talk to Sister. She doesn't call me on it, but I'll bet it hurts her feelings sometimes that I don't talk like that to her now. Is that why at least a couple of times a week Sister tries to climb into my lap and talk baby talk to me? Um, yeah, probably.
Our house doesn't always have to run so efficiently, does it? With every piece of the daily puzzle in its place everyday? No. It really doesn't. So yesterday I made a conscious effort to relax with Sister. I decided that I'd say yes where I'd previously said no. She wants to play with her toy horses, take the dog outside, swing on the tire swing, have snack, try on clothes, and read me poems, all before doing homework? Yes, my love. She wants to wear some new clothes that I got for her, even though the weather is really a little too chilly for them? Of course, but come inside for a sweater if you start to get cold. She wants to pick my camellias and put them in her hair? Go ahead, dear. The thing is blooming gloriously this year and there are plenty. Can she stay a little longer in the bath, though dinner is nearly ready? Yes. Can she tidy her room after dinner instead of before? Yes. Can she go with me on an errand without the baby and Husband? Yes.
And thus, yesterday we had the nicest day together that we've had in months. This will be hard for me because I am used to running our household almost like it's a job, rather than relaxing in it and letting others do the same. But I'm hoping I can keep it a little slacker around here.