If you are a parent and more often than not you feel under appreciated or worse yet UN appreciated by your children, you my friend, are not alone. All over the country or world for that matter kids can be heard yelling at their parental units. "You didn't do it right!" "You bought me the wrong one!" "Why isn't my favorite pink shirt clean?"
Just getting the kids out the door in the morning can make you feel useless. You do your best to pack the lunches you know they will love. Only when you say in your happy sing songy voice, " I packed those cheese sticks and crackers you like so much." You hear "I hate those, now what am I going to eat, guess I will just starve!" Now you are running late and there is no time for a repack. Well they liked them last week anyway. Who can keep up.
They go off and you are left feeling drained and exhausted. You spent 10 minutes trying to sweetly coax them out of bed. Another 20 minutes looking for their favorite pants which they yelled at you for losing in the wash. As it turns out they never actually made it to the laundry because your little darling threw them in a corner of their closet. Then there is the sibling fighting you had to break up. The reminders to brush hair and teeth, maybe you said it once or maybe 15 times, who can remember at this point. To which they respond "I Heard you, stop telling me what to do!"
All of this negativity directed at you can really bring you down and leave you feeling bad about the job you are doing. I say let's turn the negativity around and look at this from a different point of view. What if we picture our kids going to their dresser drawer and finding clean socks and underwear to put on. We already know their best pants weren't in there but the clean socks and undies were! How about a secret smile on their face when after they spill milk on their shirt at snack time they reach into their backpack and find a spare clean shirt to change into.
Or the good feeling they have when the teacher asks everyone to hand in their homework and they actually have it,because you reminded them 10 times to pack it. Maybe they even think to themselves "I'm so glad my mom reminded me so many times to put that in my bag. I really love her she takes such good care of me."
I am choosing to believe that behind those random and sporadic times I hear "Mom, I love you, you are the best mom ever!" is silent gratitude for all that I do for them. I think maybe just maybe as they are saying those words their little minds are thinking about all the small ways I make their world a better place. You should too, just try thinking about everything you do for your kids that makes their day go a little better. Or even how all of your nagging to do homework and chores is helping them to grow into a more responsible person who can take care of themselves. They are having a better day at school because their hair was brushed, their teeth are clean and their bag is well stocked.
Because like with everything else sometimes you say it 3000 times and think they aren't listening but they really are. Yes, some organizing and preparation like getting clothes ready the night before and maybe a list of things they can check off to make sure they have packed everything or brushed their teeth would help. Also natural consequences like, they don't brush their hair, they will feel like a mess all day, no homework they stay in at recess. We try some of these things, but sometimes we fall off the wagon.
From now on I'm going to try and focus on how much my kids do appreciate me and the things I do. I am also going to appreciate myself and the things I do for my family more. Some of their appreciation may come later, like way later when they are grown. They might one day find themselves thinking, "I'm really glad my mom brushed my teeth every single day, even though I gave her a hard time and yelled at her. Because if she didn't I wouldn't have this beautiful healthy smile." Or "I'm glad my parents nagged me about homework and chores. Because now I know how to get my work done without procrastinating, and my space is tidy."
It can be so hard being a parent, you want your kids to learn responsibility and one way is to let them fail a time or two or 50 so they know the feeling of being unprepared. But inevitably I find that urge to remind them of what they need to do so overwhelming LOL! Maybe by changing my thinking and turning the negativity into positivity I will see a drastic change for the better in this situation. Maybe even one day when after reminding them 3 times I hear, "You didn't remind me that today was my share day, I was so embarrassed!" I can actually feel grateful for the lesson we learned.
Love yourself a little bit more today, and feel proud of the job you are doing as a parent. None of us are perfect, and it is not easy, but that doesn't mean we aren't doing great things!