Happy New Year, friends, and welcome back to The Lighter Side!
This year, I am ready to take the bull by the horns and live my best life and YOLO and no regrets and such.
Just kidding. I’m going to declutter my pantry.
But what are y’all doing to shoot for the moon and land among the stars this year? Good for you! (As long as it’s not Paleo, because that’s crazy.)
We are actually creating our own best life mantras at the Holt house, and I’d love to share them with you in case you live with small humans who more closely resemble banshees. Seriously, the noise level is dangerous in my house. Our first phrase came about as a direct result of decibel level over here.
On a long, cold, winter break day at home, I’d heard as much screeching and screaming as I could stand. Angry yelling, shouted arguments, happy squeals and impromptu yodeling were the order of the day. I summoned all three children to the kitchen. I lined them up in front of me and got on my knees so I could look them right in their eyes and I whispered that from now on, the only reason your voice should be louder than a normal speaking voice is IF YOU ARE ON FIRE.
Since that moment, every time a voice is raised, someone responds with “Are you on fire?!?!” Lu even got brave enough to ask me if I was on fire while I was yelling at them for playing with collectible Christmas ornaments. (She will be allowed to leave the house again in 12 years, when her sentence for sassin’ her Mama is served.)
I must admit that I’m proud of how this behavior modification tool has caught on so quickly. I love hearing this from my children’s mouths as I realize that I’ve at least turned regular banshees into self-policing banshees.
Our other mantra for 2018 is a bit more inspirational, and it was my response to the endless whining that I have to endure. No more “I can’t find my folder,” “He used all the tape,” “I’m bored,” or whatever the existential crisis of the day is for the grade school set.
My answer to all such comments is “We are not complainers, we are problem solvers.” When I’m feeling generous, I walk the children through the process of solving a problem without whining or complaining. When I’m at the end of my rope (which, let’s be honest, is MOST of the time,) I just keep repeating that mantra over and over every time they open their mouths, and eventually this tactic works because they give up and solve their own problem.
I feel like this dramatization of how the world will react to their petty complaints and whining is actually great preparation for real life. So, really, I’m not being a terrible parent, I’m just equipping my children for adulthood. Nobody wants to hang out with, work with or marry screeching complainers, and I think if I reject these behaviors, the kids will understand that if their Mama can’t tolerate it, no one else will either.
I am happy to share these new inspirational quotes with those of you who need a new approach to reining in the crazy a little bit. I’m getting better every year, and I know this year’s family mantras are definitely better than last year’s (“Blankies are for sissies,” “That doesn’t seem like something I care about,” and “Nope. Nopey nope nope.”)
You can borrow those too, because, you know, YOLO.
Overheard at the salon: “I win Christmas — I regifted a candle holder to the same person who gave it to me last year.”