One of the toughest things for me as a parent these days is following my instincts. Take our mornings, for instance. Say, this morning.
The girls have been getting out of bed later and later every morning. Our standing rule has been, school starts at 9. They have chores to get done before school starts -- as long as those chores get done before 9, it doesn't matter what time they get up. Up until now, that has always seemed very reasonable and simple--nothing they could argue.
But my gut has been telling me that part of the reason they're lethargic and cranky and bickering during the day has to do with the fact that they sleep so late in the morning. I know that I get that way when I sleep late. When I'm up at a good hour and get my morning work done with time to spare, I feel pulled together and ready for the day. When I sleep late, I feel like I'm always behind, all day long (even if technically, I'm not--I still feel that way).
So, I told both girls last night that they were expected to be out of bed by 7:30 -- soon after their dad came in to say goodbye before leaving for work. And I knew I'd be fighting them about it this morning.
"Why do I have to get up?" "But I'll get my chores done!"
And the problem is, I have no answer to give them other than, "because I said so." It's just that my gut tells me this is what they need. Maybe I'm wrong, but I at least want a chance to find out. So, then I feel like an ogre, demanding behavior of them that I can't give a reason for, and succumbing to the "I'm the mom" argument to justify it.
Makes me cranky and whiny about it all, too.
OK, so there's another tough thing for me as a parent these days: consistency. Persistence. Stick-to-my-guns-edness. Whatever you call it. Confidence. I'm confident that getting an earlier start to their day will help in a lot of other areas in our family, so I'm going to make it happen whether I can articulate the reason for it or not.