Self Improvement

I’m not sure why this always happens, but do you ever find yourself vowing to do better, to be better – only to be tested that very next day?

Perhaps it is the universe’s way of testing your resolve. Or maybe it’s your own premonitions that something will happen soon that will require extra strength.

Either way, it makes me slightly nervous when I make new promises to better myself.

Last night while laying in bed I was kicking myself once again (as I do periodically) for too much yelling, for knowing that my triggers are and not changing anything about them, letting the same situations play out and end poorly again and again. I was also silently berating myself for not doing more in the house, for collapsing on the couch at 8pm every night instead of spending one more hour cleaning or organizing some of the things I’ve let go too long.

Today started out pretty normal. Not that any day is normal, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

After lunch I was sorting through Jack and Ben’s sock bins, finding ones in the wrong place, rejoining them together and throwing out anything with holes (I lead such an exciting life, I know), I came out into the kitchen and smelled poop. I was surprised since both Aaron and Sam had already laid one on us this morning. But it wasn’t one of the twins.

There was Ben, both hands covered completely in brown, sitting at the kitchen counter playing on my iPad.

I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t made my new resolutions last night I would be screaming my head off, especially when I walked to the other side of the counter and saw it smeared all over the chairs and on the kitchen counter. But if that didn’t set me off, him violently shaking his hands and letting it fly everywhere certainly would have.

But not today. Today I was armed with new resolve.

Today I was not functioning “at my limit”.

Today I marched him into the bathroom calmly, stripped him down and put him in a hot shower. I told him it was okay, it was an accident.

While he was in there I wiped the counters, chairs and floor with lysol wipes before the twins got to it.

Then I went back and gave him a thorough wipe down. It was everywhere. Even inside each of his 10 fingertips.

While I was running around tending to Ben, the twins took the opportunity to grab the chalk and write all over the house, then make a mess in Jack and Ben’s room…

This huge mess took about 5 minutes to create.

This huge mess took about 5 minutes to create.

After the shower I got Ben out and let him know that we would sadly have to throw his really cool superhero underwear out. That it was covered in poop and could not be salvaged. He was more upset by this than any amount of screaming. He kept trying to come up with solutions to clean it. To this I complimented him on his problem solving skills then, giving him my saddest face, told him that any underwear he pooped in would be thrown out and if he ran out of supercool undies we would buy boring white ones, not the expensive superhero kind.

Later during the twins nap I noticed that Ben was on the bed pulling on the covers I normally fold the clothes on. On another day, I would have dumped the clothes there anyway then gotten into an argument over him accidentally kicking or messing up the folded clothes. Today I moved the laundry to the dresser, where there would be no chance of a confrontation. Laundry done. No yelling.

After school is always a screaming match to have Jack finish his homework. Sometimes it take over an hour for something he can do in a few minutes if he would just sit down and concentrate. Today I switched things up, no down time before homework or homework might run into dinner time. I sat him down right after school and because I didn’t feel pressed for time, I didn’t rush him.

Here’s how it went..

We started at 3:50

We started at 3:50

Well, at least he's still working.

Well, at least he’s still working.

This doesn't look good. We are only 2/3 done at this point and almost an hour in.

This doesn’t look good. We are only 2/3 done at this point and almost an hour in.



At this point it’s 1 hour and 30 minutes into me asking him and gently reminding him that he will have no dinner, dessert or books until it’s done…

Now sulking under the table while everyone eats.

Now sulking under the table while everyone eats.




It took him just as long if not longer to get the homework done but the difference was I nagged A LOT less, didn’t yell and he got a lot more taken away instead. In the end he lost his iPad privileges for the evening. It was just as annoying for me and probably more annoying for him since he had to watch everyone eat dinner before he finally sat down and did it but I’m just going to keep it up for a good 2 weeks and hope to see that less yelling and screaming and more definitive rewards and punishments works. No wonder they say the first kid always gets screwed up! He’s a walking experiment on child rearing!

Overall it was a good day, and I was pleased that I tried some self improvement, even if it seems this is like this sort of exercise in bettering yourself is like cleaning your junk drawer. No matter how many times you clean it out, a few months later it is full of crap again.

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