Sunday, November 23, 2014

Discipline (and my sick sense of enjoying it)

I am not a procrastinator.  If I am told today that I need to do something (and it is due in 2 weeks), it bothers me that I couldn't start working on it yesterday.  I'm totally one of those annoying people, but my editor loves me.

It isn't something I strive for and work hard to be.  Putting stuff off feels painful, and getting it done gives me infinite peace.

Wednesday night we put the kids to bed as usual.  About 15 minutes after turning out N's light, she came downstairs crying.  Full-on "someone just stole my dog" crying.  I couldn't imagine why.

She said her math study guide was due Friday, and she wasn't finished.  We had plans for me to take her on Thursday night to her school's skate party, so I said, "Well, I guess you don't go to the skate party."

Bear in mind, she'd had the entire previous weekend and a full SNOW DAY on Monday when she could have worked on it.  She had mentioned something about it to me, but I don't keep tabs on her work.  In 5th grade, she should be able to stay on top of what is due without me hovering.  My goal is to put myself out of a job as nanny goat for my three children, so helicoptering is not something I'm interested in.

When I said, "No skate party," that resulted in more tears, and I am not sympathetic to crying about a situation you brought on yourself (which is probably how people feel about me when I complain about motherhood and how being around my kids all the time blows).

D, who IS a procrastinator and can understand N's situation better than I ever could, suggested if she could get it done before Thursday at 5:30 then she could go to the skate party (she did have about half of it done, so she wasn't starting from scratch).

I grudgingly agreed to this although I admit to wanting there to be some kind of punishment simply for being a dumb-ass.  She had her fun last weekend and on Monday's snow day, so I wanted her to understand that there is a cost, and she had better learn the art of prioritizing her time and activities.  I told her if she putzed around one.single.second when she got off the bus on Thursday we would not go.

Her desire to attend the skate party motivated her to complete it in a way that I found satisfactory, but I told her if she does it again, she would (without any doubt or hesitation on my part) NOT get to do whatever fun thing she had planned.

Maybe there is something wrong with me but I don't feel any compulsion to save my children from situations of their own making.  I think I lack a sympathy gene or an empathy gene or maybe I don't know how to love people properly?  My heart doesn't break in half at the thought of my children learning a life lesson or having to step up to the plate and take responsibility for themselves.

A month or so ago, when N forgot her orchestra instrument and called me from school asking if I'd bring it, I didn't for one second want to take the discomfort off her hands.  I sorta enjoyed having her squirm a bit.  I was going up to her school for a meeting that day, but I sorta wished that I wasn't so I wouldn't have any reason for bringing the instrument.  To not bring it when I would be there would be cruel, but to make a special trip would be saving her.  I told her, "Since I am coming up there anyway, I will bring it, but I will NOT DO THIS AGAIN."

The next time she forgot her instrument at home, I did not get a worried, frantic call from her.  I guess she knew I really meant it.

Maybe when the next math assignment coincides with skate party week, she'll know I mean it then too.

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