I know many mothers who believe that being the Queen of Their Home means essentially micro-managing every single thing in their home. Answering every single question or word uttered by their child. It means managing not only homeschooling, the chores around the home, but the people as well – Dad, the children, the dog.
I believe if you are the Queen of Your Home, you will rule more gently than that! A rhythm is not a micro-managed schedule – it is an order, but it does not preclude stopping for warmth, love, hugs and kisses and fun! It does not involve hovering over each member of the family, but it does involve Loving Accountability for the children.
How many of us have done this with their older children?
Mother: Please pick your clothes up off the floor!
Child: In a minute, I have to go to the bathroom!
Mother: Okay, when you come out of the bathroom, please pick up your clothes.
(Child running around and jumping on other siblings)
Mother: Come and pick up your clothes please!
(Child wrestling with dog and building jump for dog out of pillows)
Mother: Are you sure you flushed? Can you come and pick up these clothes now as I asked?
Big sigh here.
Loving Accountability for the child under the age of 7 would be to do the activity with the child to help them be on task. For example, on average, a child begins to dress himself with reminders at age 5- this is the average age! An average age to dress himself without reminders or help needed is age 10!
So, step number one would be to be familiar with normal developmental expectations! Is what you asking reasonable? What age is your child? Is your child under the age of 7? Step number two would be to understand you cannot be a verbal-only parent with a child under the age of 7. Step number three would be to realize that you are doing a disservice for your child over the age of 7 by consistently micro-managing what you ask them to do. Say it once, help the child if it is a new task and they need to learn, break it down into steps with them, practice it together over a period of time and when they have it the task down give them ownership of it. If the clothes are not picked up the floor, oh dear, I guess I can read you the chapter of this book when the clothes jump into that drawer! Not a punishment there, just a gentle prod of ownership and Loving Accountability.
You can have a wonderful rhythm to your day where the family helps participate in the loving care of the home! Put away The Iron Fist and live with the notion of Loving Accountability and a light-as- a-feather touch. A Queen should never be ruffled in her own castle!
Quiet confidence in parenting is a great strength! Test yourself this week: what expectations do I have? Are they reasonable? Am I ruling with An Iron Fist or a Feather? Am I exuding quiet confidence and holding the space with quiet calmness or am I completely exasperated? If you feel calm and confidence, this will decrease your anger as a parent.
This week in your inner work, see if you can ponder the images of An Iron Fist or A Feather. See if you can understand that while many times we become angry in parenting, we can also choose to back up the train and respond with calmness and confidence if we keep in mind normal developmental expectations, the developmental needs and responsiveness of children under and over 7, how to assist an older child in learning a task, and giving them ownership and accountability. Being mindful in the face of stress is an area of practice and focus for many of us!
May your touch be as light as a feather this week in your home,