- Tabitha Caplinger
Dealing With Small Children: My Ten Year Plan
I have two young daughters, one is 6 and one is 3. They are beautiful and smart and sassy and kind and helpful. They can also be completely irritating. (Have you been there too or am I the only one?)
Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughters. LOVE them. I would die for them. I pray for them. I feed them. I buy the snacks they like. I do devotions with them. I snuggle them while they fall asleep. I dance with them in the kitchen. I am proud of them.
But some days, more like some moments, I wonder if I was crazy to take on the adventure that is raising kids. (I’m being brutally honest here.) I wouldn’t trade them for anything but sometimes mommy needs a break. But I don't always get a break. Its part of the mom job. (The dad job too. Probably less often in our case because I’m the default parent so there is an imbalance. But this post isn’t about being the default parent, you can read a hilarious take on that here. I didn’t write it but I understand it on a deep primal level. PS: it has bad words, not a lot, but I don’t want you to be completely shocked by that fact.)
Back to the point…Parenting is hard and not always fun and we need something to keep us from cracking under the pressure.
So my husband and I have devised a plan that helps us maintain our sanity. You might call it revenge, but we call it building a family tradition that will last for generations.
Here’s the short of it. We have a list. When something our children do gets particularly annoying we add it to the list. One day, about ten years from now, we will begin to systematically enact the list. What will that look like?
Imagine a sixteen year old who is ready to sleep until 2pm on a Saturday. Then imagine me busting into her room at, let’s say, 6am and asking for an iPad and chocolate milk. “What?” She says. Then I will say, “remember every morning when you were three, so yeah.”
Imagine a thirteen year old ready for dinner. “Where are the chairs?” She says. Then my husband says, “remember when you were 4 and refused to sit down to eat a meal, so yeah.”
Imagine a fifteen year old cranking up her favorite song on the radio. I turn it to a now classic Tay Swift tune. “I was listening to that song mom,” she says. Then I will say, “remember when you were four and would only let us listen to the Taylor Swift Red album on repeat for a month, so yeah.”
Our list goes on to include random marathons of Spy Kids and weird Youtube videos of opening toy “surprise eggs”, only eating macaroni and cheese for three days, and using all their cell phone storage by taking five hundred pictures of the dog's ear and another two hundred of the carpet while throwing in a couple blurry selfies for kicks.
So there you have it, the ten year plan that keeps us from going looney in the moments that push our buttons. Hopefully we will have raised children that, while irritated by this, will grow to see the humor in it.
Imagine a 30 year old with children of her own. I will be sitting home in the lonely quiet when the phone rings. “They are driving me crazy,” she’ll say. And then I will remind her of the list and that’s when she will understand and a tradition will be born.