Whether it's making a difficult decision or practicing forgiveness, sometimes being happy in life doesn't always mean taking the easy route. As mothers we are faced with this crossroads every day. Sure it would be easy for me to please my child in the moment by buying him one of those God forsaken colorful suckers that taunt us both in the checkout line. I wouldn't have to have the discussion of why it's not a good idea to get all sugared up before nap time or get the side eyed look from strangers when my two year old screams like I've just threatened to never feed him again. Yep, in that particular moment, I'm causing straight up un-happiness, but in the long run I know that discipline will give my baby a happy life.
Today...well, today was one of those "teaching" moments I guess you could say. I've been focusing on discipline lately and trying to figure out the best way to tackle that beast. I will thoroughly admit that I am to blame for most of my own child's ahem not so redeeming qualities. Between two moves and a pregnancy I got a tad lazy. I let things go that I shouldn't have and let's just say everything has culminated into this perfect little storm wrapped up in a two year old's body. The winds are changing though. Mama is learning to stick to her guns and be more consistent. And really, consistency is the key here. Sure it's a pain in the ass, but does it lead to more peaceful happy life? I believe it will. No pain, no gain right?
So today, we headed out of the house to do a little last minute birthday party shopping. I had to go to Hobby Lobby and Walmart which both typically produce demon child like behavior for whatever reason. Ok well there are reasons. I take waaaaaay too long in Hobby Lobby. I just can't help myself. And Walmart, well, no one likes Walmart. Even I start to feel demon like when I go there. So, I knew I was potentially in for a stressful trip.
Ethan handled Hobby Lobby like a freaking champ. He was 90% a perfect angel so I decided we would walk down to the Dollar Tree to find one of the items that I couldn't find at Hobby Lobby. As soon as we walked in the door all hell broke loose. I forgot how tiny and overpacked the store was. I somehow always overlook the fact that they have buggies and stupidly try to let Ethan walk around the store holding my hand. Before you know it he's grabbing at every item he sees, refusing to hold my hand and having a toddler induced breakdown in the middle of the floor. I made it down one aisle before I was literally hauling him out like a sack of potatoes and feeling myself break out into one of those pregnancy induced hot flashes.
I knew right then and there that I couldn't just throw him in the car and go home. It takes 25-30 minutes to get to that side of town and I'd be damned if I was going to have to drive it again tomorrow. I also knew that if I didn't reprimand him right then and there that this behavior would just continue. So I stuck him in timeout right outside the store. Strangers passed us by and surely gave us looks. I didn't care. I'm getting use to the side eye.
Afterwards, we calmly walked back to the car and I drove two parking lots over to Walmart. I got out and sat in the back seat with him and made him a deal. I told him if he could make it through Wal-Mart without screaming or throwing things I would take him to watch construction work at lunch time. I promised that I would do my best to get in and out as quickly as possible and we shook on it.
He was an angel. I held up my end of the bargain and didn't push my luck by trying to look for that one more thing. Sometimes, I'll admit, I am my own worst enemy. We got out of there, I picked us up lunch and we spent 30 minutes watching construction trucks in an empty restaurant parking lot.
Disciplining may not feel like "happiness" in the moment, but it's a pathway to it. One day, we will get there.
All images are property of Laura Sager unless otherwise noted.