babyhood / family / home / HOMESCHOOLING / LIVING WELL / MOTHERHOOD

what’s a mom to do?

08.18.11

what's a mom to do?

It's getting to be that time of year when we're really due for a little back to school schedule and regularity to our days. The way this is becoming most clear is in the amount of sibling bickering and pestering and picking that is going on in this house. 

My oldest is at an age where she waffles between wanting to be "all grown up", independent, aloof, and in the next moment right in the thick of the play with her younger sisters. And often those transitions can be awkward and bumpy. Everything is "so annoying", so much so that I think I am going to be banning the phrase from her vocabulary very soon. (this afternoon!)

But honestly, it's the bickering that really wears this mama down. There is no manual to motherhood and I find my own self waffling between "approaches" as well. I so desperately want them to learn to work it out themselves, to stand up for themselves, to let the little sibling-picking slide off them like water off a duck's back. I want them to learn to walk away and not be bothered. To maintain their cool. 

I don't want to always be the sounding board, the complaint department where you come to file your grievances. 

But I also have to help them work through some of these things. It's hard to know when to step in and when to step back. 

And so, this is how I know school days must return. These brains need reviving, rejuvinating and stretching. Energy needs to be expended, but in the right direction.

This school marm is sharpening her pencils. 

what's a mom to do?

It's getting to be that time of year when we're really due for a little back to school schedule and regularity to our days. The way this is becoming most clear is in the amount of sibling bickering and pestering and picking that is going on in this house. 

My oldest is at an age where she waffles between wanting to be "all grown up", independent, aloof, and in the next moment right in the thick of the play with her younger sisters. And often those transitions can be awkward and bumpy. Everything is "so annoying", so much so that I think I am going to be banning the phrase from her vocabulary very soon. (this afternoon!)

But honestly, it's the bickering that really wears this mama down. There is no manual to motherhood and I find my own self waffling between "approaches" as well. I so desperately want them to learn to work it out themselves, to stand up for themselves, to let the little sibling-picking slide off them like water off a duck's back. I want them to learn to walk away and not be bothered. To maintain their cool. 

I don't want to always be the sounding board, the complaint department where you come to file your grievances. 

But I also have to help them work through some of these things. It's hard to know when to step in and when to step back. 

And so, this is how I know school days must return. These brains need reviving, rejuvinating and stretching. Energy needs to be expended, but in the right direction.

This school marm is sharpening her pencils. 

21 comments on “what’s a mom to do?”

  1. Good luck! it is such a delicate balance. Being outside or just a change of scenery helps us when those siblings interactions turn for the worst. Ours often turn physical, so I still need to intervene (or so I feel). I just wish they wouldn’t hit, pinch, slap or bite one another – UGH

  2. Yeah, we are seeing some of the same (though they always bicker quite a bit — I think it’s the 4-year-age gap precipitated by the gender difference). We’re getting close to ready for a change of pace. We still have swimming lessons and our summer routine is still going for a bit longer, so I’m going to wait until September to start our new plan. But I do have a different plan this year, and I’m very excited about it. πŸ™‚

  3. So it’s not just us! The sounding board is an apt description. I get so tired of that. My mom tells me that my aunt and uncle stopped taking their six(!) daughters on vacations because they were tired of all the fighting. Now the six sister have an enviable closeness. It gives me hope. Family ties can apparently withstand some bickering as long as there is also a lot of love.

  4. Oh my- this post is EXACTLY where we are today- literally as I am reading what you wrote, my two boys have come in seperately to whine about what the other one did to him. I can’t stand it- at nine and eleven, aren’t we done with this yet? I am sick of playing referee myself.I too welcome the rhythm of school days again. And for the first time this year I will only be homeschooling one instead of both of them- the older is heading to middle school. I think being apart for the first time in their lives will help them appreciate the relationship they have- right? I can only hope!

  5. I agree! My middle child starts kindergarten this year, and I am so thankful. He seems so bored, and ends up in trouble so frequently…two sisters are easy targets for that.

  6. You are telling my story! The past few days I have been saying the same thing “too much fighting- time to start school again!” I am working on my final prep and we will start on the 29th, just over a week away!

  7. We are in the middle of a nice break form the fighting and I am loving that, but I know exactly what you mean about waffling between approaches.

  8. Yeah, the bickering has been getting out of control here, too. They get so upset when I tell them to work it out themselves. It’s hard to know what to do!

  9. I just read a study that suggested that bickering and fighting in childhood were not necessarily an indicator of what the adult sibling relationship will be. Siblings who never fought because they were disengaged with each other had very little involvement as adults, whilst those who fought like cats and dogs would oftentimes be very close as adults because they were actually engaged and involved in each others lives. This gives me hope when the bickering becomes extreme….

  10. . I get so tired of that. My mom tells me that my aunt and uncle stopped taking their six daughters on vacations because they were tired of all the fighting.. I think being apart for the first time in their lives will help them appreciate the relationship they have- right? I can only hope!

  11. Yup, we are there as well, I’ve been ready to regroup and begin a new rhythm the last couple weeks, but it’s not quite time for us. However next week we will begin To change our rhthym slowly, working school into our days. I’m hoping it will help, at least a little.

    It’s definitely a balance between knowing when to jump in and knowing when to just let them work it out…..

  12. I am right there with you. My oldest is jumping into the fray and causing more trouble than a whole passle of toddlers. He needs something to do. Like Math,or Spelling, or a Book Report. I’m so ready.

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