Is Anyone Listening to Me?

This is painful for me to admit, but here it goes: my kids don’t listen to me.

There. I said it. I am completely embarrassed about this too. It’s not that I think I’m a fantastic mom who can do it ALL flawlessly and make it look easy. I will never be that mom, and that’s OK. But how is it that I can get 20 kindergarteners to listen with just a simple clap, but my personal children can’t seem to hear me when I use my teacher voice? Not just my teacher voice, but my “RECESS-IS-OVER-LINE-UP-NOW” voice. I can manage 20 kindergarteners, fueled by copious amounts of sugar during our class Halloween party, but I can’t get my seven- and nine-year-old to follow simple 3-step directions?

The hardest part about this is that they DO listen to my husband. When he talks, they move. And I know why; he doesn’t give them two, three, four chances to respond. If he asks them to do something, they need to do it the first time or there’s a consequence. When I’m asking the kids to do the everyday tasks, my first request is taken as a notification, the second request is a reminder, the third is a warning, and by the fourth request, I’m completely annoyed and yelling. Yet this is all my doing. I know it is.

Since I spend nine months out of the year surrounded by five- and six-year-olds, I’m used to having to repeat instructions. It’s not that my students are naughty…they are… well… five- and six-years old. This is how they operate sometimes. I get it. Someone’s urgent need for a bandaid, pencil, crayon, snack will completely distract everyone else. The first snowfall of the year means I lose half a day of teaching. They get sidetracked, need to be redirected, and then we move on. My husband teaches high school, so he spends nine months out of the year surrounded by 16- and 17-year-olds. He expects them to multitask. He expects them to listen and follow those directions immediately. They respect him, and most of the time, that’s what happens.

So, little people are my people. The educator in me knows their distractibility is age-appropriate. That being said, I guess I’m the softy in the family. I’m the good cop to my husband’s bad cop. And I guess every family has that, right? But I’m really struggling with this realization. I always felt like we managed our children the same way – we both have ups and downs with the kids. But I fear I’ve been too laid back with them, and now I’m paying for it. I always swore I’d never be that mom who says, “Wait until your father gets home!”, yet here I am. And it’s still summer break! Wait until we have to get out the door for school. My teacher voice will be in full effect before I even get to my classroom.

Like I said, I don’t have to be perfect. I know I’m not. There are so many ways I’m not perfect as a mom, and that’s OK. I can’t create Pinterest-worthy lunches and snacks for school. My meal rotation is limited, at best. I’m the mom doing laundry at the eleventh hour because I constantly forget my son needs his Tae Kwon Do uniform NOW. I just thought I had the “please listen to me” part under control.  When it’s important and I mean business, they’ll listen. When it’s the boring, mundane tasks, they can’t hear a darn thing.  My pride is a little bruised.

So, I’ll figure out how to break this cycle and seek out all the mom advice.  Any of you moms have some tips or tricks?  This is my reality. In the meantime, I’ll remember what I am good at as a mom – keeping the schedule, dance parties, snuggles, and playing a mean game of Monopoly.

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