The end is nigh!


Tax Season is almost over. April 17th, this year. (April 15th falls on a Saturday, so the Infernal Revenue Service allows people two extra days) This means that, after about a week of decompression (i.e., manic gardening and shopping and decorating and daiquiris and lunch-with-her-friends) TFBIM will be The Mom once again and I'll start easing back into the heavy part of my work year.

What does this mean?

Well, fewer recipes, for one thing. More stuff about (sorry) cars and sound system stuff. More cocktails and coffee though. More travel stuff, but less of the "today NTS removed his own spleen and we had to go to the emergency room and they gave him the grape-flavored medicine instead of the orange-flavored medicine so he made a scene."

But you may get more funny stuff about how annoyed TFBIM gets when the other moms tell her "Your husband is soooo funny/smart/wonderful!"

Which leads me to the gist of today's Parenting: Doing It Joke-style post. I'm not saying the way I do things is the best way, no. I am saying it's sometimes the best way and it certainly works for me.

My parenting philosophy is a triangulation of--duh!--three things: Goals, Efficiency, Serenity. The best way to reconcile these is summed up in one word: Expediency*. To me, results count infinitely more than intentions or processes.


1- Learn to pick your fights.
2- ALWAYS follow through on any threats/admonitions/warnings.
3- Don't ask questions such as "NOS, would you like some spinach?" because you might get answers you don't want to hear. When it comes to stuff they like remember "Take what you want, but eat what you take."
4- Don't issue explanations why something must be done. "Why must you pick up this mess? Because I will throw everything into the wood chipper in 15 minutes if you don't." Your average 8 y.o. doesn't care why carrots are good for your eyesight or how hard you worked to straighten up the room. Be fair and shoot once across the bow, but after that, carry through.
5- It's a LOT easier to go from "no" to "yes" than vice-versa. Hoard your "yes." Practice telling your child "You're confusing this with a negotiation."
6- "Eat it or wear it" tends to work a lot better than pleading. Beware the child who can out-wait you.
7- REAL accomplishments (excellent report from school, some particularly charitable act, etc.) merit serious rewards and praise out the yin-yang. It's okay to be amazingly strict about the bad stuff, but be generous about the good stuff.
8- There is nothing better AT ALL, than having a child that likes to flop in bed next to you and read alongside. Work on that.
9- It's OK to put the egg timer on the kids' homework. You finish it on time (i.e. no wandering thoughts or daydreaming) and without mistakes and you get a treat.
10- Come birthday time or Christmas, we gather up toys to donate to the poor kids. "The more room you make by donating toys, the more room Santa has for bringing you gifts this year." The world doesn't revolve around us and our wants, kids...and there are a lot of kids who have less than we do; we have an obligation to help people.

Carrot and stick, people...carrot and stick.


P.S. Let the record show my wife is often aghast at my methods.

* I was giving some parenting advice to one of TFBIM's fellow moms over the phone and when I uttered the word "Expediency" TFBIM chimed in "do-o-o-ot co-o-o-o-o-m!" (like in the Expedia ads)


blackbird said…
well, look at that...

it appears we are running the SAME households.
Joke said…
I am an absolute monarch, albeit a benevolent (usually) one.

Carolyn said…
It all sounds like good advice to me!
julia said…
I thought this was how all households were run. It's how my mother ran ours and how I run mine.

Except the baby. Can you tell me how to reason with a 16 month-old with a double ear infection who wants nothing more, at 1 a.m., than to get in bed with mummy and daddy? And I want reasoning that doesn't involve me hanging over her crib for two hours, rubbing her back, while she punctures my eardrums, scares the cat and freaks out the dog with her blood-curdling screams.
MsCellania said…
Shit Yes! This is called P A R E N T I N G. Few people practice it. We do. It wasn't always this way. I was overwhelmed, and a Speech Therapist suggested I read 1-2-3 Magic - it's love amd logic parenting for the 2-12 yo set. It changed our lives.
I have a special needs kid. I have to Be The Boss. All the time.

I don't ask, I offer 2 choices; My way or something dire.

We can take our children anywhere. They are 4 and 5, and sit nicely to eat. They are polite. They know they are not the center of universe. They also know how to be assertive when their bratty friends try to take advantage of them. They have to have spines, after all.

I don't yell or spank (okay, but not often!). I don't have to. We do use time outs, and loss of privileges.

My favorite expression is "We will wait." If I ask them to do something, nothing else happens in their little lives until they do what has been requested.

The Rules apply to all who visit. My GFs are astonished how well their children behave in our house. One GF swears the kids are begging "Scold me some more, Ant Vickee!"
--erica said…
Can I print this off and hand it out at school?

no. not kidding.
Joke said…

Go forth and multiply the copies.


P.S. If you want something a bit more, y'know, Scriptural to add throw in Pr. 13:24 for a bit of oomph.

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