“I do struggle and maybe you could give me some advice. I spend quite a bit of time with my kids in the morning going over little activities like school workbooks and story time and exercising together. Yet the minute I get on the phone or sit down to nurse the baby, the three boys are arguing or fighting or taking toys from each other or something of the sort. I have tried to get them to color or do a certain activity together, but that only lasts so long. It's hard to discipline when you are nursing the baby. I know I have a bit of post-pardom and always feel like I am always nursing the baby or disciplining my children. I have felt discouraged with my 3 boys behavior and realize some of their actions comes from mom spending so much time with the new little one. Do you have any tips or suggestions for me on how to best help teach my boys and solve the problems.”
You hit a common discipline problem right on the head. I would like to meet a mother who can have a 30 minute phone conversation and not have things fall apart a little bit. My one hopeful thought to you is that as they grow, they learn to live without you for 30 minutes, or more.
Nursing a baby is also a hard one. I have been there too. It sounds like you don’t have a child old enough to really take care of things while your nurse, so you are going to have to keep taking deep breaths. Stressed mommies don’t make as good of milk as relaxed mommies.
When I get a long phone call my routine at home falls apart too; at least for the younger ones. The older children are diligent enough that they just keep plugging away at things even if I am not there with them. The older two are 17 and 15. The younger two, ages 11 and 9 are a different story. If I don’t have an older child do something for them while I am on the phone, they will play for a while together, but then they often need me after a little while.
During the years when all my children were small and I had nursing babies, I would read to the children while I nursed. That was our special sit on the couch time. When the baby got old enough that reading was a distraction from nursing, I would send the young ones out to play for a few minutes while I fed the baby. As far as defusing their fights when you are nursing goes, all the five teaching styles are purely verbal. Just call them to you, hear their sides, and do a corrective teaching etc. If the children have earned a negative consequence while you are nursing, have them complete it when you are finished nursing. Singing songs together, or memorizing a poem also works while nursing.
As far as the phone goes, you may want to have certain times during the day that you DO NOT answer the phone. I know this is easier said than done, but try. If you don’t let yourself be interrupted during the times you and the children are learning and playing, then they will probably not get so anxious for you during your phone calls. Stop phone calls for problems with the children. Again, I know there are some calls that can’t be stopped for what-ever reason. But, if you can, call your neighbor or sister back. Doing this will also put you in a good light with your friends and family.
Being a parent is a job. Along time ago I decided to look at it like this. This was one of the best paradigm shifts I ever made. I instantly saw what I did as a mother as more important than almost anything else. My dedication made great relationships at home, fun learning times, and even inspired some of my neighbors etc. to take their parent role more seriously too. When I say “seriously”, I mean so seriously that having a laugh with the children is 10x more important than cleaning the house, etc.
Best of luck parenting during the young years.They are short, exciting, and can be exhausting, but they are the years you will want to look back on for the rest of your life!