Friday, November 19, 2010

Mom, The Referee

I'm not a mom – I'm a referee. I decided this today after breaking up the fourth or fifth fight between my daughters. It wasn't about anything big – just which doll had the wrong shoes on. Some of the earlier fights included the disagreement over who had the stick first, and the very common argument over who gets the yellow bowl at breakfast.

It is exhausting to stop the fighting all day long. I have tried letting them work out their problems for themselves, but it hasn't gone well so far. This morning I tried to let them discuss a better way to share a toy, but it ended up with two little girls screaming, and then a very long time out. The crazy thing is that ten minutes later they were laying with both of their heads on the same pillow talking and laughing together.

I do know that this is normal for siblings, but does it have to be normal for my kids? Can't they just be miracle children who never fight? I really would love that. In fact, I told them that's all I wanted for Christmas. They just stared at me. So, I'm guessing that would be a no.

Since I need to remember the good in each day, I decided to find the positive side of sibling disagreements. I am the newest “Pollyanna” of our house, because, believe it or not, I found a happy thing. Each fight or disagreement between the kids offers me an opportunity to teach them how to better manage frustrations. It also provides me a lot of time to talk with them about compromising. (Did I mention that it's a lot of time?)

I have decided that refereeing has got to be the hardest job. There's a lot of stress to always make the right call. The thing that makes it worse for moms is that we aren't always there to witness the play. When both sides claim to be right, it's hard to know what call is really fair. I've also learned that I have to stand up for the decision that is made when I know it is right. On the other hand, I have to learn to say “I'm sorry” when I'm wrong. It's a hard job!

Referees for sporting events don't always get paid very well, but I would definitely take their pay over my . . . no pay. From my experience, I think anybody who does that kind of job should get paid well – very well, in fact.

My favorite parts of it all are the time outs. . . for me. I love those. Sometimes I'm selfish and walk out to the mailbox all by myself! I'm also known to take time outs in the bathroom. I've decided that these are important to a referee's sanity. (At least for referees of three-year-olds.)

However, since I can't turn in a two-weeks' notice, and since I can't ask for a pay increase, would it be too much to ask for a pan of brownies? Come to think of it, I'd even just settle for a chocolate kiss . . . from a one-year-old.