Every night and every morning I find myself standing over my children and barking orders. Brush your teeth. Now go potty. Now get your clothes on. Let’s go. We’re late. Shoes on. Backpacks on. Meet me at the door. NOW! And one day last week, I realized something terrible: I am the boss everyone hates, I am the Micromanager Mom.
Some quick googling confirms my suspicions. The micromanager is an active being – someone who has a hard time sitting back and letting the things get done. One theory says micromanagers believe workers need constant prodding in order to get things done because humans are basically lazy and unmotivated.
It all makes sense now. Substitute in “parenting” for “managing” and it’s pretty clear that I’m not on a good path. Microparenting creates a constant lack of autonomy or decision-making ability. Microparenting is about control, and while having an element of control as a parent is essential, using it as a permanent parenting strategy is bound to fail.
So how do I get away from this microparenting and still have the kids complete the things I need them to complete by the time I need them done? Good question! Maybe I should take advantage of my working mom status and ask for some managerial training at the office. Until then, I think am going to take a stab at it in a few ways:
- Provide visual instead of verbal cues. They know what needs to be done to get ready for bed or to get ready for school. I’ll plan to create a checklist (with visuals for my PreK3 kiddo) so that they can keep track of where they are in the list of tasks themselves.
- Ask once and then move on to the next thing. Instead of telling them a thousand times to go to the bathroom, ask once and then start packing up the car. They are old enough that if they don’t go at home and have to hold it in the car they will be ok.
- Stick to my guns. Instead of telling them to do things a million times, I’ll ask once (see above) and then the consequence will happen. I will keep it consistent so they know what to expect instead of flying off the handle when I feel invisible. (You don’t get jammies on when I say “time for bed” then you won’t read books that night or if you are supposed to be getting ready for bed and are instead playing, then the toy you are using is put away in the garage for a week).
- Consider/research the best methods for communication with 3-7 year olds. Perhaps my barking orders across the room while they are in the middle of playing isn’t the best idea. Maybe better to make them stop, look and listen to my clear directions about the transition that’s about to take place (Playtime is over and it is now time to get ready for bed).
- Get on the same page with my husband.
- Have a family meeting to discuss the change in strategy – set them up to succeed in any way I can by making clear what the rules and expectations are.
And maybe, just maybe, if I can dial back to the microparenting even a little, I can enjoy the whole thing a little bit more. If my mind is so filled with the micro-details and worrying about when/if/how they are going to get done, then I never leave room for the unscheduled joy. The spontaneous tickle fight between pjs and teeth may not be on my new chore chart, but it might be the best thing to happen all day.