Sunday, March 7, 2010

Big Picture Parenting

My 6 year old is strapped in her car seat, sitting in the car, which is sitting in the garage. She is screaming her little head off.

Why? Because I won’t take her to school this morning. Why? Because she didn’t get ready on time. Why? Because she was busy torturing her big sister (who DID get ready on time) and goofing off.

Am I a mean Mommy? You bet your sweet ass. Does it rip my heart out to hear her sobbing and begging to go to school? Yes indeedy (as my mother would have said).

Is this a lot of bloody work for me? Hell yeah. Is it worth is? I have no fucking idea.

But I am trying to do Big Picture Parenting. (I came up with that term. Should I trademark it?)

I am trying to think about not focusing on the moment, and looking instead to what kind of middle school kid will she be? Or high school student, if she can’t move her ass and get out the door. And if she’s going to be the one of our first female presidents, how will she run the White House effectively if she’s still strapped in her car seat?

She’s 6, you might gently remind me. Yeah, and she thinks she’s in love with the Jonas Brothers. If she can figure out the viewing schedule for the Disney Channel every day, hour by hour, then she can get ready for school on time.

I have a schedule, you know, shit I have to do. I have appointments and responsibilities, all which require prior bathing, teeth brushing, and foundation wear, dammit. If she ain’t ready on time, Mommy may start to be known as the woman with the special funk about her. I prefer to be hip and funkaay, not bag-lady ripe.

Does she get to do that? Well, obviously, YES. Will she do it again next week? I’m thinking, not so much. (Not holding my breath though.)

Cuz you know what she did for the hour she had to stay home, while I got my work done before my 9:15 appointment (and could CONVENIENTLY drop her at school on the way)?

I had her write sentences:

I will be ready on time. I will use my checklist. I will not fuck up Mommy’s morning schedule anymore. (Okay, I only thought that one!)

She had to give up her playground time and the fun morning part of school for this? Sucked for her. Sucked for me.

Big Picture Parenting. I’d rather be watching Big Love.

#I will stick to my guns. #I will stick to my guns. #I will stick to my guns.


  1. Oh yes, for sure, Trademark that! Big Picture Parenting. I love it and think it should be the name of your first self help book. I can't wait for my copy...

  2. Awesome post! You are not being unreasonable. Her having to wait is a natural consequence for not having been ready on time. It is completely appropriate that she had to wait for you to be available to drive her to school. That it was inconvenient for her will to be ready on time tomorrow. (haha)

    Big picture parenting rocks! Hang in there girl. :D

  3. Sticking to your guns is a huge part of parenting. If you say there's a consequence then you have to follow through. It may take more than once but eventually she'll get the idea that she has to think of how her actions affect her and other people, and no, I don't think six is too young to start that lesson.

    Hang in there. It only gets more fun from here.

  4. Go, Girl! I've taken my boys to school in their underware before when they couldn't get dressed on time (they screamed the whole way, but then quickly maneuvered into their clothes as we approached the drop off). And when my kids say I'm mean I say "thank you."

  5. Natural consequences has got to be THE best parenting tool ever. It really forces the kids to learn how the world works and that there are real things that happen. Keep it up, mom!

  6. Oh! That poor, poor darling sweet girl! With such a horrible, mean, MEAN unreasonable mother, how can she cope! The screaming and the gnashing of teeth, I heard across the way! Ahhhh... have another martini! All's well. hic. Oh! and close that garage door!

  7. you totally rock. i love it. i have been fighting the get your ass ready for school battle forever. then all of a sudden last week my fifth grader started getting out of bed and getting dressed immediately. on his own. it freaked me out. i wish i had made it happen at the age of 6 and not 11.

    you are my hero

  8. love it! I've made my 3yo stay home from preschool cause he was grouchy and yelling... although I would have welcomed the break at the time... (I think it punishes us almost as much, but gives a strong lesson at the same time!)

    Also like the Big Picture parenting idea!

  9. Nope, missy, no reason to question yourself at all. You were dead on with that one...six is quite old enough to learn simple consequences. I have been practicing Big Picture Parenting for years but I wasn't clever enough to name it like that! Go you!

  10. With you all the way, Dee. While I don't think a 6 year old tantrum necessarily means she won't be elected to the Senate, they are perfectly able to understand rules and responsibilities and roles to play in the family.

    If it helps, you can remind her that the results of an extensive poll taken within the confines of my house show that 100% of the children surveyed agree that me and my wife are the worst parents in the world. So, at best, she has the next to worst mother in the world.


Tell me what ya think, babe!