Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confessions of A Guilty Teacher Mama

Warning: This is a true confession. If you don't want your opinion of me to be untarnished, DON'T read this. But the truth sets us free, and I really need to be free right now. So I'm confessing publicly all my sins, though I'll be doing so privately to a priest soon too - through the amazing Sacrament of Reconciliation! Lord, have mercy on me!

I just read this article about "Why Nagging Doesn't Work" (which I will re-post below) and realized that I have been doing A LOT more nagging than I should be.

People who read my blogs (this one and my main mommy blog) and posts on Facebook, and who see the "outer me" and my "outer life" probably think that I am a good example of how young moms should be - working at home (3x a week), homeschooling, breastfeeding, serving fulltime in a Catholic community, advocating several things, etc, etc.

Well, here is the plain, ugly truth: I fail my kids every day. I do a lot of nagging. I lose my temper A LOT - there is probably not one day that goes by that I don't find myself raising my voice to remind Tim about something. I have used physical means (yes, I am weak and "mean" like that!) to try to get Tim to listen to me especially on days when he just.won't.listen. (Of course, this method has failed miserably! Huhuhuhu)

I don't usually plan ahead for our lessons (unless deciding what we'll do for the day about 30 minutes before the kids wake up counts! haha!) I don't follow our lesson plans a lot - I usually play it by ear.

I am also guilty of being pushy, pressuring Tim to do stuff because it's part of our "lessons for the day." I sometimes fail to see that he can learn a lot more by playing with his blocks and thinking up stories as he goes than by completing worksheets.

I sometimes feel pressured by the people around me, and by my own failures - so much that I am often tempted to put Tim in a brick-and-mortar school.

I am a big procrastinator. In my eyes, I am also a big hypocrite - I don't walk my talk a lot of times, especially when it comes to being loving, patient, kind, gentle, forgiving.

As I write/confess this, my heart feels like it's breaking in two.

My kids deserve a better, more patient, more loving, kinder, more forgiving, more organized, more relaxed Teacher Mama.

My husband deserves a more loving, patient wife who ALWAYS includes him in her priorities (it shouldn't be JUST about the kids ALL the time!).

I think I'll go spend some more time in reflection and prayer now. Please pray for me too. This guilty Teacher Mama really needs it.

-- End of confession --

P.S. Here's the article on "Why Nagging Doesn't Work" in case you want to read it. This was taken from the Simply Charlotte Mason website:

“I nag them and I nag them, but it does no good.” Most of us can testify to the truth of that statement. But I never understood why nagging doesn’t work until I started to study Charlotte’s habit-training principles. Now it makes sense.
Let’s say that you’re trying to teach your child to hang up her coat when she takes it off. In order to make that action a habit, she needs to repeatedly and consciously think through the hang-up-my-coat-when-I-take-it-off neuron route. (Remember the neuron routes we talked about a couple of weeks ago?)
Now, let’s say you come into the room and trip over her coat. The easiest thing to do is to call her into the room and say, “I’ve told you before, hang up your coat when you take it off!” She obediently picks it up and hangs it in the closet, but . . . and here’s the key . . . her brain didn’t initiate the idea, so you just reinforced the wrong neuron route.
You just reinforced the do-what-mom-says-to-do neuron route. That’s a completely different route from the one you want her to mentally travel. And that explains why once we start nagging, we find that we’re always having to nag in order to make something happen. We are reinforcing the do-what-mom-says-to-do route, which means the child will constantly wait until mom says what to do!
‘I’m sure I am always telling her’––to keep her drawers neat, or to hold up her head and speak nicely, or to be quick and careful about an errand, says the poor mother, with tears in her eyes; and indeed this, of ‘always telling’ him or her is a weary process for the mother; dull, because hopeless (Vol. 2, p. 173).
So, let’s say you just came into the room and tripped over your daughter’s coat . . . again. You call your child into the room, and you say something like this: “I promised I would help you remember.” That’s all. If she still doesn’t understand, you can pointedly look at the coat on the floor. Little hints might be needed at first. But you wait until the mental lightbulb goes off in her head and that will start those neurons traveling the hang-up-my-coat-when-I-take-it-off route. Do you see the difference? She thought of it. She made the mental effort.
Yes, it might be faster to nag. Yes, it sometimes seems easier to nag. But think of the long-term effects. You will have to continue to nag whenever you want something done.
But, perhaps, even his mother does not know how unutterably dreary is this always telling,’ which produces nothing, to the child. . . . As for any impression on his character, any habit really formed, all this labour is without result (Vol. 2, p. 173).
Nagging doesn’t work. Stop nagging and start forming habits.


jadetv said...

Even I am guilty. We're not perfect moms. Being a mom in itself is not easy. But identifying our weakness is a start. Educating ourselves is another step up the ladder. Have courage. We can do this!

Truly Rich Mom aka Teacher Mama Tina said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement Mommy Jade :-) Love your blog ha :-) Getting some good ideas from it for my 2yr old ;-) We can do all things in Christ (Philippians 4:13). Godbless!

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