Every time we do anything, they are offered a choice. What TV show should we watch? What should we have for snack? To the park, or to the library? Should we take our bikes, the wagon, or walk?
Every time, three voices pick something different. If one says the park, someone else says the library, and a third wants to just stay home. One wants to bike, one wants to scooter, one wants to just stay home. One wants to have a playdate at our friends’ house, one wants the friends to come over to our house, one wants to be a hermit and see no one, ever. One wants spaghetti for snack, one wants to “help” me make muffins, one wants to think about it for another hour or so.
Do you think they do it on purpose? Are they trying to assert their personality and independence by picking the opposite of their brother and sister? Is this what sibling rivalry looks like?
I can’t get involved. To side with any one of them results in someone gloating, others sulking. Mom always picks you! Mom likes me better! Mom never gives me my way! Mom! Mom! Mom!
So I usually tell them they must sort it out amongst themselves, or we can’t do anything. Find a way for everyone to be happy, and leave me out of it. But that’s almost like siding with the one who wants to just stay home – if we can’t compromise, then “do nothing” wins. There’s no happy solution.
In the end I have to be the one who takes a stand. I’ll tell one of them they can have their way, and the others will get a turn next time – and everyone is invariably upset. Rare is the day when we can get all the way through with us all making the same choices. Forced compromises are the norm.
Why do I even bother to offer them options? I want us to be a Family Democracy, but Dictator Mommy works better for everyone. If only I had a big enough personality for that – Idi Amin I am not. I’m not even a Stephen Harper. I’m more of a Joe Clark. I just want everyone to get along. FOR ONCE.
More than anything, I need to choose to take charge. Consensus is not an option.
This post is for Brie’s series of Mommy Moments over at Capital Mom. This week’s theme was choice.