You never know what kind of mom you're going to be until you have a baby. You can dream, idealize, and even ponder what motherhood will be like, but you cannot really know. I knew that because I had been a teacher who really believed in boundaries and discipline, I would probably want to parent that way. Because of that background, disciplining has come pretty naturally to me. I've read several books, blogs and articles on the subject and when Maddie came into the world, I felt I had a good grasp on the kind of mom I was going to be. But now she is 2 and a half; actually more like 2 and three fourths and the ways in which I think about parenting her have changed. It doesn't have to do with her age as much as it has to do with the fact that she now has a 10 month old sister in the mix (Happy 10 month birthday to Grace yesterday!). You see, we had one of those mornings. You know the type. Where it feels like the day has been sooooooo long and you look to see that it's only 8:14am. Where you wish that coffee were injectable because it would be a fast shot of caffeine to your system. Where the only toy that each wants is the one the other was playing with so happily before it was snatched out of their hands. That's the day I'm speaking of. This morning we had an incident. The short version is that Maddie was annoyed (her fav mood these days) at Grace for following her up the stairs. Grace was on the 4th step, Maddie was at the top telling me to "get Gracie Mommy." As I was walking to get Grace, Maddie came bouncing down the stairs, placed her hand squarely on Grace's forehead and with a small amount of force proceeded to push Grace down the stairs. First things first. Grace was fine. Didn't even cry, landed rather Gracefully (excuse the pun) and was content to be in my arms. Maddie looked shocked, and fearful at the same time. Me? My blood was boiling. If you are a mom, you know the feeling. My first instinct was to put her in a time out, in her crib, in her room with the door closed. So, that's what I did. Let's just say that I put her in her crib with a little bit of force (was trying to be unemotional but felt very EMOTIONAL). I then went to call Gabe. I asked him what to do. I told him that even though we have chosen not to spank our kids, this was one of those times where I thought a spanking was in order. We agreed on her punishment (left her in there for a while, had her apologize to Grace, kept her nigh-nigh from her for a while until she could treat her sister nicely) and I calmed down. It was that mother bear instinct that came up. The one where you protect your young from anything...even your other young.
The point here is that before I was a mom of course I thought about spanking. Would I do it? It had been done to me and I turned out fine. Was there another way to discipline? Etc. I've come to believe that not only is motherhood/parenting individual, it's also fluid. It can change depending on the circumstances. I have to say that I'm proud that I didn't spank Maddie today. There I was trying to teach her to love, to be kind and gentle to her sister; how would that translate if I taught her that by hitting her? Doesn't make sense. So, in all the reason I kept my head was because of God and because of the fact that I've given this some thought ahead of time. I'm grateful that no one was hurt this morning (both physically or emotionally). Motherhood is tricky, but if you do your best I believe there will be great rewards.