My frustration was growing. John was making decisions that kept me his prisoner, not allowing me to do my mom work.
No intervention I was trying was working.
And I was getting mad (never a good thing).
Then I remembered something that had worked in the past: Take him with me when I do my work.
So my To Do list became his list.
John went with me: doing laundry, dishes, clearing the table, readying for tomorrow, etc.
He hated it.
He begged for HIS list.
He begged for early bed-time.
Who wants to do mom-work?
I told him if he got out of bed, he got to help me more.
I wish I could say that John never tested me again on this.
Several days later, we were going somewhere fun for him, and all he had left to do was read for 30 minutes.
He stalls on the reading, right?
I eventually realized I wanted him to do what he wouldn’t do, so he could go have fun.
And causing myself great stress about it.
He had no intrinsic motivation.
He didn’t care, but I cared for the loss of social time with other kids.
Once I stopped trying to please him, I got my peace back.
I had been co-dependent.
We started with the dishes, wiping off the table and counters, moved on to paperwork, mail and laundry.
When John ran away from me to another room, I told him he would have to earn me not holding his hand like a little baby.
Each time John ran away (of course he is going to test my boundaries), I retrieved him by the hand.
We went on the the next thing.
Slowly, relaxed, without any intervention agenda or renegotiation.
Just getting my mom work done.
The sheer boredom drove him nuts.
I would say “my list or yours?”, “how do you like my list?”, “when you do your list, then I can do my list.”
And we worked in the sinister 30 minutes of reading.
And then I put him to bed.
My disappointment wasn’t the issue, and I tried to remember that.
He made the choice.
I wonder when he will try testing me on this again.
When he does, I must love him enough to hold my ground.
He’s only going to get bigger and older.
So, maybe this can help at your home.
Peace be with us,