Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Over a month ago I threatened my 5 kids that still live at home (I have 8 total) that unless they cleaned their rooms and the upstairs hall we would NOT get a Christmas Tree. The younger 3 girls replied ‘we don’t care—we are getting a tree at Dad’s!’
Now, I have stuck to my guns, yet am crying inside …. I need a tree!
Welcome to Threat Regret. Threat Regret occurs almost immediately after you’ve issued a threat that you know you cannot carry out or the carrying out of which will punish you more than the kids.
Every parent there has experienced Threat Regret. Even me.
Last week I told my kids that if they didn’t fold their laundry by the time I counted to three–ok, ten (thousand)–they wouldn’t be allowed to watch TV and the Good Lord in Heaven help me, I was going to cancel the trip to see their grandparents for Christmas, no matter how much I’d hate missing out on holiday air travel.
Then I had to take it back. Stupid adulthood.
I had to say things like “sometimes, mommy gets very angry and says things that she shouldn’t. What mommy should have done is taken a deep cleansing breath and thought of a better consequence for your self-centered and lazy behavior. Mommy will think of that consequence now and also will start speaking in the first person.”
Then I’d sit around pensively while the kids wondered what I was up to. (Spoiler alert: I was sitting wondering how long I had to sit around looking pensive.)
The point is, if you’re experiencing Threat Regret, admit to making a mistake. I hear it makes children see their parents as humans and not just god-like creatures.
Get the tree and enjoy it.
Or get the tree and insist that it’s yours only. Any time you see one of the kids looking at the tree and enjoying it, yell “avert eyes! avert eyes until your room and upstairs are cleansed!”
And have the kids sweep up the needles.