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Not The Parent I Thought I’d Be

Janet Sallis is a part of Local Pulse's Community Voices and is an expert in parenting.

I don’t know when I noticed it wasn’t working.

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But I know I hit my limit and that was the spark of change I needed. It was happening every morning, as I plodded through the routine of getting a toddler and a Kindergartener ready for school.

We would wake up, eat breakfast, and then begin the Herculean effort to take the party back upstairs to get dressed and brush our teeth. I didn’t really blame the kids. Who wants to leave their prime morning shows to put on pants? By the time we needed to leave the house for school, we were GRUMPYPANTS EXTRAORDINAIRE.

So, I gave myself permission to do what works.

In that situation, it works better for me to bring an extra toothbrush and toothpaste for each child downstairs to keep by the kitchen sink. When they brought me their dirty dish, we took a moment to brush our teeth. I also grabbed the boy’s school clothes when I got them out of bed and put the clothes on the couch. That way the kids could get dressed while watching the rest of their morning show.

This was the beginning of the revolution for me. The beginning of giving myself permission to “Do What Works” and to “Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work.”

Before I knew it, it spread to other things like our after-school routine. We opted for a snack break, followed by a YouTube break, followed by homework.

The kids took part in forming this new routine. It let them be heard and gave them ownership. And it works! Do we have our off days? Absolutely. But we keep coming back to what works.

I have a kiddo who is a mix of Tigger and the Energizer Bunny. He was destroying my couches by using them as his personal launching pads. When he used the Spiderman climbing method in the doorway to give him a better angle for launch, I knew this wasn’t working.

You want to know what works? Putting a mini trampoline in the living room, so he can bounce and jog and move to his heart’s content.

Right now, I give you permission to stop doing what doesn’t work for your family.

Start doing what works. Licensed mental health counselor KC Davis uses the phrase “morally neutral” to describe tasks or activities that we are not morally prohibited from doing or obligated to do. Lots of the spots of tension come from asking “Is this the right thing to do” because the answer becomes loaded and charged with potential shame.

When you take the approach of doing what works and can stop doing what doesn’t work, it defuses these situations. It allows your family to come together, support each other, and feel the connection of acceptance.

Janet Sallis

*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Janet Sallis is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.