Mom guilt is the best / by Lisa Robinson-Howeler

magnify glass Lisa R. Howeler

I totally pulled the grandma-wouldn't-want-you-to-do that card this week.

Totally.

Little Miss is in a mean phase.

At least I hope it's a phase.

When she wants to sit somewhere her brother is sitting she shoves him until he moves. When she wants what her brother has she takes it.  When she wants to play with his Legos she tries to shove him out of the way so she can stand at his Lego table.

She doesn't do this with other children. Only her brother. 

He's eight years older than her. She doesn't care. The age gap doesn't intimidate her.

She is a bully.

I've been reading articles and wracking my brain how to teach her not to be mean. So far it's been time outs and long talks asking her how she'd feel if her brother was mean to her instead.

But the other night I changed my strategy, one my own mother has been grooming me for since I was born.

I used mother guilt.

I knew it would all be worth it one day.

My son was hugging me at bedtime, laying across me, and his sister didn't want him to hug me so she stuck her toes in his armpits and pushed hard with her foot, trying to dislodge him.

That's when brilliance struck. I felt very proud of myself when I said:  "Oh my, this would make Grandma so sad. She thinks you are just the sweetest little girl and if she saw you being mean to your brother she would be so disappointed and so sad."

She continued to push but was watching me and I could tell she was thinking.

 "She would. She says you're so sweet and your brother loves you...she'd just be upset."

 "Grandma? She'd be upset?" She asked. Her legs weren't pushing as hard now. "With me?"

 "Sad, yes," I said. "Not mad, but very disappointed and sad."

She took her toes out of his armpits and lowered her legs.

"Oh my! Grandma would be upset at me! She'd be sad!"

She turned to her brother.

"Grandma is upset at me! She sad!"

The mother guilt was getting a little out of hand so I reassured her Grandma would be happy now because she had stopped being mean to her brother.

"Oh. Okay."  She said, hesitantly relieved. 

I'm quite pleased my tactic worked.

For now.

I may not be as happy when the therapy bills start coming in though.

However, none of my therapy bills were related to my mom's superior mom guilt so I think it will be okay.