Whose Punishment is This?

I had two fairly good races this week – The Acura 5K and The Sunset Shuffle (6K) – and I didn’t have any aches or pains. This led my confident decision that I could run the Carrotfast 5k on Saturday morning. My only reason for wanting to race was pure vanity: I wanted to be able to compete in the Ontario Masters Association 5K Championship race.

Skipper and Little Ironman were excited about being able to go to another race with me and we talked about them doing the 2.5 Family Walk/Run. LI has been asking all summer to run “an adults’ race” so he was particularly keen to go.

On Friday afternoon, though, it was one thing after another with the boys. Yes, they had a late night on Thursday night and were up early the next morning so they were tired. But in our house, tired is not an excuse for poor behaviour; we don’t use excuses. I had finally had enough when I exclaimed, “One more problem from you two and we’re not going tomorrow!”

Oh, oh! I said it. That meant that I had to follow through if there was any more yelling, squabbling, or generally uncooperative behaviour. And, then it happened: a shriek from the family room.

I didn’t get angry. I didn’t yell. I simply declared, “That’s it. We’re not going to Bradford in the morning.” And I walked away.

Tears. Apologies. More tears, followed by lots and lots of promises to “behave” which were, then, followed by tough parenting. I didn’t give in.

The boys set the table, had dinner, helped tidied up and became little angels. Not once, though, did they ask me to change my mind; they knew it was made up.

But I kicked myself. In teaching, we try not to keep our cherubs in at recess because we have to stay with them, which means that we can end up feeling punished too. In the same way, on Friday night, I felt that I had punished myself. My husband asked if I was sure that I made the right decision.

“Don’t mess with me. They need to understand. I think we’d be making a mistake to take them.”

Rather than get upset about my “stupid” statement, I focussed on the positives:

1. My boys would learn their lesson.

2. I didn’t have to drag the family for an hour drive north on an early Saturday morning.

3. I could rest another day and try to run longer on Sunday during my recovery period.

And, now, almost 2 days later, the benefits are huge:

1. Skipper and Little Ironman have been on their toes all weekend as behaviour expectations have been re-established.

2. I went back to bed yesterday morning for a wonderful nap.

3. I ran 5.5 miles today without any fatigue and I’m starting to think about running longer races in the late fall – something I hadn’t really considered feasible two weeks ago.

All weekend, no one has asked when my next race is going to be.

Tough parenting. Tough love. Tough mother runner.

p.s. And, by the way, I don’t hesitate to keep in my cherubs at recess either.

One Reply to “Whose Punishment is This?”

  1. Way to stick to your guns, Cynthia!

    Your comment about keeping the cherubs in at recess also being a punishment for us made me laugh! I know what you mean!

    I teach high school so “keeping them in at recess” is what they WANT – instead I have to make sure whatever consequence I threaten a) will make a definite impact and 2) be something I can actually follow through with.

    It's not always easy, but looks like you handled it well!

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