I have a question or two for you, using this safe haven as a sounding board yet again.
The other night, after cooking for quite some time and just about to serve the adults dinner (the children had eaten already because we had guests from out of town arriving late), our oldest came with a fork and started picking out of the fruit bowl. He tried to do so discretely, to which I commented on the fact that I could see what he was doing and that he simply had to ask if he wanted more. Two seconds later, our second child came in, nonchalantly got a fork and went to the fruit bowl... Dad was right there and didn't say anything. So I admit, I overreacted a bit and said, "Enough is enough, if you guys wanted some more, you had to say so when it was dessert time, but I don't want anyone picking out of this bowl anymore. I will make you a cup if you want some, just ask!"
After I give our second child a bowl and he is off, my husband takes me aside and comments on how I should give the children warnings before I get to that level. ABSOLUTELY... but at the same time I went into my pity place, thought about the hours of labor put into the meal, about how he didn't intervene in any way, how he hasn't been with the children all day.... and so on and so forth and kept my mouth shut (particularly when you have guests over, not the best platform for discussion, right?).
Anyway, just a day later, my wonderful husband (and I do ADORE him, I'm not being sarcastic) comes home after yet another grueling day at work (granted, he has hit a rough couple of months) and starts barking at everyone in his way, "Why are the shoes here? ...No, that's not how you do it! ...The house is a dump! ...Stop being a cry-baby! ...That's because you're being a brat!" and this after we have a jar where we put money in if there is any name calling, after he told me to give warnings (I generally give 4), after he just walked in the house...
I suppose I am venting a bit, sorry. But I do have questions for you:
-I really don't believe there is such thing as constructive criticism... or at least, because of the inherent quality of "criticism", how does on not get defensive when receiving, say, "feedback"?
-What are the "tricks" you use to keep your cool when you are tired/exhausted/overwhelmed/frustrated and your temper is just shorter than it normally is?
-What strategies do you use when you see your husband/wife/partner slipping on issues you have together agreed upon previously? How do you support and encourage those behaviors (no blowing up unless given fair warning, ie, guys I'm about to explode, please help me not get there; no name calling...)?
-What about disciplining? How do you share the load where one parent doesn't always have to feel like the one reining in the children?
Thanks for letting me vent and thank you for the advice I am sure will give me much to ruminate!