Something has changed in me. I'm just not as bothered anymore by the mistakes of my children. It's weird. No they are not perfect, nor am I perfect. I do feel I havea firmer grasp on a couple of principles with regards to parenting though.
1) In Nephi 8:12 it says that Lehi "preached unto them," "exorted them to obey," and then "ceased from speaking." I'm sure I've said this here already, but I really do talk too much at or to my children. I've been working on teaching once, instructing them to obey, and then no more talking!
2) To help with the no talking we all discussed together what the one consequence would be for minor misdemeanors in our home. The consensus: run across the park and back. It's simple. The kids love it and hate it all at the same time. Sometimes they will ask, "Can I run across the park?" Sure. Why not. ???
3) Staying calm works! Oh. My. Goodness. I've been re-reading The Peacegiver for a class I've been attending and this helps tremendously with the concept of staying calm. There are two aspects to this principle...a) don't take their choices personally, and b) forgive in the moment. I think I get caught up in the self-talk of "they just don't respect me enough" or "why won't they learn?" These type of thoughts lead to impatience and frustration with my kids. When I can look at them and say, "Go run" without getting emotionally pent up inside, it just works so much better. Are they happier? Maybe not in the moment, but in the end it works for all of us if MOM stays calm. I've noticed the most change in one particular child who reflects and magifies my own weaknesses and behaviors!
4) Just love them! I've gotten this same response from several people through the years. It's a response that has litearlly caused me to roll my eyes with the "Yeah, right?" kind of attitude (I hate to admit that). Recently, I heard it one more time and yet this time it really struck a chord. After about a month, I can say that this answer is truly working (with the help of the three ideas mentioned before)!
All children want to feel is accepted, loved and important. I want my children to know and FEEL that I love them. Telling them is one way. But speaking those words is so much easier for me than showing them. When I express anger, frustration, and impatience with their imperfections I'm not showing them the way to "love one another and to serve one another."