Warning…this is a really long post! If you don’t have the time to hear my totally hilarious story about the first time I found a bat in my house–yes, there have been multiple times–then click here to jump ahead to why this is relevant for you as the parent of a stubborn, argumentative child. Later, after a stressful encounter with your stubborn kid, you may want to return to read this story for a good laugh and a self-esteem booster as you learn about my epic failures in bat catching!
What the? What is that? Is that a bird?
No…is that a bat? That’s a bat! That’s a bat…in my house!
These are the exact words that interrupted one relaxing Friday evening on the couch with a pint of ice cream—don’t judge!—and a Blue Bloods binge watching session on Netflix.
At first, I thought I was going crazy. “There’s no way there’s a bat in here” I thought to myself as I looked at that suspicious swooping shadow. With Frank and Danny Reagan’s faces as my only guide, I looked up, hiding underneath my blanket and peeking out when I thought it was safe (because that’s what almost-30-year-old’s do when faced with a challenge!).
Yep…that’s definitely a bat!
The windows haven’t been open in 5+ hours. There’s been a bat in my house for 5 hours and I’m just now seeing it. Holy crap!
I panicked, but not enough to forget to grab my pint of ice cream! I’d hate to see it ruined by bat poop (what I now know as guano thanks to Ace Ventura) or melting into a puddle while I figured out how to safely get myself outside!
With ice cream, cell phone and protective blanky in hand, I dove to the floor. With my logic, I was less likely to get hit by a swooping bat if I awkwardly hobbled across the floor. In hindsight, maybe I should have left my ice cream spoon and instead turn the light on so that I could have seen where my enemy was swooping!
But I didn’t.
After safely securing my ice cream back in the freezer, I turned to see…
“Oh my gosh! He almost hit my face!”
Back to the ground I went. Hobbling over to the patio door. I opened it and called out for the bat.
Like an idiot I said, “Oh bat. Come here batty bat. Come her buddy!”
There are two issues with this.
The bat is a bat. I know it’s a bat. Everyone knows it’s a bat. But the bat DOES not know it’s a bat! I could have said anything, made any sound in the whole wide world and it would have probably attracted the bat’s attention. But I chose to actually call it a bat and expected some sort of great reaction from it.
Like the bat’s going to say to itself…”Hmm…I wonder how I get out of here? Oh, I hear someone calling out my species…I better listen to her! (actually, if we’re going to get technical here, really I’m calling out the bat’s Order according to animal classification, but I don’t think the bat cares about that all that much).
Let me just say…
“Be careful what you wish for!”
I called out for Mr. Bat. And oh did he listen!
Swoop! Swoop! Swoop!
He was flying in a circle in the kitchen, paying me a visit each time he made his rounds!
By this point, I was cowering like a toddler who clutches to her mommy’s leg in the corner, peeking out just in time to see him swoop towards my face. I’d scream, hide, and as soon as I peeked out again, there he was.
My dogs—who by the way are terrified by plastic bags, babies in strollers and leaves blowing in the wind—had not even noticed the bat in the house, not even warned me that it could have been there, and hadn’t reacted at all to the site of a swooping bat in their faces.
When I opened the patio door for the bat to escape, they leisurely walked out, abandoning me to what I could only have guessed was going to be a slow, painful death.
This swoop, hide, swoop, hide, swoop, hide pattern wasn’t working for me. It was time to make my escape!
After a few swoops, I barrel rolled out the patio door and stared inside.
Where was the bat?
Where’d he go?
Is he hiding?
Did he escape?
Am I still alive?
My dogs looked at me like I was crazy. This was the most eventful Friday night they’d had in a while, so I don’t think they were too upset about it.
Then, I did what any other almost-30-year-old grown up would do…
I called my mommy!
“Uh, hey mom. Um, do you remember that time that we had a bird in our old house?”
“Ha. Yeah. Why?”
“Oh, um, I was just wondering how dad got it out of the house.”
Awkward pause while my mom asks my dad the most random question at 10:35 on a Friday night.
“He grabbed it and took it out…Why?”
Before she finishes her sentence I scream, “I can’t do that!”
“Do you have a bird in your house?”
“Well, I hope it’s a bird, but I’m pretty sure it’s a bat!” I explain, obviously trembling with fear over the presence of a disease-filled flying animal who swoops in my face any time I attempt to look at it!
As is pretty typical for my mom, the second she finds out that I’m in distress she comes running. “We’ll be right there!” she assures me.
I look around outside. What an idiot I must look like!
I’m standing outside on my deck with my patio door wide open. I’m staring inside, as if waiting for something to pop out at me like a zombie in a haunted house. And what’s worse is that I’m calling out to this said Zombie like it’s my pet, with sweet words of desperation to get it to just listen to me! (sounds shockingly similar to what it’ like to be a mom sometimes!)
“Flashlights” I say to myself. “I need flashlights.” So, I venture my way back into the house, heading straight for the basement, my dogs in tow. “You’ll be safe down here” I tell them. They look at me, wondering what exactly they are being kept safe from because right now, it seems like I’m the one who might need to be kept safe. Like loony bin-level safety!
While I’m gathering the flashlights, my phone rings. I jump out of my skin. You know, because maybe it’s the bat calling to tell me that he knows where I’m at.
It’s my mom again. And she has some advice.
“Google says that birds and bats will fly in a circle because they’re looking for an escape. So just go open all of your doors and windows so that it can get out.”
“Yeah…that’s not gonna happen, mom!”
First of all, it is dark in my entire house. There is no way that I’m going to venture into each room and open those windows. I have no idea where this dang bat is at this point! I don’t want it popping out at me in the dark, and I definitely don’t want to give it access to certain areas of the house that it’s already blocked off from.
Second of all, I live in a very old neighborhood with many trees and bats fly around after dark. I think that if I follow that advice, I’ll have more than just one bat in my house! That piece of advice seems to have more consequences for me than the bat, and I don’t really think that’s fair! (Once again, this sounds very similar to what it’s like to be a parent these days with discipline techniques that seem to punish you!)
But don’t worry, like every other well-intentioned advice giver, my mom has more advice.
“Google also says that Tupperware works well. Just get the bat inside the Tupperware and take it outside.”
“Yeah that’s not gonna happen either!”
“Ugh. Ok. Just have some Tupperware ready for us when we get there.”
I venture upstairs into the danger zone again, leaving my dogs downstairs so that they don’t get hurt by the bat that they have yet to see or react to in any way. I basically army crawl across the floor looking like a Babushka in search for some Tupperware.
I silently curse my husband’s name for eating healthy this week, thus using my best Tupperware bowl with lid for his salads, still in the refrigerator!
I find what I think is the next best thing: a large pot with a lid. I slide outside, saying a little prayer for my dogs’ safety in the basement.
My family arrives. My brother, who I previously judged for being afraid of birds and basically all swooping animals, refuses to come near the house. I don’t blame him. And I wonder why I ever judged him for his seemingly unnatural fear of sparrows and chickens.
Yeah, he hates chickens, but I don’t have time to get into that…
Meanwhile, I’m still looking like a Babushka on the deck, but I’ve added a head flashlight, so now I look like a Babushka miner. Pretty sweet! Ahem…ridiculous!
Naturally, we all abandon my dad while he searches the danger zone and we safely hide outside. I feel bad. But not bad enough to help.
After about 20 minutes of searching, we find the truth. There’s no bat inside the house.
In all of my barrel rolling glory, I must have missed it when the bat flew out of the house!
Or, I imagined it, which is unlikely. It’s possible, but I don’t think that type of hallucination is possible without drugs. So unless somebody spiked my ice cream, that wasn’t the case!
So at this point you’re probably thinking, “Uh, Emily, what does this have to do with children?”
Right. I’m getting to that.
Why Does This Matter to Busy Moms of Stubborn Kids?
I had a problem. My problem was that I had a bat in the house.
I needed a solution. Google offered a variety of solutions, including:
- Opening the doors and windows to let the bat escape, thus putting me in danger of more swooping from said bat, and the potential to add additional swoopers to my problem. Next!
- Trapping the bird in Tupperware (well, a pot with a lid in my case) and carrying it out of the house, once again putting me in danger of more swooping and taking away my hands’ ability to hold my blanky over my head! Next!
Google’s solutions sucked!
It didn’t matter to me how many people had used these solutions. They weren’t right for me. I wasn’t equipped with the skills to do either of these suggestions that Google offered. Even though it wasn’t working for me, I really just wanted to hide under my blanky!
I was terrified. My terror affected my ability to do what I knew I needed to do. No matter how many times my mom tried to tell me that this is what I needed to do, I was paralyzed by my fear of the swooping bat (who still haunts me while I sleep!) and there was no way that I was going to accomplish it.
Sometimes Google offers us some parenting advice that simply doesn’t work!
Sure, it might be research-backed, with plenty of evidence to suggest its efficacy and its short and long-term impact on the child. But it doesn’t work for you for any variety of reasons.
You don’t believe in it.
It’s not the right fit for your child.
It’s not the right fit for the situation you’re in.
Or—like me—you don’t have the energy, the bravery or the patience to do what it asks, and there’s no way it’s ever going to happen no matter how great of an idea it is!
You’ve been there, right? We all have.
We aren’t ON 100% of the time…we can’t be. It’s impossible for us to implement those parenting techniques—or bat-catching techniques—flawlessly under any and all circumstances.It's impossible for us to implement those parenting techniques flawlessly under any and all circumstances. Click To Tweet
There is no one magical technique that’s going to help you to get your kids to listen to you 100% of the time, especially if you have a stubborn, argumentative and persistent child who has a real strength for testing your limits.
That’s why I don’t just have one special go-to technique when kids aren’t listening, because I know that there will be times that:
And I will get totally frustrated!
I couldn’t just have one technique to fall back on because if I did, I knew that I’d fail more times than I’d succeed. So I had to have an arsenal of techniques that would help me survive those stressful moments and still achieve the end result I wanted (for the well-being of the kid and for me).
The Busy Mom’s 9-Step Guide to Raising Kids Who Actually Want to Listen
You see, after I worked for a few years with kids who were defiant, aggressive, disrespectful and sometimes dangerous to themselves and to me, I learned that I had to have a set of techniques to use to help us all survive (sometimes that word should be taken very literally!) the situation.
I had to develop a set of tricks that I could use in a variety of situations, when I had a lot of patience or not so much patience, when I had an abundance of energy or depleted energy, and even with or without an audience to judge my every move.
I couldn’t just use one technique because—like we all know—as soon as I found that one technique that worked, suddenly that technique would lose its effect and would stop working so I was back to the drawing board.
Can these tricks that changed my life in my work with stubborn and argumentative kids be a life changer for you too?
Have you ever said…
- I’ve tried everything, but nothing works to get my kid to just listen to me!
- Every time I find something that works to get him to listen, he stops caring about it and now I have to find something new!
- Why won’t she just listen to me? Am I doing something wrong?
- How many times do I have to tell you to…?!
Do you ever feel…
- Powerless, because nothing you say motivates (OK, we can even say scares) him into wanting to listen to you?
- Invisible, because your kid acts like you aren’t there whenever you’re asking her to do something?
- Like you’re on mute, because your kid doesn’t listen or respond to a word you say?
- Like you want to pull your hair out because you can’t take one more day of constant arguing with your stubborn kid?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then The Busy Mom’s 9-Step Guide to Raising Kids Who Actually Want to Listen can help you.
Enter your information below and I’ll send you the guide that helped me to go from wanting to tear my hair out during almost every interaction with these kids to enjoying and relishing the time that I have with them.