Bribes and Threats – MWOB Style

This pic over here is Kathy who is giving blogging a whirl today at MWOB. I met Kathy (not to be confused with my old friend Kath who has graced this site twice before), through my old college roomies, Ames and Steph, and they’ve known her since elementary school. Kathy is another true-blue mom without a blog and I’m beyond thrilled she’s throwing her hat in the ring.

I love starting the week with a guest post. It grounds me to one of the main reasons I even started this venture – to encourage other non-writing moms (like me) to find their voice by writing and sharing their stories. I’ve been told by my previous guest bloggers that they found the experience to be a tad bit frightening but to also be exciting, cathartic and rewarding. And I say right on to that. 

Kathy is a So Cal chick who left the magical ocean breezes of North County San Diego for lots of open land and the soothing nature of rural New Hampshire. Her husband is an East Coast dude and a bunch of circumstances inspired their move. Kathy lives in a real life log cabin where she and her man are raising their two kids, Justin, 6, and Dallas, 4, seven horses, two dogs and four cats.   

Along with being a kick-ass, cool mom, Kathy works as a physical therapist part-time, organizes major fundraising walks for breast cancer, takes pictures of ice storms and dreams of her next warm-weather vacation with her best girlfriends.

Without further ado, here’s Kathy. 
(And make sure to leave her some MWOBBY comment love.  You remember what the first time felt like, don’t ya?)  



So, I notoriously do not keep resolutions. Exercising consistently, not biting my fingernails, eating more fruit. I can’t last a week. But this year I resolved to threaten and/or bribe my children less.

I lasted 30 minutes.

I am the mom of two children, 4 and 6, who really are sweet and genuinely good children. I came to the realization over the Holidays, which is another story in and of itself …(Think Ice Storm 2008 in New Hampshire. No power for 11 days, transplanting to a small apartment and not getting power back until Christmas Eve)…that my primary method of persuasion is through threats and bribes. And sure, we all do this, but I believe I might be somewhat pathologic in this arena of parenting. 

On a given morning, I will threaten our way through breakfast, bribe our way into day clothes and entice our way into the car. I used to ask my kids to do something, and let them have a chance, and then break out the old  “OK, cartoon off until…”
Now, I think I just go right into, “If you don’t…then you…”

But here is ultimately the problem.  Depending on the day, the same task can reap a reward or incur a penalty. In fact I am sure that I have said the following verbatim, and I think in the same week.

“Pick your toys up off the stairs and bring them to the play room or no Phineas and Ferb”.

“Pick your toys up off the stairs and bring them to the play room and you can get a toy at the Popcorn store.” (which is what we call Target for obvious reasons)

I mean, really, what is a child to take away from that? 

So sure enough early January, I simply asked my kids “Please pick up your toys off the stairs and bring them to the play room.”

And shockingly…nothing happened

Why would it?  They were waiting to see if they would get a toy out of it or I would issue some powerless threat that rarely comes to fruition. I can only imagine when they get older they will be waiting it out to see if homework comes with rewards.

So, I will continue to try and instill a work ethic in my children and teach them that there are just some responsibilities that come with life.. but until then I am seriously going to try to use the word “IF” less.

Wish me luck.

P.S.  And just in case, you’re not sure if the 2008 New Hampshire Ice Storm really happened, here’s visual proof taken right on our property.

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