I recognised the moment so well and took a pause because of it. My 2 boys were united, holding hands and encouraging each other as they faced the wrath of mom. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep (my baby has been getting up every hour from 3:30 on this week), or just the built up frustration of watching all their upstairs toys immigrate downstairs until the living room had been taken over, or just the general frustration of hearing them balk at the idea of cleaning up (maybe all three?). Whatever the reason, my usual tactics for managing my kids went out the window and voice raised, I had had it. I tossed every toy that didn't belong downstairs into a big pile in the middle of the room and told them it all had to be moved upstairs, ASAP or Mom would clean it up - they didn't want that to happen because who knew where the toys would end up. I'm not proud of my raised voice (let's face it, I was yelling). And no that doesn't at all line up with my theories of discipline and raising my kids. I think I freaked them out because they are not at all used to this kind of mama (crazy yelling mama). As they cleaned up, I heard it, my oldest encouraging his brother along, "It's okay, just keep cleaning up brother". And I paused. I'd lived out this moment before, only it was 1983 and I was 8 and my brother was 6. We were united too. Whatever we'd done to cause Mom to go over the edge we were paying for and we knew better. We also knew we better do whatever she said because we had definately gone to far.
Well, I'm glad I overheard that because I could relate to the other side. After the mess was cleaned up and I had them in bed for the night, I sat down in their room and apologised. They apologised too. We talked about it and became 'friends again'. After story they settled into sleep. I went downstairs and thought it over. Although it isn't great that I let that happen, I had to come up with a plan to make sure it doesn't happen. What was my part in that? Sure the toys had been piling up, but wasn't I the one who let it? Why didn't I enforce clean up before it got to that point? Sure the baby has been waking up nights, but why haven't I maintained a manditory house resting time so I can catch up a bit? Hmmm? Food for thought for me.