Mothering Mischief on my phone

By now, you know I love my mothering mischief.  Yesterday’s post on how thankful I am for my phone inspired a confession.

I have some of the worst photos of my kids on my phone!

It’s not that I’m a bad photographer, honest.  I can actually take some great photos when I need to.  (I can also take some really bad ones, but everyone does that).

No, these photos are the results of some mothering mischief.

how to end a tantrum

My kids hate this brand of mothering mischief.

(that tells me it’s working)

I capture them at their worst. When they start throwing a temper tantrum, when they’re being sassy, when they are being strong willed and have run up against brick-wall-mommy… that’s when I catch them.

I quietly pull out my phone and switch on the camera.

Sometimes it’s still photos, sometimes it’s videos. There’s no criteria for what I use when, it’s more a question of what mode my phone is in when I turn it on.

(There are no photos of my kids in this post.  It’s not the kind of photo I want their future friends to find on the internet.  No teen deserves that. It’s part of what I won’t post.)

The first time was the worst.

The first time I did this with each child, they had NO IDEA I was using the camera.  I let the tantrum run it’s course.

When he was done and we were reconciling, I had the child sit in my lap and watch the video.  He was uncomfortable watching it.  Then my husband got home.

Me:  Son, I want you to sit with daddy and watch that video again.  You can explain to him what you were doing.

Child:  NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

He would have given anything for my husband to not look at that video.  But they watched it, together.  They had a quiet discussion about what had happened, including the consequences I had already given out.  (I had banned sugar for 48 hours in addition to being at Pink TV.)

The first time almost backfired.

After my humbled strong willed child went to bed, my husband wanted to watch the video with me.

Him:  I wanted to give you a few pointers.  You really need to listen to YOUR tone of voice in that video.

Me:  NOOOOOOO!!!!!

We did watch it, and he was right.   I made the changes he suggested and the next battle of wills was easier for me to manage (and over sooner).

(In full disclosure, I confess I pouted.  Initially, my husband’s gentle suggestion went over like a ton of bricks.  Since then, I’ve been able to listen with an open heart.)

Mother Mischief gets better with repetition.

how to end a tantrumI remember to pull my phone out and take photos or videos about half the time my kids are having a temper tantrum.  At this point, just pulling out my phone puts an immediate stop to many tantrums.

My kids don’t want me to capture them at their worst, and I respect that.  Since all I really want is for them to return to reasonable behavior (and end the tantrum) I don’t HAVE to have photo evidence.

Sometimes, they ham it up for the camera.  When they do that, they generally get so outrageous that everyone starts laughing.  Again, I’m ok with that.  All I want is to resolve things with my kids – peacefully.

Occasionally, I still get actual mid-tantrum videos and photos.

Child:  No, not the camera!

(Silence from me as I turn the phone on, ignoring the protest)

Child: I wasn’t done yet.  Don’t take photos!  Don’t tell daddy!

(silence as i video their antics)

Child: No!  Don’t make me watch this later.  I don’t want to see it…..

Me:  Then stop.

Normally, that’s enough.

how to end a tantrum quickly

Mothering Mischief works both ways.

I have a confession.  Sometimes, I turn the video on because I know I’m on the edge.  Something about knowing the camera is picking up MY voice as it records calms me back down.  I regain control because I don’t want to have to show the video to my husband.

I know exactly how my kids feel in that respect.

And since my kids have cameras on some of their devices, it’s only a matter of time until they video me when I’m ranting about the laundry pile.

That will NOT be fun.  But until then,

It’s just a little mothering mischief.

mothering mischief

Because I’m the mom, and I can.

What mischief have YOU been up to this week?

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Wow, Susan! That’s a great idea. I need to try that with my granddaughter. She’s starting to throw some pretty intense tantrums and seeing herself in action might be good for her.

    As far as monitoring yourself and your response, that’s a great strategy, too. I wish I’d had an iPhone back when my kids were little. I could have benefited from this technique – if I had thought to do it. I’m impressed.
    Patty recently posted..10 Tips For a Successful Grocery Store TripMy Profile

    • Patty, I’ve had friends try this in real life. A few of them felt that the initial attempt actually made the tantrum worse because the child was being dramatic. After several critiques of their performance, it did work. You’ve been warned.

      It’s worth a try with your grand-daughter, particularly if her mom buys in. Let me know how it works.

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