Last evening I came to the realization that all two enemies need in order to reach peaceful reconciliation, is a common foe over which to unite. If you’ve ever studied history or watched daytime soap operas you may have known this already. I probably did too, but what really brought it home was a pretty spectacular mommy meltdown.

Mo and Flo love each other. I know this and occasionally I even get a glimpse of it when they have a sneaky hug or kiss. But man, can those two fight. The hours between 8:30am and 4:00pm are pretty quiet around here, except for the occasional 2 year old tantrum over the “no chocolate brownies before 9am” rule. The hours before and after Mo’s school time however, are often akin to world war 3.

Mo you see, is an evil dictator who thinks that if she yells at Flo with enough force and authority, she will become her compliant servant. Flo unfortunately is a rebel, who when peaceful protest fails, is prepared to use violence to get her own way (pinching and slapping are common and once under extreme circumstances, biting was deployed – not a good day!) I’ve tried all the usual tricks. Taking turns – “why don’t we let Flo finish her turn and then you can have the bike.” Empathy – “how do you think you would feel if Mo took your favorite coloring book and colored on every page?” Nothing seems to work.

So when the arguing, which had been bubbling under the surface all the way home in the car, started 5 minutes after walking through the door last evening, I reached crack point, total red mist time and I snapped. The words “that’s it, I’ve had it,” were uttered at high volume. I’m pretty sure my face turned almost purple, I know my head felt like it was literally going to explode, there may have even been steam coming from my ears. Children were banished to separate rooms and mommy went to another room to count to a trillion, billion.

The result? A miracle, within minutes, realizing that this new enemy was even more extreme and volatile than themselves, Mo and Flo joined forces and formed a plan. They played quietly, negotiating terms for peaceful coexistence and left mommy alone until her face went back to normal.

So I guess Dr Phil is right, (who me? Watch Dr Phil? No!), to be a good parent and get your kids to behave you don’t need to be their friend, you must be their mortal enemy!

p.s. it lasted all of 30 minutes before negotiations broke down and battle once again commenced!

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