The other day I asked my son to clean up his toys so that we could get to school on time. He said “but I can’t do that by myself!” And I replied- “of course you can, give it a try!” His reply? “Mom, you know I’m just a kid, right?” Ha- as if I could forget. I live and breath KID. My every waking moment is dedicated to kid stuff. Even if I’m working, or with friends or out on “date night” with my husband, I’m still thinking about the kids, or feeling guilty about not being with them. But that’s OK… I’m not going to turn this post into a complaint about how hard motherhood is. That’s not my point (at least not today). Hmm… what is the point? I’m not quite sure. I probably should be complaining- I just got back from the grocery store with both kids in tow, and as usual it was an hour long mental tug of war (me against them, my shopping list vs their wants). And, of course I left missing two of things I wanted (needed) to get the most. But, really- is that such a big deal? Not at all. So many people out there are struggling with so much. And me? Well, geesh- I have a comfortable home, a loving husband, beautiful kids, a successful business and most of my sanity. Life is good! The problem is I DO forget that sometimes. There are days when I get frustrated and I yell, and I sound mean. I don’t like it- and as soon as the words come out of my mouth I wish I could grab them and stuff them back in. My daughter is 8 now, and I feel like I need to be extra careful with what I say to her. I seem to recall almost all of the mean or hurtful things my own mother said to me while I was young and none of the nice, encouraging, loving ones. And 8 is a delicate age- EVERYTHING is a big deal, everything happens with a tinge of drama. I can tell my girl is struggling a bit to figure out who she is, and yelling and losing patience with her certainly isn’t going to help matters. How do I curb my frustration (which really only stems from trying to do my best to make sure she and her brother grow up to be happy and well adjusted) and guide her to become the compassionate, kind, smart, strong, charitable, polite wonderwoman that I know she can be? Ah! By being that person myself.
Yes, they are just kids, that’s true. I need to recognize that and NOT treat them like little adults, or expect them to act like ones. I’m not saying they can’t clean up their toys, or help out around the house, or practice using good manners. In fact those are things that kids are expected to do (at least in my world). But, should I get frustrated when it takes too long to tie shoes or put on jackets? Or when my son has a total and complete meltdown because he can’t find the lego toy he was playing with two seconds ago (that happens to be right behind him)? Or one (or both of them) won’t eat a meal that they devoured – and claimed to be the best food ever- just last week? Or what about the spilled milk? Or maybe when they hover over me (as I type a post about being a mom for example) waiting for me to pay attention to them because 15 minutes away is too much to ask? Uh uh. No sir. I really want to try to reserve my anger for the really big things- rule breakers. Because maybe, just maybe I’ve been so concerned about them being respectful to me that I haven’t been that respectful to them. And, by that I don’t mean being more lenient, or letting them rule the house, or do as they please. I simply mean maybe I should be taking time to really listen to them – with both ears tuned in and both eyes focused on them, and to really understand what they are saying or doing. It’s hard and confusing to be a kid- I’m not so old that I don’t remember that. I just need to be reminded a teensy tiny bit.