In the morning when I get up, I stay in my room for a few extra minutes to soak up every minute of silence that I can get. Sometimes while the baby is eating I will meditate. This is necessary preparation. If I do not prepare I will surely fail in my task to be a peaceful mommy. My bedroom and the adjoining office is what I call the sanctuary. It is very peaceful as it is usually quiet in the morning. It is very peaceful. There is nothing demanding my attention there and I can take a few minutes for myself before I start my day.
I do this preparation daily to prepare for the awakening of my oldest daughter, J and her little sister R. J is a whirlwind of constant moving and constant talking. She is also bright and inquisitive. From the moment I come out of my room it is much like being a one-woman trivia team and a cheering section. There are a million topics covered from awakening to sleep and some days my brain goes into shut-down mode. I want to stay focused and give the right answers. I want J to be happy. There are days it is hard to keep up especially when there is a for month old who doesn’t sleep well that needs you too. Don’t get me wrong, I think J is going places. She is determined to be rich and famous some day and I believe she will. She feels that she is the best, brightest, prettiest and smartest out of anyone. She definitely didn’t lack self esteem but believe me, I am also trying to teach humility…we are moving slowly into developing an understanding of that word. Ha!
Lately J has been doing things that will not make her the most popular kid on the block. I have warned, but not been heeded. Do you ever feel as a mom that you are nagging and nagging but there is no response…so then you bag more? I try to tell her that friends don’t like you putting them in head locks. They don’t like being manipulated, bullied and guilted into giving up their belongings. They don’t really care for being knocked down and they also don’t tend to care for the class tattle tail. My coaching doesn’t do much good. In the moment it can be frustrating but I really don’t think it is from her not listening. I think that deep down her personality is just wired to want to be in charge of everything, people included and she hasn’t grown into her personality yet. It is hard to remember that when I’ve said the same things over and over again to no avail. It is hard not to get frustrated and launch into a nag session when I feel like we are having the same problem that I just coached her on. Here’s an example:
So the other night she developed a magic cough at bedtime. When I went to tuck her in, I asked her why she was fake coughing. She shook her head and asked how I knew these things. As she asked this her eyes were filled with wondering amazement like I just had a genie fly out of my butt. I told her that I just know these things. She responded to that by coughing half-heartedly a couple more times and she said she was sick. I finally grinned at her and told her she was full of crap. She hesitates for a second and exclaimed, “No I’m not! I just went to the bathroom and got rid of it all!”
Trying to hold in my laughter, I tucked her in and as I was closing the door I could swear that she muttered something about kids being mean to her at school. I guess the good mom in me must be really tired as hell because I didn’t even have the strength to turn back and get into the why kids are mean drama. The next morning, however, I mentioned again that we have to treat friends nicely for them to return the favor. I reminded her that if people are being physically mean she needs to tell the teacher. I have tried and tried to tell her how certain behaviors will alienate people, but she is who she is.
So what is left to do when talking isn’t working?
I guess as her mom it is my job to teach her what behaviors might cause her problems in the future and to try to guide her toward opportunities for growth. I should try to help her find the best environments that will enhance the best of what her personality has to offer. I am just trying to help her navigate through the world of growing up. It is hard to explain that friendships should be built on give and take and should never be built on only take. It is also hard to explain why we shouldn’t pay our friends to give us back rubs and why people don’t like to be bossed. Especially when these behaviors, bossing and negotiating, might be useful in the business world. If I crush those tendencies now, who knows how it will affect her future. If I try to crush the key facets of her personality and not let her grow into them, she might end up as an adult not know what or who she is. All she might know is who I expect her to be. Since most days, her personality type is so very different from my own, I do not always handle things the best. As a person, I am very giving and think of the other person first and foremost, so self-serving and self-absorbed personality traits drive me up the walls. It is hitting me the last few days that I cannot change who she is as a person. I am convinced that children’s personalities come hard-wired. We can’t change that. I can only model the behaviors that I would like her to exhibit and provide guidance where needed. I can only be who I am as a person and take her along with me. Children do watch us and incorporate pieces of who we are into their personality. I want what I model to enhance her personality. I want to make sure that she takes the best of me. As a teenager and young adult, I do not want my children to mirror the worst aspects of my personality!
I am not perfect, and sometimes I yell despite my best intentions to be a positive parent. I roll my eyes sometimes. And sometimes I can feel the disgusted look creep across my face at certain behaviors. Are these the facets of my personality that I want my daughter to copy and use later in life? No. So there is only one thing I can do. I need to do everything that I can to try to change the behaviors that I don’t want to see her use later. I, personally, will have to try harder to model the parts of my personality that I want her to adopt.
What about you? Are you modelling the best of your personality? Or are you modelling your anger, frustration, lack of patience every day? I know I have been modeling the bad and I intend to do better because…
Our children really are watching us…
These are the eyes of my two children…I put them together to remind me that they are always watching? What are they seeing?