Something I am struggling with lately is the epiphany that I have to be the person I want my children to become. I try to demonstrate kindness, caring for others, love, patience, etc. However, more important than the kids seeing me like that with others, is me being that way with them.
Those wonderful characteristics fail me when all hell breaks loose. When every button is expertly pressed, over and over, and I loose my temper. I often wonder, if I can’t be the person I want the kids to be, does that mean I’m a horrible person? I’d like to have a quick answer that we are all imperfect and being imperfect doesn’t equate that someone is horrible. Great. Off the hook. But I don’t want to be a perfect person. I want to be a kind, loving, warm parent and there’s just a lot of times that I am not.
I am hard on myself because it’s the most important job I’ve ever had, and will ever have. I need to shift my mental priorities. Keep working, keep trying. These golden days of two young children will be over soon, and it will break my heart if I don’t surround them in the love and warmth they deserve.
Maya Angelou’s quote has resonated deeply with me and it’s sinking into my parenting a bit. I think back to my childhood memories and yes, mostly I remember a person by how they made me feel. How do I make my children feel? In thinking about parenting from that aspect, I’ve begun to change how I communicate with the kids. Not always, because my temper still can get the better of me, but overall I am improving. A little. It’s surprising how quickly we can lose sight of this. Just having an awareness for their feelings, mentally acknowledging that their heads are full of swirling emotions and some sort of logic (at least to them) will change how you approach them.
How do they feel? How do they feel? Yes, they’ll be sad when a toy breaks or they don’t get what they want. Being mindful of feelings doesn’t involve shielding children from their usual daily crises, but it absolutely creates an awareness of how I interact with them. It’s not about making your child happy or making sure they feel good, it’s communication based on a deep level of respect. How I cope with something is how they’ll cope with it later on. How I talk with them, comfort them, teach them, will turn into their very foundation. It will become their inner voice. It’s getting down to eye level and calmly talking about things. Asking questions and getting answers. Often those little people have more answers than we realize.