Do You Expect More of Your Kids than of Yourself?
The sweet boy who snuggles up on my lap like a loyal cat...The happy boy who tells me I'm the best mommy in the world...The kind boy who kissed my tummy when I said I didn't feel well...That boy was the same boy who lay in front of me. He was on his side on his bed violently flailing his legs and furiously screaming, red faced, and crying.
I don't even remember what happened to set him off. I think he was mad about putting books back on the shelf. I know it was minor. I know I was shocked, appalled, and confused. Holy cow. What anti-shelving demon was possessing my lovable boy?! I stared for a moment. Then, I turned and left his room. I closed his door gently behind me.
When the shrieking subsided, I opened the door. "Sir? Are you done?" The demon was gone, and my boy was contrite. He nodded, shaking the thumb he was sucking as well. The books got put away, and I was the best mommy in the world again.
I expect my children not to throw hissy fits. I detest screaming, kicking, and demon possession as all parents do. Such outrages are embarrassing, crazy, and infuriating. However, I lose my temper some times too. One of the hardest lessons I'm still trying to learn as a parent is this: I can't have higher expectations of my children than I have of myself.
When Gray threw his epic fit, I think I handled it well. I was mad, but I kept myself together. When Nora humphed at me for taking away her dollhouse when she wouldn't share it with her brother, oh boy... I am mortified by my outburst. I pitched a fit which included throwing a three inch tall doll down the hall. It felt good to send the smiling little doll flying.
I can't expect my kids' room to be sparkling while mounds of laundry pile up and dirty dishes wait in line for their ride in the dishwasher. I can't expect them to see the joyous side of life if all I do is complain. This is not to say that I don't want my children to make better decisions than I have. I hope they grow up to be smarter, wealthier, and healthier than I am. In the meantime, however, it seems completely illogical and absurd to expect my three-year-old to never lose his temper when I lose mine.
"Do as I say and not as I do" just doesn't work. I hate their hissy fits, but I hate mine more. I'm the adult. I am going to do the best I can to be the person I want my kids to be like. When they do as I do, I want to be proud, not embarrassed.