Last week was kind of rough. The kids and I were sick. We had to cancel a few different activities, and, with the weather still cold, we were stuck in the house together all day… every day.
As we got deeper into the week, I noticed a lot of little fights breaking out. Arguments over this toy or that, someone being in someone else’s seat, or one of them not wanting to watch a certain show. Inconsequential issues were ruining the peace in our home.
One day we were all in the family room, and the kids started playing house. My daughter was being the mommy to her little brother, and that’s when I heard something that made my stomach drop.
What she said didn’t upset me as much as how she said it. Instead of patience and love, I heard a lot of unkindness and frustration, and I knew instantly where it came from. Me. I heard my own short, frustrated, angry tone coming out of her little mouth, and I immediately felt horrible.
That’s how she sees me? Is that how I sound to them?
I realized that I had been preaching acting with kindness, love, and respect towards others, but I’m not always doing the best job of modeling it.
I called my six year old daughter over and asked why she was speaking that way. She said she was the mommy and in charge. So I asked, with an uneasy stomach and a throat full of knots, “Do I sound like that? Do I sound mean?” She quickly said, “Yes!” as if I’d asked her if she wanted ice cream. I knew she wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings. She was telling me the truth. I can be a mean mom.
I can get stressed when we’re trying to get out the door and a shoe has mysteriously disappeared, dinner’s ready and the table hasn’t been set, another fight breaks out over something silly, or someone gets hurt because someone else was being careless.
Sometimes it just feels like I’m stuck on Groundhog’s Day. No matter how much nonsense I dealt with the day before, a new day seems to make it start it all over again. I know that with four kids a good amount of nonsense is just par for the course, but a mean mom is the last thing I want to be. I don’t want to have a, “Do as I say, not as I do” household because I know that doesn’t work. My kids are going to model how I behave and what I say so I need to be the best example they have for how to act.
This was when I realized that the best way to see exactly how our children view us is to watch them with others. Watching them play house, in particular, provides a ton of insight into how they view their family members, for better or worse.
I am happy to say that it’s not all bad. I see them modeling very sweet, caring behaviors too, but last week gave me the wake up call I needed to really work on cultivating a more caring, loving environment even in the most stressful of times.
Have you ever had this experience? Have you every gotten to see yourself through your child’s eyes or been given a wake up call about your behavior?
I am really grateful you would share this it makes me feel better! I know I too have the “mean” side when I am frustrated and it happens too often, glad to know I am not the only one making this mistake. It is true your perspective can help shape your behavior, I need to remember to view myself through my children’s eyes! I have had several wake up call moments, it is a good thing children are so forgiving!
I’m so thankful they’re forgiving! At this point I’m not sure if I should contribute to college or therapy funds! 🙂 I think it’s also helpful to remember that we’re probably doing a better job than we think. I know I can really beat myself up for my mistakes, but my kids seem to be made of teflon. A problem one minute is completely forgotten the next. I need to adopt their attitudes and relax a little.
I have found myself realizing this same thing on several occasions. I know more often then not I don’t sound like that, but I need to be making sure that its the exception not the rule. Im not perfect nor can I lie to myself and claim that I will be in the near future (lol) but I know I can try each day to be better and to try harder. Thank you so much for this post. I found you on a link party.
Thanks, Aurie. It’s heart wrenching, isn’t it? I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach when I heard my daughter. I’m trying to be more mindful of my tone and more patient in those frustrating moments.
I have seen this in my little one when she plays with her dolls. It’s not a good feeling when you see yourself through their eyes. Thanks for sharing on Brag About It Link Party
Kids are the truest reflections of ourselves. It can be really hard. Sometimes my kids do things that make me feel like I’m really nailing this motherhood thing, and then there are other moments when I feel like I’m the worst human on the planet.
I really enjoyed reading this… Sometimes we just need that validation to remind us… “we are doing ok”. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Show and Tell Linky Party.
Jaimi@The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide
Great mindset and so important. I am featuring your post on Wonderful Wednesday this week. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
I think you wrote a beautifully written, powerful post. As a food blogger & a web design student, sometimes I can spend a little too much time on the computer. The other day, my son was coloring, and I heard him tell his stuffed animal to leave him alone because he was working. He didn’t say it in a mean way, in fact he was very gentle when he said it. It was still a shock to the system because I definitely don’t want my son to grow up thinking that my work is more important than he is! I think sometimes it’s hard to talk about this sort of thing because to do so is to admit our own shortcomings, but I think to recognize them is to be able to change them. Great post!
Thanks, Christine. I can relate to that! It can be hard to turn it off and step away. I’ve heard my kiddos say similar things.
Having felt like this so many times, i figured there has to be a better way – i dont want to be ‘shouty mum’. I have found a book that is proving really helpful – it’s called ‘raising our children, raising ourselves’ by Naomi Aldort. I was a bit sceptical at first – it’s quite alternative- but the basis of the ideas are really sound – just my two pennies worth though!
Thanks for the recommendation, Niki! I’ll definitely check it out.