Children are a wonderful masterpiece that come into this world. They’re like tiny superheroes that have to learn how to use their special powers. And we’re here to guide them through it. They watch every move we make and at any given moment can try to replicate it.
As a parent, I never know what my son is going to try or how he’s going to try to do it. The one power I wish I had is to be able to see into the future and have time to decide if I need to prevent what my child is going to do or let it play out. For instance, in public when my child asks an embarrassing question about some innocent bystander. A preview of that forthcoming would have been nice. Thus being able to cover my child’s mouth or turn his attention before having to endure the color changing humiliation on my face! Then I dreadfully await the reaction of the person my child was talking about. How I reply is everything. My child is watching. Do they look at me and have a pleasant exchange or will words be thrown? If that bystander reacts badly and insults my parenting ability and/or my child do I be the “bigger” person and walk away or do I let my protective instincts kick in and demolish that person for being so awful? I tell myself, choose wisely… your child is paying immensely close attention.
How much of me does my child actually absorb, though? How much goes in one ear and out the other? And how do I know which information is going where?
When I became a mother 7 years ago, I knew there were some bad habits I would have to ditch. Swearing was a big one. I’ve done well but let’s be honest… it’s still a work in progress. Over the years I have noticed that cussing is one of those things a lot of kids pick up on in the blink of an eye. For my son, that was not the case. He’d heard me use cuss words before and usually it would pass him by. There have been occasions where he has used one but not in the hostile manner in which most of us use them. He would say it in context but as if it were any other noun he’d learned. It was easy to explain my way out of it. I’d tell him it wasn’t an acceptable word for him to use and we would go on with our day. He would shrug it off and be like “hmm… ok”. No harm, no foul.
As patient and calm as I am, sometimes I can be super grumpy and lose my cool easily. Not on my child but on material things; like if I get the dropsies and spill cereal on the floor while trying to pour it or stub my toe on the corner of my bed. At which time I swear and grunt and grumble… And my child is watching. Of course, I apologize and tell him it was not necessary for mommy to react in such a way. But was it too late? Did he already absorb and store that entire scenario? Or did he let it fly out the window because it was nothing important? While he may not have picked up on the swearing, I fear he may have retained the temper he’s seen me let out of it’s cage.
As my son watches me, the gears in his tiny, little mind are turning, he’s wondering…
And I watch him. My gears turning and wondering…
There’s no such thing as the perfect parent so why am I always critical of myself? Should I be? Is it a good thing?
I’m not alone right?