Being a mother, being a parent, has brought out the best, and the worst in me. It is amazing to think that you’ve created another living being, and oh the joy they bring, and all of the learning that you go through on this journey! And then there’s the dark side. I have never been so quick tempered, frustrated, impatient, etc etc until I had children. And to make it worse, you have to try and control all these emotions to an acceptable level (we don’t want to be totally emotionless!). Hey, even Darth Vader cut off Luke’s hand!
Recently two mummies wrote very good accounts of how a little change in perspective has helped them in their journey, at Scissors Paper Stone and the Tan Family Chronicles. I recently had an epiphany of sorts that has also helped me tremendously. I wrote a little about it in my previous post, but I’ll elaborate a little more.
I’ve come to realise and take the perspective that each and every moment I have with the kids, is a teaching moment in everything that we do. It really helps me to keep the big picture in mind, so that in the good and the bad, the fights, the happy moments, and even the menial tasks, I take the time and patience to explain to them what is wrong, what is right, or even explain what it is. I find it particularly helpful in times of distress like during fights, when I can emphasize sharing and perhaps the rules (“No throwing toys, we don’t want to hurt your brother”), and I make the extra effort to be mindful to reinforce positive qualities, laud efforts (keeping in mind to not praise too much) but yet stay firm and reinforce discipline, and try and slip in little nuggets of knowledge where I can (“Hey, see those tress? They’re rain trees. Isn’t it lovely to have so many trees by the side of the road?”). It gives me a little more patience when dealing with 393627 questions, especially those incessant “why”s.
There are certainly days (or moments within the days), where are extremely trying, but overall I’m beginning to get in the zone of less quick temperedness and more fun moments. And even if the the kids are not intentionally responding better to a gentler approach, I’m sure they appreciate being shouted at less. I have been enjoying my time with them a whole lot more to the extent that I sometimes feel that between taking care of all the logistics of getting the monkeys fed, watered, bathed, napped, and in bed early enough so they won’t be tired at school the next day, there never seems to be enough time to do all the fun things I want them to do with them.
Of course, I still have my dragon mother moments, and I’m glad The Gingerbread Mum brought the Orange Rhino Challenge to my attention. It’s one mother’s challenge not to yell for 365 days. There are rules, there are parameters (you can yell if it’s urgent, like GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE CAR!), and there are plenty of entertaining and practical tips to keep your cool. Some mummies and I liked “Yell into a closet” instead of yelling at the kids.
Parenting sure is an arduous journey, and epiphanies and change, doesn’t come easy. The wonderful thing about being a parent is that every day we get to start over and try again. If you feel you’re in need of some change, I hope you can find the inspiration for it soon. I leave you with a lovely re-hash of the 10 Things Every Child Needs, which I blogged about a year ago, but it now comes in a lovely readable chart. It’s a great reminder to put the child and the child’s interests and needs at the centre of everything we do.
I know I can be a better mummy, and so help me God, I am so going to die trying!