Me First

April 18, 2011 at 12:46 am | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Me | 17 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Stop whining.
Don’t touch that.
Don’t be so loud.
Why can’t you listen?
What are you doing?
Don’t make a mess.
Be still. Now!
Just. Stop. Fighting.

I’ve said them all. And a lot more. With irritation in my voice, with every ounce of patience exhausted. I’ve been mean. I’ve been angry. Not all the time and not every day. But enough. Enough to wonder about the impact of my words. Enough to worry that my frustration makes my children feel like they aren’t good enough. That perhaps they never will be.

I’m pretty sure we haven’t gotten that far yet. But I’m a mom. My mind is always leaping seven steps ahead to the absolute worst-case scenario, convinced we are on the precipice of some disaster or another.

And when I think about the one thing I want my children to know, it’s not how to play with one toy at a time. It’s not how to use their inside voice. And it’s not how to clean their plate.

It’s this: You are perfect. Just as you are. At this moment. At every moment.

I want to teach them to be good and honest. To be kind but strong. To rely on their mind but follow their heart. To wonder, to ask, to dream, to work hard. To accomplish with humility and fail with grace.

I want them to know that they won’t always make the right choice. They won’t always win. They will mistakes, big ones and small ones. But, even still, they are perfect. To me, they are perfect. The bright, tiny souls that inhabit their growing bodies and ever-independent brains are my lifeblood. They are loved without condition and with everything I’ve got.

I believe this. I feel this. I know this. I’ve got to make sure they do, too.

How do you take a step back from the daily grind and analyze your own parenting skills? How do you make changes that bring you closer to the parent you want to be? And does this post sound like that Pink song, only without the expletives?



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  1. I can relate to those concerns. More so with my daughter, even though she’s not yet five. I want her to be so much more confident then I was as a kid. I’ve just started reading a parenting book to try to figure out better ways to react with my son – who can be a bit of a challenge. I’m hoping it will give me some new insights on how to accomplish some of those things you mentioned.

    Also, I like that Pink song!

    • Just curious – what is the name of the book you are reading?

  2. I happen to love that Pink song, and I love the message. I also love the butterfly wings.

    • I love that song, too. It’s on my running playlist, and when it comes up, I usually play it four or five times in a row … or the whole entire run.

  3. You wrote my thoughts today, with more eloquence and beauty. I hate the negative trap I feel caught in. I have good kids. And no more patience.

  4. Lol! I totally WAS thinking of P!nk’s song! It was playing on the radio today when I dropped Munchie off at school. We made ourselves a minute and a half late so we could belt it out together in the car.

    (Oh and it also reminds me of Lady Gaga’s new song – “You’re beautiful in your way cuz God makes no mistakes…”

  5. Stacia, I think I’m at the height of this right now. With a gazillion things unsettled around me, my patience is wearing thin, and my poor girl, who has been a trooper, gets tired, cranky me when I really should celebrate the fact that she has been going through the same changes I am too and is taking it all in with as much stride as a two-year-old can muster. I should cut her some slack and realize that she needs me for comfort sometimes; it’s not always about trying to make sure she’s a “proper” human being some day.

    I forget that she is one already.

    As much as we think our kids are perfect in our eyes, we also forget that we are perfectly imperfect ourselves so as moms, perhaps if we went easy on ourselves, we’d go easy on everyone else around us too? Especially our little ones. (Here’s to wishing us both luck and patience!)

  6. Stacia, I love this post. They are loved unconditionally and I am sure they feel it deep inside 🙂

  7. That Pink song is one of my faves. It is a great running song. It sometimes hard for me to remember just how perfect my daughter is – trying though….

  8. I swear just today I was thinking this. Worrying that I yell too much, don’t spend enough time being on her level, playing with her, supporting her. Do I tell her enough how wonderful she is? Because she so is. I think all parents agonize over this. At least I kinda hope they do, because if there ARE parents out there who are actually confident and assured, I’m going to go cry.

  9. I love that song and I love this post. I’m so caught up in counting to three and screaming that he needs to just LISTEN, and that’s about as effective as it sounds. This week my husband is on spring break and we’re taking a TV hiatus and focusing on just being. Wish us luck.

  10. It’s such a hard balance to teach them all the right things and to enjoy everything and to not yell and nag all the time!!! I love that picture so much.

  11. I relate, I relate, I relate!
    I just finished reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and it completely changed my perspective.
    He basically says exactly what you did today, that we spend a lot of time wanting to control aspects of our children, and telling them to stop this, do that, don’t climb there, finish your food, etc…and yet we want most for them to be curious, independent, confident, problem-solving adults who know they’re unconditionally loved.
    It’s a pretty radical, but man, it’s been turning my parenting around in a good and hard way.
    You are a fantastic mom.
    Oh, and thank you for the easter card, we really loved it and were honored to be on your list.

  12. Ohhhhhh….great thought provoking post. Sometimes it’s hard to even find the time to step back for analysis, right?

  13. The parenting grind makes me an impatient, grumpy person. I often have to remember all the important things….a lot of times that is by looking at them while they are sleeping, or spending time with just one of the kids at a time.

  14. It is so hard to balance the “training” with the ideals. To help make them strong, make them understand that they need to eat their vegetables. To follow their hearts, but not if it means watching TV instead of doing their homework.

    And that Pink song – I listen to it on repeat I love it that much.

  15. I definitely “raise my voice” in frustration on a daily basis and pray that’s not what they remember about growing up. It’s hard to imagine it having a long term negative impact since it often doesn’t even have an in-the-moment impact! I love my kids, and they know it. I hope I am teaching them to love themselves, just as they are. I try to do my best (though standards fluctuate wildly!) and try not to judge myself as a mom by my worst moments. I NEVER knew how challenging parenting would be.

    I don’t know the Pink song because I am always listening to audiobooks or my Glee soundtracks. Am I cool or what? I’m going to check it out right now.

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