Becoming a mother has changed a lot of things – my life, my ideas, and me. In fact, the change from “childless me” to “Mummy me” can be likened to the superhero transformation in a story when the main character discovers his super powers. For instance, I have developed super hearing. I might be deaf to everything else but I’ll hear it when it’s my children. Then there is the Mummy sense. It’s kind of like the “spidy senses” Spiderman gets before something bad is about to happen except that the “Mummy sense” only works with things relating to my kids.
As Ben Parker (uncle of Peter Parker aka Spiderman) once said: “with great power come great responsibility”. Indeed, along with these new super powers I’ve developed, I have also inherited great responsibility in the form of two little lives. What I was content to be – with all my faults and short comings – is no longer enough nor is it acceptable. I must constantly strive to be better so that I may be the example I want my children to aspire towards. And everyday, when I lose my temper with the kids and flip out over small things, I am reminded, yet again, just how much improvement I require…
They say we are only human and as humans we err, but have you ever noticed that children are often held accountable to higher standards than the ones we set for ourselves? There are many times when I have noticed myself tolerating behaviours from others that I would not allow in my children. Heck, I even forgive myself for losing my temper but refuse to tolerate temper tantrums from my children that I perceive to be an act of defiance. Don’t I behave the same way when I feel someone has “wronged” me? Don’t I get snarky when I’m tired or having a bad day? Our children may be little but they are still people with feelings and emotions. In fact, as little children with less experience and practice in the world that we live in, they have even more reason to lose control than we do with our many more years of living.
How can I forgive myself for “losing it” and “being human” and yet hold my children to a higher standard when I expect them to deny their emotions by demanding that they NOT throw tantrums in the face of big disappointments? While they may not be “big” in my world, they most certainly are in the world of a child. And that is really the issue with a lot of disciplinary matters relating to children, isn’t it? It becomes “do as I say and not as I do”.
What gives us the right as adults to behave in one way when we do not allow our children to behave in that manner? Because we’re adults and they are children? It certainly seems that way. It is the propagation of the way discipline was conducted when we were children. Despite “knowing better” now, we still fall prey to our instincts and memories from our childhood.
So this is me trying to be better – to acknowledge my failings and over come them…
I have a problem. I have anger management issues. Instead of maintaining my composure when my children act up, I lose it. While I have somewhat better control over my desire to employ corporal punishment as a method of discipline – just – I won’t lie and deny that having Hercules as a child has never caused me to question my decision. However, when I am in the right frame of mind – cool, calm and collected – I know I cannot condone it and I cannot allow myself to employ this method on my children.
Everyday, I must remind myself to be more understanding towards my children. They may make mistakes and they may behave poorly and more often than not, that behaviour is going to annoy me to no end. However, as their parent, it is my duty to teach them the right way to deal with it. That doesn’t mean they must deny how they feel because it is okay for them to be upset. It is not okay for them to hurt others or damage property. So my responsibility then is to help them accept their feelings and channel those feelings constructively.
I’m going to take a deep breath and try to stay cool because that’s the behaviour I should be trying to model for them. Some days, I might succeed and other days, I won’t. And if I don’t, I should acknowledge I was wrong and apologise for it because my children will do the same. If they can see me admitting to my mistakes, they will learn it is okay to admit it when they are wrong and to apologise for it.