Friday, November 11, 2011

Direct Reflection

It's entirely possible I'm not being fair to myself, but one of the ways I tend to keep tabs on how I'm doing parenting-wise is to watch and listen to Zoe playing with her "buddies".  When she was a little younger, I spent a lot of time patting myself on the back and/or feeling relieved that the kinds of things I heard coming out of her mouth while playing "Mommy" were of the "It's okay, sweetie" and "C'mon, let me help you" variety.  However, there has been a dramatic shift in tone over the last few months and something tells me it has a lot to do with the fact that I've been a little more....ahem....short tempered lately.  I'm not beating myself up and it's honestly still mostly funny to me because I know I'm doing my best and that she knows she is loved to death.  I'm not constantly yelling at her and we have more positive exchanges than negative ones on any given day for sure, but I have to admit I cringe a bit when I hear her scolding her dolls or when I watch her get exasperated with Owen because he's not, say, eating his lunch the way she would like him to.  I know she's just experimenting and trying stuff out...I have clear memories of yelling at my dolls because they "wouldn't go to sleep", and I was SUPER DUPER mean to my poor younger brother (the deepest sleeper I've ever known) Ben whenever I was in charge of waking him up in the morning.  My Mom NEVER treated us like that so I know I wasn't mimicking her parenting style, but it's still hard to hear and see the "I'm at the end of my rope" phrases and body language I know she's picked up from me.

Today was probably the most comical yet personally frightening displays of this after I reluctantly obliged her by tying one end of a rope around her Puppy's neck and the other end around the handle of her stroller.  She wanted to "walk him" to the playground and I chose not to fight that particular battle and just throw him in the washing machine at the end of the day.  As I walked along with Owen, I watched her drag Puppy a few feet and then pick him up and scold him..."WHY are you just dragging? Stop that!  No, we'll talk about it when we get to the playground.  Okay, are you going to walk now?" and she would THROW him to the ground, drag him a few feet and repeat the whole thing...over and over again....I was entranced....I laughed about it to myself mostly because I know I never treat her THAT badly.  I know she's just role playing and more than likely has someone like "Miss Hannigan" in her head more than she is picturing me and my behavior.  Part of me felt a little sad though, that maybe I'm planting more "I'm busy, frustrated and tired right now" seeds in her little psyche than I want to.  Again, I'm trying not to be too hard on myself because I know I'm also just reacting emotionally to other stuff...

I don't know if this happens to you, but for me everything in my personal life will be going along swimmingly (oh, who am I kidding?  "Personal" is the only side of my life right now...there is no dichotomy...anyway, you know what I mean) and then out of the blue the universe decides to deal me a few bad cards just to see if I am paying attention.  Every once in a while I feel like I'm handed a bunch of mildly unpleasant situations all at once...not so bad that I feel like my world is ending but uncomfortable enough to leave me feeling just a little beat down.  In these times I always have an initial reaction to want to just gather my things and go but then I realize these times are in some ways the most important times in which to plant my feet firmly in the ground, take a hard look at myself and just deal.  It reminds me that I can't just go through life without unpleasantness and the only way to move on and feel good about stuff again is to practice forgiveness, patience and compassion.  For my kids, my husband, my family, friends and probably most importantly, for MYSELF.

I don't know if that just made any sense to you but it did to me, so....


  1. And honestly, Sarah? You do forgiveness, patience, and compassion better than a LOT of people I know. Really. It's one of the reasons you're one of my favorite people to hang around.


  2. Well, if you didn't just put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes! Thanks, my friend.. XO