One of those ‘AHHHH’ moments….where you realize your kid is very unconventional from the moment that a playdate with new friends is already in progress. What comes next is mommy embarrassment, followed by anger, not to forget shame with a big dose of mommy guilt. Ah, the ‘not so joys’ of parenting!
~Why we let others dictate the ‘standard’ for our own families, I’m not sure, but this is exactly what happened to me. I choose to let someone else’s family standard take precedence over my little one’s heart and her own very unique personality, because of my own embarrassment and fear.
~I should have been better mentally prepared after deciding we were to have lunch with new friends. At home we are diligently working on table manners, yet to be mastered, and eating a wide variety of foods for my ‘not so willing to try new foods’ little person. So as lunch began I realized too late I set her up to fail, and I never clearly communicated my expectations of how table manners needed to be. As our new friends were patiently waiting for everyone to ready themselves for lunch, here my ‘little’ is pushing her way into washing hands first, grabbing crackers before there was a blessing spoken, spilling milk as we reached across the table without asking for the dish to be passed and getting up from her seat without permission. My initial reaction was ‘oh my goodness’ I am so embarrassed, why is she doing this, has she no remembrance of her manners at all! Then I watched our friends eat with proper etiquette, no elbows on the table, asking for items to be passed, appropriate placed please and thank you’s, and then they cleared our dishes from the table. If I could have crawled under a rock right then I would have! Needless to say we left shortly thereafter.
~Now for the after effects of feeling embarrassed and angry all in one, which caused unnecessary unpleasantries between my ‘little’ and I. My words were hurtful and I regretted them as soon as they were spoken, and then I proceeded to act self-righteous, as if having a ‘perfect’ playdate was more important than who she was as a person. All of this emotion FOR WHAT, so I could appear to have it ‘all together,’ so they would like us, so I could have a superior attitude of feeling like a ‘super’ mom. Yet none of this happened except a breach in my relationship with my ‘little.’
~My hindsight came 2 days later as I was calmly reflecting on our day spent with these new friends. I began asking myself what was my motivation for wanting ‘almost perfect’ kids too? Why was I so embarrassed? My answer is within the fear I have ‘what will others think of my parenting.’
~Most times I’ll admit I think my kids behavior is a direct reflection on me, their mom! This is just not true. My kids make their own choices which can reflect how I’ve guided them over the years, but mostly its a reflection on their personality. My little is a strong-willed person and whether I have guided her to act one way, there is no guarantee that she will. Strong-will temperament people tend to live for the moment and embrace the consequence later. So my legitimate feelings were rightly felt, but wrongly dealt with. My parenting is NEVER going to mirror someone else’s, nor should it. This family given to me is uniquely made and I guide my kids as I deem appropriate. Therefore my motivation has to be out of love, not obligation and then maybe one day we will have a shining moment where I can smile and think to myself, look at that beautiful ‘unconventional’ little girl!
Is my ‘little’ perfect, absolutely not, but neither am I.