Ok, let’s get right to the self-deprecating juiciness: I am pretty self-righteous, judgmental, and controlling. Rationality and emotion mix into a dangerous chemical reaction for me. You could say I’m emotionally rational, which often results in irrationality. I can be quite impatient. I often choose the more negative way to depict a situation rather than the positive, especially in disciplinary situations. And sometimes plain old stupid stuff comes out of my mouth. I know it the moment it blurts out, and I remember it later. It probably goes without saying that I’m the toughest critic of myself. (Sound familiar?)
A fellow mommy friend really brought it home for me today: She was over to pick up her son who came over for an after-school play date. I apologized for the mess in our house, and described our basement as utterly un-Montessori (both our kids are in Montessori preschool together). She finally looked at me and said, “I left my robe and gavel in the car because I didn’t plan on judging you, but I can run out and get them! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” My friend, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU. I needed a good kick in the head to remind me that my house is perfect just as it is. And I don’t mean perfect in the right/wrong/it-cannot-be-improved kind of way, I mean the bend-like-a-reed kind of perfect. It is what it is, how we live, how it’s meant to be. And it’s lovely.
By the end of the day, despite having received this gift from my friend, I was still beating my head against the wall, replaying some of the things I had heard out of our daughter’s mouth, and with that out of mine. “Boys, remember to put the unicorn pillow pets back where you found them when you’re done playing with them!” “No, you don’t need to remind me to take my pony tail hair tie out! I can remember myself!” The most perfect expressions of right/wrong, control, and independence. I couldn’t have said it better, which is exactly the frightening part. I won’t go into more detail, but there were other things coming out of my mouth that made me wish I could wake up my daughter from her sweet sleep, apologize, and correct myself. Ridiculous!
As I shared my day with my husband, he reminded me – again – not to be so hard on myself. I need to write that on my forehead in permanent marker so I see it every time I look in the mirror. He also reminded me how it will be unavoidable that our children will pick up some of our worst habits, and that all we can do is develop awareness within ourselves, and then within our kids, to try and undo those habits when they become harmful.
Oh, and hey, mommy: Don’t be so hard on yourself.