by Ann Waterman
Parenting is a humbling business, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of it in some way. My latest epiphany came after chiding my son for sleeping in because he was overtired from going to bed late the night before, after pulling out his full arsenal of stall tactics.
I was feeling pretty frustrated with him when it occurred to me that I had slept through my alarm that morning, because I stayed up too late watching just one more episode of my latest TV series fixation. I was guilty of the very thing I was upset at him about.
In fact, as I thought about it some more, I realized that many of the things I regularly correct him for are things I struggle with: going over my allotted screen time, avoiding chores, sneaking chocolate chip cookies just before dinner (don’t tell anyone!). My kid’s faults are often a reflection of my own shortcomings — except that, unlike them, I have no one keeping tabs on me, and when I mess up, I rarely think twice about it.
My takeaway from this epiphany was two-fold. First, the next time I’m tempted to lose my temper with my children because they didn’t pick up their room or set the table when I asked, I need to take a breath and remember that they are human beings with warts and wrinkles just like me (except in their case, it’s only figuratively speaking), and I really shouldn’t take their misdemeanors as a personal affront.
Secondly, I need to work on my own shortcomings and strive to set a better example. And really, being a parent to my children means understanding they are always going to struggle with certain weaknesses (because I do) and helping them to overcome them with patience, consistency, and love.
Do you see any of your faults reflected in your children?
Image: Ann Waterman