i am so far from being the perfect parent. my default responses are to complain and blow up. when my kids most need a calm, controlled, routine-oriented adult is when, of course, it's hardest for me to deliver. many times, i fail miserably. despite my best non-swear word efforts, my 2-year-old is likely learning some of the real ones.
but then there are the times when i am able to pull it together in the moment – to not blow up at The No Factory in front of me, to not throw the fork across the room when i've just asked my children to refrain from the same thing, to not use a four-letter word when a goofy face would work so much better for everyone.
there are some key lines that others have passed on to me that raise the likelihood i'll find success in those moments:
"it's a season in life" my sister-in-law gave me this one. it's a powerful perspective-giver. i've found that even when the young one is kicking and crying, this line gives me the compassion i need to see her as my hurting toddler and not a mini-me out to get mom.
"i'm feeling very grateful today" this one comes from a blogging momma i admire over at Creative With Kids, who uses this now in response to the question of "how are you doing?" it gets rid of the first reaction (mine: "i'm going insane, thank you") by reminding yourself of the truth.
"get down on kid level" this is a good physical response to use that comes from a tip from A Mom With A Lesson Plan. sometimes i think back to a mad moment, and realize what i must have looked like to my child – a towering madwoman glaring down at her little girl. my daughter is not my enemy! but i sure am making her feel like it. i find that when i get down on the floor with my kids – even below their eye level, so they're the ones looking down at me – i gain better perspective on the situation. most times, things end in a hug when i do this. (and that makes me and them feel better!)
"good enough!" i gave myself this one. i'm a recovering workaholic perfectionist. and i'm slowly starting to really believe that "good enough" is "good enough" and not just another word for failure. perfection is not only impossible, it's downright damaging. if i say these words out loud, i'm telling myself to lower my standards – leave the dirty dishes in the sink (they've already been there 24 hours anyway) and sit down and read a book with the girls.
"i'm sorry" finally, this one comes from my Dad, who was always a great model of what to do when you do screw up. i get down to my kid's level or sit down with them, go over what happened ("i got really angry, didn't i?"), apologize and then share a hug. the fruits of this have already been shown when both my girls on different occasions have volunteered their own "i'm sorry" apologies without prompting.
maybe i'm not such a screw-up after all, right?