Thursday, January 19, 2012
GOOD MOM, BAD MOM
Recently I haven't been the most patient person in the world. The little man was ill, then I was ill and we all were sneezing into each other's directions too often, annoying the other one until the situation became highly explosive. And this is what happened. I did explode quite a few times until one evening I was lying in the arms of my husband crying about me being such a bad mother.
I'm not. I know. I care a lot about my son and I love him all the way to the moon and back (and even further). I want him to know that and to be sure of that. All the time. And this is the hard part. No matter how often we tell our children how much we love them, how often we kiss them and stroke their wonderful little heads. It is not all.
Think about it. When your partner tells you that he loves you every day, over and over again you might enjoy it, but at some point it becomes a phrase rather than a moment that makes your heart jump. It's the other things, that make you realise that (s)he loves you. And it can't be said what it is. Because every person is different, every relationship sailing on a different sea. And so it is with children. There is no "you have to carry your child all the time!" or "You have to breastfeed as long as possible." It all depends on the child too and what it really needs and wants and what YOU need and want.
So this is our path. Always trying to figure out where our child leads us and where we are willing to follow. What's possible and what's a NO!go (that might result in a mad tantrum). But even that is not the same every day. Today I might be willing to flip through "Goodnight Gorilla" about a 500 times after we've already been through the caterpillar and the crazy cat with that hat and the Curious George collection. Tomorrow I might be tired after a couple of books because I've had a rough day, the kitchen looks like a bulldozer has just lost track and the washing is waiting for a few rounds in the machine. Then this isn't the moment to be super mommy and loving by continuing to read and flip and... not enjoying it. Because the little person is not that stupid. It is not stupid at all!
Leander is really good in sensing these moments. While sitting on my lap with his back to me he turns his head around looking at me like "Mom, are you still there?". I'm real if I'm saying "No honey, you know I'm really busy and I will look at more books with you when I've done all this and my head is clear." This might not be followed by a happy "Hooray yeah that's ok mom!" but this is exactly the situation our children have to learn to deal with. And they are capable if we allow these situations to happen from the very beginning. AND: if we allow them to appear mind- and respectful. Which is an even harder problem especially when patience has been swiped with a cloth full of headache and flue bacteria. In these moments we tend to say things a little louder and in a much more accusing voice. "No Leander, I'm sick of flipping through those books over and over again. You can look at them all by yourself anyway! Give me just ONE minute please, will you?"
Why am I accusing him like that, he's done nothing but being there having fun with me and all of a sudden I'm turning into monster mommy. So how did this happen?
Well, most of the times it actually adds up bit by bit, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. And we might feel it or not. And then the moment comes when it's just too much. The trick is to step out of the situation just BEFORE that moment kicks in and the you-phrases begin to pop out of our head. I know it's not easy but raising children simply isn't. And while we have to be very aware and present to get to know them we have to be aware and present with ourselves too. Usually we aren't. There is too much going on and we're focusing on the wrong things. Stop that and listen. Listen to yourself, get to know yourself so you can make sure your child can get to know you too. Because this is what he wants - knowing who this person is he is loving unconditionally.
Having thought about this and written about it I am surely not super mommy myself all of a sudden. But I'm a little step closer. Because in the end super mommy does not exist. But a wonderful neverending way up aiming to become one does.