A single sentence and my son can make me reconsider my overall behavior as a mother. Have you been stupefied by your children’s words? Well, it happened to me yesterday. We were talking about something when he suddenly said, “Mummy, you speak loudly when you are angry.” An innocent comment that hits you in the heart. Because you realise how little attention you pay to your child’s emotions. Once again, my child taught me a lesson. “Don’t say or do anything that will hurt your child”, I keep repeating that every single day, and yet it seems that I fail. Often. Every day, perhaps.
As his fourth birthday is approaching, I’m getting more and more concerned about the way I communicate with him. Obviously, things leave deeper marks in his pure mind than his father and I are aware of. Obviously, we should be more careful. We really want to raise a happy kid, but sometimes we forget that our troubles and greyness are so inconsistent with his beautiful world. Children are not supposed to experience our melancholy or bad mood; they are meant to enjoy their childhood, every minute of it. Are we so overwhelmed with other stuff indeed? So absorbed in work or daily routines that we forget to give our children the joy they need? How can they be fully happy when their parents are always there to tell them they don’t do this or that right?
We also forget the simple truth – children are more discerning and so much more intelligent than we can imagine. They could be easily impressed by a single word or gesture, by an instant we don’t even remember. And one day they just remind you of your negligence. Just like that, without any intention of being unkind to you the way you have probably been to them. They don’t mean to hurt you, they just share a memory. And you? You stay there stunned and silenced, asking yourself why the heck you scold them for any little mischief they make! Every day you give yourself a promise to be patient and every day you fail. Every day you are angry about some spilt water on the carpet or a broken glass.
I have been interested in child psychology since my pregnancy. However, it is easier to read about it and to think about it. Putting it into practice is actually the challenge. The challenge of being a parent, and the desire of being a good one. I know I can never be the perfect mother my precious boy deserves to have. I’ll keep doing Yoga to quiet my anxieties, I’ll keep trying to be as patient as my mother used to be when I was a kid. And I know I won’t be successful all the time. I’ll still be losing my temper at times, I’ll still be scolding him for not listening to me. But what I can do for certain is to stop seeing him as the little baby he was three and something years ago. He is not the baby that was sleeping conveniently most of the day so that his mummy could read books, cook, do her university assignments or whatever she wanted.
My son is growing up. He is a person now. He has an opinion, he wants things his way and very often he is absolutely right. My only duty is to respect him. He belongs to himself, not to me. I hate the idea of being an authoritative mother. He doesn’t need my reproofs. My endless motherly love is enough.
Do you have the feeling that your children teach you, and not the other way round?