When I was younger, my mom didn’t like to be called mother. She said it reminded her of Mommie Dearest. It makes me smile now, not because it’s funny but because I truly understand. Not everyone can relate, but I know there are many who can. A mother’s greatest fear can be that of harboring anger toward her children, being out of control, going off in a fit of rage against those she loves most dearly.
Fortunately here in the States, we have Social Services to help children in violent situations. Fortunately the number of counselors and psychologists abound, as well as help lines and forums. But most of these come around after the action has been done. Shouldn’t we be focused on prevention?
We’re still on summer break, of course, and my kids are testing my patience daily. While I’m not about to reach for a wire hanger, there are times when I wonder about it’s effectiveness. Why do I even have to wonder? Why do I get to a point of seeming desperation? What does it take to get some cooperation?
Then I remember why my children are my children. They are my teachers, too. They show me the side of myself that I do not see or will not see. Each time I reach out to them with compassion instead of yelling at them in anger, I’ve taken another step, set another positive example. Each time I do act in anger, I take two steps back, for now they have a negative example which seems to make a greater impression than the positive ones. Now I will have to face the consequence of them using the same behavior with others. (Of course, I’m not about to take accountability for all their actions; I really don’t know where this stuff comes from sometimes!) Such great mirrors children are. They’re here to help us learn, and the best way to learn is to practice.
I would like to say that I’ve completed the practice sessions and that it’s all smooth sailing now, but that isn’t the case. The good news is that I am aware of what is going on, I am conscious of our behaviors and tendencies. I can see them building, see them coming. It’s a good place to practice mindfulness.
This is a side of parenting that a lot of people don’t talk about it open conversation. It’s a darker side, I suppose, because it’s a darker side of human nature. But our true nature is not to hurt others in any way, shape or form. We are here to love and support each other, and I believe that with our children, this should be most obvious. Perhaps that’s why it can be the hardest, because it is so simple.
Remember that what hurts a child doesn’t have to be given with force. Glaring, ignoring, degrading, humiliating are all hurtful. One or two words.
Love yourself truly, wholly, deeply, and then pour forth that love to others. Your children will love you for it, and you will be the dearest mommy in the world . . . you already are.