Wow! ? I can completely identify with this week’s post!
I am finally admitting to myself that I no longer have the child I expected to have. When I was pregnant and daydreaming about my sweet baby, my fantasies never included days of shouting matches, embarrassing meltdowns in the Home Goods parking lot, repeated potty accidents or my child attempting to avoid a bath as if I was putting him into a vat of acid.
No one likes feeling out of control, especially moms who are expected to have it all together. Unfortunately we believe that lie often, and so we look to our children to help fulfill that expectation. Little Susie, I know you probably have an hour of Bubble Guppies on your day’s agenda but I’m really going to need you to be extra good because I need to impress Rhonda from the PTA. We’ll be seeing her at school pickup so be sure to brush your hair. Mysteriously, little Susie ends up rolling around in the grass and shrieking at the top of her lungs as you struggle to assist her into the car. In case you’re wondering, Susie can feel your anxiety as you attempt to hurry her and she resists even more than usual. It’s not a child’s job to help to calm her parent.
My anxiety and its manifestation as anger may not be the direct cause of my child’s poor choices but it acts as an accelerant on a fire. If my child was actually on fire, I’d extinguish the fire, not yell at them to stop being on fire. So why don’t I? OR How can I get help to put out the metaphorical fires instead?
Kirk Martin, founder of Celebrate Calm, has designed numerous parenting programs. He developed the 30 Days to Calm program because “the quickest way to change your child’s behavior is to change yours.” Through his podcast I learned many strategies to help me with own anxiety and how to calm my strong-willed child. I have seen firsthand an improvement in our family’s atmosphere within one week of implementing his strategies. What a gift!
One of his most convicting statements is that from our anxiety, we approach our children with a “I need you to behave so that I can” mentality. Our children make choices and good or bad, however they should not dictate our mood. We need to gain the maturity to separate ourselves from our children’s choices.
Our children will do embarrassing, ugly, frustrating, annoying and ridiculous things. And that’s okay. They’re still growing and so are you. If you wait long enough, you can do embarrassing and annoying things to your teenagers. I see that as something to look forward to…?
Give yourself grace, Mama. God does the same for you!