I am probably my harshest critic (except when it comes to cleaning my house, only then do I give myself a well deserved break 🙂 ). I over analyze my answers to the children, I try to reason with them, I try not to hover (which, unfortunately, is my natural tendency), I give them room to make mistakes and encourage them to learn from the same. I set myself to pretty high standards, which, most of the times I can’t achieve, then I feel guilty. I know, I know, it is a vicious cycle. Life is a work in progress, I am working on it. I say to self, ‘Self’, I say, ‘Take a deep breath and calm down! If you are late in dropping off your child at a football practice by ten minutes because you had to pick up your daughter from swim practice, it is OK! The world won’t really stop spinning!’
As I parked the car in the football field to pick up Ryan, Sahana asked me a question as she unbuckled her seat belt:
‘Mom, how do you do it?’
‘Do what?’ I asked.
‘Tell us ‘no’ and we listen. No questions asked. How do you make us listen?’
‘No questions asked’ is stretching the facts a bit. Questions are asked and more than I care to answer them. I also explain my reason for saying ‘no’ to certain requests to the best of my ability. When arguments, talk backs start, I put my foot down and say ‘Because I said so!’ Parenting books will condemn me for that. So be it.
‘You guys ask questions before you accept ‘no’s!’
‘Yeah, sometimes! But we know that when you say ‘no’ you mean it and we accept it. How did you make this happen? I want to learn. I want to be a parent just like you!’
I will be honest, that made my heart sing. Standing ovation in a full auditorium can not compare to what I felt in my heart at that moment. I just got my report card and guess what? Straight A’s!
“But when I say no to something you really want to do, you get angry, don’t you?” I probed.
“Yes, but that is just the irrational me then. Now it is the rational me asking you how you do it? Tell me, I will do the same to my children!”
What I said to her is not the main objective of this blog. Some time ago, I wrote a blog about how Ryan asked me if having them was the most difficult decision in my life. I was crushed thinking I made them feel that way by complaining and whining about the stresses in life. Last night, I felt validated. My love was shining through. They saw it! My teenage daughter wanted to emulate my style of parenting.
I know my joy is short-lived. We will have conflicts aplenty and often. But I will look at them as her ‘irrational’ moments. I will cherish these fleeting rational moments for now and garner strength and joy from them to keep my composure when the teenage turmoil flares up and I become the meanest human on earth again!