I think it is fair to suggest that every woman (with the possible exception of orphans) has experienced that horrifying moment of OHGODI’mBecomingMyMother!!! I freely admit that I have those moments on pretty much a weekly basis. (Love my mom and all but, eesh!)
But do other moms have moments where you shudder to think that your daughters are becoming like you? Or worse, you see, through them, what kind of mother they think you are, and it’s really not that great, actually. It would be heartbreaking if weren’t so damned funny.
Last weekend we were working outside, and the girls were busy playing one game of make-believe or another. At some point, T ended up with a daughter, named Leah. Leah was in trouble. A LOT. And T was letting her have it. Constant yelling. Repeating her daughters name, often and firmly. Basically getting nowhere with any of it (daughter being imaginary and all). I had to pause in my work to giggle, and then to reflect. Where is she learning her parenting? (Um, from me.) So why is she using techniques that I (ahem) never use, like shouting empty threats and general nagging? (I said AHEM!) I make lots of mistakes in my life – really, a lot of mistakes, and I second-guess my parenting on a daily basis, but I thought I was getting good at the communication and discipline thing. I try not to lose my temper; I get down to their level and talk to them like intelligent (albeit young) human beings; I use time-outs without calling anything or anybody ‘naughty’. That’s good, right? So why is my four-year-old hollering at her fake kid? And why is the six-year-old auntie getting in on the act?
Finally, it was too much. I suggested that maybe a time-out would be more effective discipline. To my her credit, T did not look at me like I had three heads. Instead, she sent Leah to the nearest set of stairs and continued on playing. I think she probably forgot all about poor Leah, but that’s okay. Even the best of us have been known to stick our kids in time out and forget all about them from time to time, haven’t we?