Weekly Special: This is Me Loving You
December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
Painting by Ives Klein
I love my kids, but like any parent, I get frustrated with them on a daily basis. My frustration sometimes takes a creative turn and I end up rockin’ the mothering gig. A lot of times I don’t rock more than the table when I sit down for breakfast. But that’s besides the point.
I started this weekly special to share the times that I truly feel like I’m rockin’ it. Those magical moments when I feel like I’m on top of the mothering world and I feel both grand and insignificant. The seconds when I feel like my insecurities are set aside and a spiritual me rushes through, inspiring an exchange with my kids.
I think I started telling bilingual baby “this is me loving you” when she was about 3 and I’d do things for her that I didn’t feel like doing, but was doing them anyway. Since then, she’s made that phrase her own. Sometimes she’ll tell me that I don’t love her. If I did, I’d let her do whatever she wants.
Ok. So that sorta backfires on me.
If she doesn’t want to share, I don’t make a big deal out of it. There are so many more times when she does share, or trade toys. Why magnify the one or two times a day she really doesn’t feel like it?
What about what I want? What about what I feel? I don’t feel like she needs to know my adult feelings all the time, but sometimes airing out my frustration actually helps the day run smoother.
It’s like one of my dance teachers used to do. She’d come in- she was known for being blunt- and she’s sit down and sigh so loudly it could’ve quieted a room. She’d go on to say that she felt like sh*t. She’d add in a bunch more profanities as she’d try to describe her frustrations. Once she was done, she’d air another sigh that was much lighter.
I really liked her. You knew where you stood with her. There was no guessing. Yeah, she talked like a sailor, but she was always present.
So, when I get a whiny now-4-year-old telling me she doesn’t want butter on her toast, she only wants oil, and for one reason or another everything is sounding like nails on a chalkboard, and I really wish I could just go hide under my blanket until the kids decide to move out, I turn to her and take a breath and say:
I don’t feel like it but I’m going to do it anyway.
I swear, whenever I say the truth (and it’s usually this simple for me: I want to do my thing first, not theirs), it makes the whole moment dissolve. Bilingual baby uses the phrase “I don’t want to.” This is not new to any child. After “no”, I think it’s the next thing they learn how to say.
No, but really. Midway through the feeling based sentence: I don’t feel like it but I’m going to do it anyway, I felt better. Much better. I followed it with: This is me loving you. Then I just felt like hugging her.