Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Forget The Self Help Books

It has come to my attention that as I think about my personal goals this week, I realize that one thing that won't be a weekly challenge as part of TLC is that I will never read a self help book. It isn't like there aren't good books out there to read, but all that I really need to know about myself, I can learn from my kids.

I was taken back recently at how much my girls are little sponges and literally imitate my words, mannerisms or actions. This is endearing and frightening all at the same time. It really isn't until we have children, do we really know ourselves. They are two little mirrors running around my house and every time I look at them, I realize how much they are learning from me. And by them learning from me, I am learning about myself.

There is this PBS public service announcement where a mom is frantically running around trying to get dinner cooked while the kids are hanging out. It is clear she is stressed out and gets involved in so many tasks that she ends up burning dinner. At that point, she has a decision to make on how she is going to respond to the stress of the moment. Does she scream with frustration? Does she throw something? Does she walk out of the room? She has a decision to make and she better make it a good one. Why? Because the kids are watching.


Ever make the wrong decision?

I know that have. I have gotten mad and stressed out and about ready to freak out and then see two little pairs of eyes watching me. How I deal with stress is really going to shape how they are going to deal with stress. If I don't teach them to take a breath, think through an issue and re-tackle it with a positive attitude, then they will only learn to stomp off, cry, scream or snap at others. If no one teaches them, how can they learn?

Also, I realize that some of the things that I do are quite annoying. Like for instance, if someone is getting into something they are not supposed to get into, I will lead them away from it and if they resist, I will tell them to, "Go!" Well, this seemed like the right thing to do until one day when Peanut approached me, nudged my knee and said, "Go, Go!" My reply was, "No, you go!" She came back with another, "Go, Go" along with a finger pointed at me. Sigh.

Now the girls are telling the dogs to hush all the time. It doesn't matter if the dogs are barking or not. The dogs get told to "Hush!" and I am sure that is quite annoying for them. Where did they learn that at? Me. When the dogs start barking, I will get after them. Again, it seemed like the right thing to do until Jelly Bean pointed her finger (again, the finger point, ugh!) and told Sydney to "Hush!" when the poor dog was just walking across the dining room.

Okay, so I clearly need to stop pointing my fingers. I don't like it when people point their fingers at me - why would I teach them that? Did I know I was teaching them that? No. But that is the point. I don't know what I am teaching them at any given minute. They are going to pick up the good and the bad.

So, while I am teaching them their numbers, colors and ABC's, this year I have to be more mindful of the little things they are learning as well. I want them to know how to handle a stressful situation. I want them to learn how to communicate effectively with others.

How I handle these things makes the difference as to whether the girls learn them or not. And if I am not getting something right, my girls will let me know.


Trina said...

You sound like such an amazing mom. And your right they are sponges. Everything we say they learn to say. (I'll have to blog about the military-brat/potty mouth for you sometime). Your post made me think. Thank you!

OH and I gave you an award in my blog!! he he

Helene said...

I've also been really trying to watch my attitude and watch the things I say as well. Garrett has started pointing his finger and saying "NO", which I do whenever they're doing something they shouldn't do.

Great post!!! A good reminder for us moms!!

Hajar said...

Hi, I tagged you. I'm interested in what you will say.

Kim said...

Yes, yes, and yes!

I've gotten into a habit of muttering, "Mommy is NOT happy" whenever I get upset over the twins' messes or naughtiness. The other day, after I had finished cleaning up a spill, one of them looked at me so sweetly and said, "Mommy happy?" I felt like a worm.

Just like that PBS spot, they've been watching how I'm handling my frustration and, unfortunately, I haven't been much of a role model!

Jennifer said...

OMG! You about brought tears to my eyes. Today was a real stressful day. I was at my wits end all day. Nothing went right and I did 'hiss' at all 3 of my boys through out the day today. I feel so bad. Feel so guilty. You've made me realize I need to stop and take a breather. Thanks for your post. I'm bookmarking it so that I can recall upon it whenever I'm feeling stressed. Thanks again.

glitzen said...

Yes, and I can tell you they only get more observant as they grow! Sometimes I wish mine would quit watching me so closely, but its only when I want to behave like a complete BRAT.
Great wisdom for such a young mom! Your girls are blessed.