My daughter and I had a rough patch over the past few days. (I'm sure some of you could tell by yesterday's post.) Rather than explain each incident in detail, I'd rather share what I believe is of ultimate value, to any parent readers, and to my daughter.
I raised my voice a couple of times over the past few days. I did so because I was triggered by whining or similar behaviors. Could I explore my triggers and try to resolve or eliminate them altogether? Yep. But, I'm not there yet. I'm a work in progress. (Until I become like Ghandi or the Dalai Lama (I'm not holding my breath), I'm still going to be a normal human being with normal human tendencies.) So, while on one hand I regret yelling, on the other hand, I don't. Here's why.
Absent actual metrics, I'm estimating my parental engagement and responses are typically quite supportive, loving, and, when necessary, firm. (I'm not keeping score of my every parental response people.) With that said, I'm not freaking out that I yell once in a while when I'm under stress, when my hormones are raging, or when I don't have one ounce of patience left. I think it's healthy for my daughter to see me react as a normal human being. It's not always ideal, but it's real. My daughter sees me at my best most days, but also sees me when I'm struggling.
We all have things that wig us out. It's how we recover from those moments that I think matters most.
I don't feel like life is about putting on a smile on in front of others, not even my child. I am not going to act like everything is OK all the time. Sometimes, it's just not. Even if I never ever had an argument with my child, she's going to experience those challenges with friends or others as she goes through life. When I do have not-so-hot moments, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I'm teaching her how to discuss the issue with open-mindedness and love.
I would love nothing more than for my daughter's childhood to be the picture-perfect ideal of happiness—for her to never argue or have issues with anyone. But that would be such a disservice! Life is not picture-perfect. Life is complicated and flawed and full of many other human beings with whom she will have to engage in order to progress through life. Don't get me wrong. Life should have many more joyous, glorious moments than difficult ones. At least that's my hope. It's certainly been my experience thus far. Regardless, I must teach her how to not only enjoy and savor the beautiful experiences, but also how to navigate the obstacles.
I love my daughter unconditionally. She never has to earn my love; and certainly never loses it due to "bad" behavior. I love her through all her hard times—every tantrum, every raised voice, every rude/disrespectful action. And I am so grateful that she returns the same to me.
To all the parents that have some not-so-hot moments, days, or even months...
Please be gentle with yourself. You're still the best in your child's eye. And you can turn those challenges into teachable moments about life and love.
Be open to what comes.