do as I say, not as I do

How often is this message relayed to your kids? Not in a literal sense, although I have found those words slipping from my tongue from time to time. More often the message is relayed through actions. Actions our kids witness. Actions our children will someday choose to emulate or decide to go against.

Example: Living in Iowa, Maddi will be eligible to receive a learner's driving permit at the tender age of 14. As in 25 months from now .......... eek! Because, ya know, she needs to drive the tractor through the fields before she feeds the chickens. All before the butt crack of dawn.

She is already observing the rules of the road as she rides shotgun in the miniature van:

Statements and Inquiries by Maddi directed towards me, the driver.

"Why didn't you use a signal when you turned, Mom?"

"The light was yellow and you sped up, Mom. Aren't you supposed to slow down, Mom?"

"Shouldn't you always have both hands on the wheel, Mom?"

"You shouldn't talk on the cell phone while driving, Mom. I heard that on the news."

At first I was irritated and told her to respect her mother and button her lip about my driving style. Come on! It's bad enough when Dave is sucking in air through his teeth when I stop too closely behind another vehicle. Now I have to answer to my daughter? Shouldn't she be in a 5-point harness in the middle of the back seat playing quietly with a board book? Who told her she could have opinions ...... let alone express them?

After checking my pride at the door, I realized she is simply observing, not trying to imply I am a bad driver. In an other words, grow up and be the parent, Amy, because THIS is a teachable moment.

So help me if I ever hear one of my kids say this

Which get's me thinking; what ISN'T a teachable moment?

Remember the first time your little cherub faced toddler said a swear word? Exactly one second after you did. And, remember watching your 'little mommy' put her dolly in time-out because the dolly was naughty? These moments are funny because you realize she is simply imitating adult behavior, but at what point is she actually digesting the information? When will she use that swear word appropriately and intently?

If I really sit and think about all of the things I do that I don't want my children to repeat, I get overwhelmed. How can I be perfect all the time? How can I be the perfect role model? When can I give them the perfect answer? The answer is never, because perfection isn't real. I certainly want my kids to know THAT!

So, I will strive for better. I will remind myself I am a teacher, as well as a parent. I will explain to Maddi my mistakes so she can learn to do better. I will take the mature route and hold myself accountable for my actions, because being a parent is my number one job. I may not have fully realized that when Dave and I first decided to have kids, but I cannot let ignorance be my excuse.

How will I cope with the pressure?

I will find time to be with my hubby so we can swear, drink, smoke and make out in a car like we used to ......... before becoming parents.

No comments: