Sunday, September 16, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I am constantly on at the Blonde Bombshell to speak nicely to me.  My catch phrase at the moment is: 'if you wouldn't say that to Mrs E [her pre-primary teacher] then don't say it to me'.

Don't roll your eyes at me.

Don't growl at your sister.

Stop telling me you're bored. You have no idea what bored even means.

Leave her alone!

Be quiet.

Which part of 'No' don't you understand?

Then, the other morning before school, after what felt like hours of my asking the girls to do X and they were doing Y, I yelled at them.

The Bombshell turned to me, and very clearly (and politely) said 'Mum, if you want us to listen to you, use your normal voice and speak nicely.'


Of course, she was merely parroting what I had been saying to her for the past year or three, but it suddenly occurred to me that I say things to my children that I would never say to another adult. Because it would be rude. Or impolite.

But I say it to my children, who I love - it's fair to say - more than any adult on this planet.

It's embarrassing to admit this, because it has taken me five years to figure out. But I give my kids verbal lashings of frustration, sarcasm, and directness to the point of rudeness that I would die before dishing out to even a well-deserving adult.

What is wrong with me?

I constantly berate the Bombshell for the fact that she behaves so well at school, at Grandma's and at friend's houses, yet she comes home to me where she suddenly transforms into a bossy/smarmy/cheeky/irritating/deaf/out-right rude five-going-on-fifteen year old.

'Why?' I appealed to her one day. 'Why are you so good for other people, but then you are so mean to me?'

She looked at me and told me: 'Because I don't have to live with them.'

At the time, I didn't quite understand her response.  But I get it now.  She does exactly what I do.  Saves up all the frustration and boredom and smart-arse comments that she probably wishes she could freely express all day, then comes home to the one person she knows she can trust, and lays it on thick.  A big nasty, verbal and attitude diarrhoea.

Because she knows that I will always love her, and I know she will always forgive me.

But she shouldn't have to.

So, added to my 'essentials list' of:
- write 100 words of my novel every day
- use sunscreen every day
- don't eat more than half a bag of lollies in a single sitting

I will add: if I wouldn't say it to Mrs E, then don't say it my kids.

Because it's actually me they're learning from.


  1. Oh, crappity crap, I hate reading things that are so true they make want to curl up in a ball of Iamsuchabadparentness!!! You write this for me, didn't you??? Gag, now I feel all challenged to actually change!! Thanks.

    1. I know, right? I hate it when it should be so obvious and clear ,and I am the last one to get it.
      This parenting thing is hard. Wouldn't change it, but it constantly reminds me of my shortcomings.
      Glad to know I am not alone though.

  2. I have watched my one year old start copying me and it really gave me a rude shock, because I spent a lot of time doing the same things you did. Now I've had to learn that yelling is a last resort, or for extreme cases, like when she's about to pull a television on herself. Life gets a lot smoother once you don't yell so much. And you know that she really loves you if she is comfortable enough around you to yell. Well that's what I tell myself anyway.

  3. So funny and so true. I hadn't quite thought of it like that but it reminds me of something I read once about a guys commitment to his unborn of the things he said was that he had never hit a (deserving) adult in his life and so he would never hit his child. It seems a lot easier to not cross that line than the one you are talking about but (despite being obvious) it is a good thing to think about, and not one you naturally consider...
    Your writing is just wonderful btw. I'm loving your posts.

  4. Good way to live.
    Gosh - Miss E would suspend/expel me for some of the crap I pull here!!
    :-) xx

  5. Oh, this is beautiful, thank you for writing this and challenging us all. I will live by this with my boys.


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