It was simple enough. Standing in the kitchen making breakfast one day, I heard his little voice. “Mommy you’re stupid” Thankfully I had already put down whatever utensils was in my hand. My mind spinning as I thought about how long I was going to ground him. How many treats were to be taken away. I paused, I took a breath, I turned to the little figure behind me. “What did you say?”
He knew it wasn’t right, but he’s still too young to be anything but honest. His sheepish voice repeated what I thought I heard. Trying my best to get him to really think about what just happened, I asked him why he said that. “That’s what you say”
My heart sank for a minute. I had, unconsciously called myself stupid earlier. I had forgotten. I wasn’t even aware of it at the time, but Bear heard me. At that’s when things changed.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and successful. The meaning of that might be slightly different for each person. But basically it’s financial security and a happy life. For me I also want them to have successful relationships. And that means being with someone who values themselves as much as them. Think about it. If my boys date a person who doesn’t value themselves what type of relationship is that for them? There’s no challenge to be better for that person. There’s no expectations to live a fuller life with them. There’s just love hopefully.
Don’t get me wrong. Love is awesome! Everyone should have love in their life. But love alone will not make a relationship last. Love is often compared to fire. But what is a fire without fuel to propel it? Dull embers after a few years. I don’t want that for my sons. I want them to be with someone who is a bit of gasoline.
So what does all this have to do with me calling myself stupid? I’m their first female role model. I’m shaping what they might look for. I’m sure as hell not going to let it be someone who calls themselves stupid.
So I’ve made changes in a few of my habits since then. First no more calling myself anything else but mom and awesome. Second, and this was a hard one, I’m at least acting comfortable in my body around my kids. I want them to see someone who loves who they are. Not someone hung up on body image issues. Thankfully they can’t hear the voices inside my head. I’m working on those too. Lastly I’m trying to be more affectionate with hubs but also allowing them to hear us argue. I think it’s important to see your parents as humans. We don’t call each other names. We try not to raise our voices either. I know it sounds a bit crazy to argue in front of your kids but I know it works. Last disagreement we had was right before soccer. We were in the car and Bear piped up from the back saying “it doesn’t matter guys”. We had to laugh and move on. On the flip side Hubs and I are affectionate in front of our kids. They see us hug each other is we’re having a hard day or kiss goodbye. You know the fun stuff that makes them say “groooooossssssss”
So if nothing else, if I can give my kids the tools to see and understand what a good relationship is and what a positive self image looks like, I think they might just make it.