Monday, November 19, 2012

An Unfair and Almost Blasphemous Indictment

Moms are scary.

To this day, I am scared of them.

And I'm scared of being one of them.

We all know the joke:  "Oh, no, I'm becoming my mother!" and "I swore I'd never do that to my kids... I hated it when my parents did it to me, but there I was, a mirror image of my mother."

I am currently reading a book called "How to Hug a Porcupine."  It's a great book, and talks about the art of loving difficult and toxic personalities.  The big thing it focuses on is criticism.  It warns against "parenting" people with the words "should," "need," and "ought."  This advice makes so much sense to me, and I truly try to stay away from anything that looks like parenting with most people.

Of course, the question arises, "How do we effectively and kindly parent our children while still showing them respect as individuals?" 

And then, a deeper question haunts me.  We need to parent our children.  They need anywhere from 10-1000 corrections per day.  "You need to get dressed, now.  No, now."  "Please just eat your food; don't play with it."  "This letter comes next in the alphabet."  "Don't hit your brother."  "Play with something else."  I understand the need to let children make mistakes and learn from the natural consequences that come.  I try really really hard to give them the space to do that.  But still, they need direction and guidance.  How, when my job is to correct people so often, each and every day for weeks and months and years and years and years, do I keep from being a toxic mom?  A toxic person?  How on earth can I be loving to my kids?  To my husband?  To myself, when I fear and hate so much of what I have to do to help other people?

Care to weigh in?