If you look at my Nook or home library, it will be full of three types of books. Books on self-help, parenting, and nursing textbooks. Okay, so Fifty Shades of Grey may be entwined some where in between. 🙂
Some of my favorite books are Drama of the Gifted Child, which was actually mentioned in The Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom, Real Marriage, and Loving Kindness. I read four or five books at a time. Right now, I’m reading Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, Wild, and just finished Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom.
In my quest to become the best parent I could be, I realized that WHILE reading these books, I stress out. The stress seems to stem from the notion that I feel like I haven’t done anything these books are suggesting I should do. I start thinking “OMG, thee impressionable first five have gone with my daughter!!!! Is she doomed? Will she resent me for the rest of her life??? Will she suffer from depression due to my parenting??? Will puberty be my payback?” That’s when I have to put the book down and try to convince myself that I can’t look back at what I’ve done.
I always tell O (my daughter) “don’t make the same mistakes momma does or just because someone else says something or does something dumb, doesn’t mean you have to.” Unfortunately, I have made duplicate mistakes with her a number of times. Namely when my patience runs thin or my own frustrations get the best of me and in that moment… I can’t control my own emotions or reactions to the situation. I’m praying daily that I practice what I preach and control myself by giving myself a timeout and a chance to breathe.
I don’t think we should coddle our children from emotions though. We are human and like I tell my mom and sister all the time, “the world is not going to cater to my kids like you guys do.” Tough love. It’s hard, but I refuse to raise entitled and spoiled children.
My daughter is a mini replica of my husband and myself. I see how she gets frustrated sometimes and it sends chills up my spine because I feel like I’m staring into a mirror. Those are the moments I pray she hears my voice again saying “O, do better than momma, teach kindly and patiently.”
The postcard photo I posted rings so true for me and most of my girlfriends I’m sure (J. Peddy… I know you feel me). I think we all think we are damaging our kids to a certain degree especially when we read these books and aren’t doing half of the suggested material. What I come to learn is that I can pick and choose what works in MY household and reiterate to myself every second of the day that I am doing the best that I can and reinforcing more than anything else that “I love you, O. I love you Husb. I love you, Will.”
These books are tools and guidance materials, not the bible.
This is me. Postbaby 7 weeks. I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but I had this indelible urge to write again lately. I know in a short month, I will have to prepare to take on the end of my Master’s program, so I’m voraciously doing some leisure reading and beginning to chronicle my journey as a mom of two.
My daughter loves her brother. Yet, she has shown signs of normal regression. Wanting to try all of the babies things. Needing extra attention. Oh gosh, the baby talk… cute until it gets annoying. Hahhahaha. Yes, I keep it real.
At the beginning when I got home with the baby from the hospital, nothing about my daughter’s behavior annoyed me. But set in sleep deprivation, the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy!!! Can I tell you something?” Me: “can you tell me without saying, ‘can I tell you something?'” haha, the annoying sound of the pump machine at night, homework, life, taking care of a newborn… oh, did I mention SLEEP DEPRIVATION??? then my patience becomes nonexistent. But I am praying and hoping (although I heard from my friend that “hope is not a strategy) that I find that place of reassuring guidance, love, and patience that my daughter needs right now. I hope I have the fortitude to learn to balance my needs FIRST without feeling GUILT.
This is when I began experiencing empathy for the first child. I’m the second and the last in my family. I wish parenting came with instructions or at least pictures to show you which is the right way up or down. 🙂 I say this, because recently, my husband and I have been having warfare with our daughter during homework time. Mind you, my husband is a great instructor who is energetic and fun, but even he gets worn down when my daughter for the 100th time says “N is a U.” Yes, they look similar, but that’s no excuse to get it wrong more than 20x in my opinion. Yes, I can be a bit tough but I have been way too liberal in my child-rearing of her till this point (great she just came in here and found her bike we were supposed to give her on her birthday!!!). I always allowed for her to just putz around and do things at her own will. Well now, we are interviewing and testing for private schools, so now the tides are changing. Something in me got triggered. I realized I can’t be lazy to raise a successful child.
Right now, I’m trying to analyze what kind of learner my daughter is. In the process, I have screamed my head off because my expectations are so high. I keep telling myself in a Finding Nemo like trance, “she’s never seen this… she’s never seen this.” But I can’t use that forever. SHE HAS SEEN THE ALPHABETS for at least two years now!!! Hahaha.
But at the end of the day, I come to conclude that none of this has anything to do with my daughter. It has to do with me. My demons. I have to disconnect from my past and embrace the woman I am today. I’m no longer the kid that was average in school because no one encouraged anything in me other than to be pretty. More than anything, I wanted to be viewed as “smart” like my sister. Actually, I knew I was probably smarter than my sister (I think my parents knew it too… sorry hyung)… but I never tried, because things came easily for me to just pass. I suppose this is my biggest regret. I never lived up to my full potential or got to discover what I was good at or even excellent at. I was a quitter. I never looked to the end of the road to discover that hard work and effort pays hundreds folds more than quitting. That discovery only comes with age and wisdom.
I’m fortunate though. I’m not my immigrant parents who couldn’t spend the time with their kids even if they wanted to because they were working hard in a foreign land to provide for their children. I have the ability to provide the opportunities for my children that my parents did not possess. What my kids do with these opportunities are my responsibility until it becomes time for them to bear the burden of the cross on their shoulders and learn to use what weapons and lessons I’ve given them into their lives on their own accord.
I will write about what I learned about myself during homework time in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.