Today I am influencing not only my husband and children but others I come into contact with. And that influence is mostly done by example. I have to ask myself, “what example did I set this morning when I was around my teens this morning as they got ready for school? Was I frazzled or calm?” I thought about that after the first five left for high school and only my 13 year old was left at home. Someday she would be a mother and her example is me.
It’s pretty crazy when you think about it. Their brains are like little computers that take in all the data from their day. My daughter, and the other teens, are learning how to be a parent from watching Tom and I every single day. Whoa!
This morning was pretty typical around here these days. It’s crazy getting six teens out the door for school in just one hour. I get up 15 minutes before everyone else to start setting out their daily regime of vitamins, making protein shakes with greens and oatmeal. Yes, they really do eat all of that! Then setting out lunches that we’ve made the night before and talking, lots of talking, going on. A mix of English and Russian and it’s very loud!
Today I realized that the 7 days worth of cookie bars in the freezer was gone after only 5 days. The old me would have lost it and after they left I would have been upset about the whole morning. This morning I exclaimed, “oh no!” They all looked at me like what? I said, “we have to do something. I think we have a mouse problem, a big mouse problem.” They all looked at me like I was losing it. Vlad said, “what mouse problem”. (Think in very heavy Russian accent and tone). I said, “we have to buy some really big mouse traps because our mice are so big and strong that they opened the freezer door and ate 12 cookie bars that were supposed to go in lunches. We have to do something quick before they eat all of our food.” They all looked at me for a second then Vlad started laughing and so did the rest of them. Then I just said, “hey guys, the cookie bars are for all of you for lunches. When one or two eat them, that means no one gets them in their lunch.” That was it. No lost temper, they got the message and everyone left for school laughing.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that has a bad parenting day. Anyone else lose their temper from time to time? The thing is, I need to be careful, every day, with how I act and react. Teens will push your buttons. It’s a game with them. Vlad will push and push and push until he gets me to react. In the beginning I reacted swift and furious. Now we both laugh because we know the game and he knows I won’t play it anymore. And as I learn to curb my quick temper, he is learning to curb his as well.
My daughters will be mothers one day. How do I want them to parent my grandchildren? That is the example I need to set every day. It’s definitely not easy. I realize more and more that I got my parenting from my parents who could have set better examples. It’s been a lifetime of deciding to parent differently and try to figure out which way is best. Most of what I’ve learned is through trial and error – lots of error. My older children will attest to that I’m sure.
Today I realized that it has to be a daily decision. How do I want to parent today? What example do I want to set for not only my teens, but the other people that I will come into contact with today. Keeping it present in my mind so I actually think about how I am instead of just being a participant in circumstances.
It’s easy for me to blame circumstances for my behavior. These teens can give me all sorts of excuses. Believe me, stubborn Ukraine teens are the best at that. But it’s still on me. My reaction is solely my responsibility, not theirs. It’s my choice on how I react to them and their words and actions.
And it’s up to me to teach them, through my words and actions, how to be a responsible adult and parent one day.
So as my daughter left to catch the bus I gave her this nugget this morning. People will follow your example….Set a good one today! And I’m going to take my own advice.
This is Simply My Opinion.