I always thought it’s better to teach my Daughter by example than preach. Of course I have my moments when I go on and on about something which I know she barely listens but nevertheless it doesn’t stop me from giving a looong lecture. But in the end I always try to focus on doing things the right way knowing how closely she pays attention to details.
She knows I’m trying to loose weight and I make no secret about it. I tell her when I cheat and she knows it when I’m being good. She knows when I’m high with enthusiasm and these days she also understands when I’m struggling. Now you might ask, what I’m trying to achieve by sharing my personal struggle with my 8 year old. To me this was a conscious decision. I deliberately share because I want her to be aware of a healthy lifestyle. Apart from sowing the seeds of regular exercise and healthy eating, I also want her to know it’s fine to have bad days but we need to move on and not give up. My mum thinks Daughter hardly understands all that I’m trying to explain but I differ in my opinion. I know she doesn’t understand the bigger picture that I’m desperately trying to show right now, to her she’s the boss of my schedule. She thinks she’s in charge. It gives her great joy to tell me no tv time if I’ve not exercised, etc. But I’m sure she’ll understand my perseverance very soon. She’ll appreciate hard work when she sees her parents working hard no matter what the cause.
The other thing that I’ve consciously tried to practice is dealing with my stress in a better way. Some time back, I felt I was always on edge and yelling a lot. I lost my patience at the drop of a hat. That’s when I asked myself, what am I teaching her ?? That when you are having a bad day, yell and that’ll solve the problem. If you are stressed then yell and the others should bear it because you are having a bad day. Is that how I want a little child to think. Do I need her to study my expression and first judge whether I’m having a bad day before coming to me for any help/talk. NO !! No screamed all over my head. That’s when I tried working on my patience and letting a lot of baggage go. And it helped me as a person and definitely as a mum.
I’m known for speaking my mind. God help you if you ever mess with my loved ones. I always stood up for my loved ones. It gave me a lot of happiness when I see her standing up for friends or when she sees something wrong.
So I was really focusing on doing things that I thought were right so that inadvertently she would be steered in the right direction. Atleast that’s what I was hoping for. I was happy with myself because even though the reason of trying to change was to be a better mum but I was really enjoying a much more lighter, carefree, happy me. So to me it was a win win situation.
Yesterday night when I was tucking her in bed, she was talking to me about a random incident in school. I was getting her clothes ready for the morning and kind of had half an ear to her story. Suddenly I heard something’s that I didn’t like which made me keep the other tasks at hand and totally focus on what she was telling me.
Her story went somewhat to the effect that a classmate was a little mean to her and she chose to ignore it because if she said something back then that would hurt the classmate. I was taken aback. Of course you should be considerate to other people’s feelings but not by being hurt yourself. That’s exactly what I told her. Next what she said will have me thinking for a very long time. She told me with a very serious face, “But mommy that’s what you always do. You never show when you are hurt. You just smile but I know you also feel sad.” I honestly didn’t know how to react. I blinked and gulped but no words came out. This gave her further opportunity to elaborate on the point she was trying to make. I was dumbfounded by her sensitivity. Of course I quickly regained my composure and tried being honest. I admitted that yes I have trouble speaking up for myself but I’m getting better. While she had one example of her witnessing something that was directed towards me and I didn’t say anything, I told her little incidents where I did speak up for myself.
She’s still little and that made her happy. She understood it’s important to speak up for oneself and that’s not selfish or mean. We should never accept disrespect or bad behavior from others. Atleast for now she got the message.
While one part of me was happy after getting first hand proof that kids do watch and learn but there was a part of me which also made me realize once again, parenting is a tough job. While I congratulated myself that she’s definitely picking up traits that we display but it also made me realize that I’m being watched. Every step of the way. It just made me realize how transparent I’m to my 8 year old and I better watch my ways.