I've been a little bit down lately, and leaning more towards seeing the negative in things, seeing the things I wish I had in my life instead of the things I DO have in my life. I was thinking today about the first time my daughter told me that she didn't love me anymore ...
We're a good four or five months into the "terrible three's", that *fun* stage that comes after what you thought were the terrible two's, and it's been very hard to say the least. I can still look at her little face, with those big angelic blue eyes ... and see the prescious little girl that she used to be. Now? She's a hellion. No more listening, no more cleaning up after herself, and you can just forget about respect of any kind, mister.
It's so hard. I brought home from the hospital an 8 pound literal bundle of joy, a baby who never cried, ever. Not even when she was hungry, not even when she was dirty. I'd have to check her all the time for fear she wouldn't let me know she needed a change and then she'd get a diaper rash, and to this day she never had more than two instances of rash, both of which healed quickly and with minor discomfort. She laughed early, smiled early, and loved freely.
But now? No way, dude. More easily, she groans and gripes, hands out the cold shoulder like there's no tomorrow, and don't dare expect her to be listening to anything you say. Period. There are days that I find myself sitting back and thinking, "Oh, if I had only known what this would be like, I'd never have have signed up." Never mind the fact that as soon as the thought crosses my mind, another one comes screeching along behind it ... "LIAR! You would too have signed up."
And to be honest? I would have. I would still have opted to have my daughter, even if I could look forward in time to these very days and see just what was in store for me. Why? Because I love her. I loved her before she was even born, before she was fully formed inside of me. My whole life, I felt a love for children, and a yearning for one of my own. I was born to be someone's mom, and even though it's so hard right now, I know that in the end it'll be okay.
I'll raise a girl who's attitude now will translate into strength and an ability to stand up for herself and her beliefs. A girl who's amazing ability to ignore what she doesn't want to hear will help her ignore the first time she hears her own child say "I don't love you anymore".
Perhaps one who's inner strength (and downright stubbornness) will help her deal with it better than I did that day, and maybe she'll be able to say "Well, I love you anyway," a little better than I did.
So moms? When you see all the flaws in your children, don't just try to "nip that in the bud" ... look. Really look to see your child beyond the attitude. Look to see if you can find yourself there - after all, our children learn by example. And once you've found yourself, think about how hard it is right now to deal with a miniature you. First of all, I promise you a renewed appreciation for your parents ... and then you can sit and think about whether it's so bad after all. Within limits, a little attitude and a little sass isn't such a bad thing in our kids these days. Children are so often taken advantage of, and maybe a little streak of "I-don't-think-so!" will be something good for our kids to have in the long run.
The only thing is ... Don't forget to find the balance. A sense of justice is great, a will to stand up for one's own self and one's beliefs. Even for children, because even though they are only little people, they are still people. So be realistic with yourself about your kids. They aren't perfect. None of them are. But then again ... maybe they're just the way they need to be. And while we can teach them better ways to handle things in this life ... why should we change the people they already are and mold them into the people we want them to become? We as their parents should simply be proud of the children we have, and of the people they were born to be.