I know. It’s a horrible thing to say, but when I’m self-absorbed, my thoughts get distorted and the Evil Mom tape starts playing in my mind. I begin to believe my three charming children are doing everything they can to irritate, embarass, or distract me from the important things I need to do.
Hopefully sooner than later, I remember that the most important thing I need to do is parent those children I love with all my heart (somewhere down deep in there).
For such moments, I’ve tucked away in my wee little brain some mantras to counter the Evil Mom impulse. I hope you find them helpful too.
When Evil Mom thinks, “Why does (s)he do this to me?” try thinking:
- This isn’t about me. This is about a child who needs . . . (attention? food? love? discipline?)
- This is normal for a _____ year old. Toddlers throw tantrums. Teens push buttons. Some one-year olds bite. Five-six year olds are “me” centered. We still need to teach them what’s appropriate, but first we meet them where they are.
- Mistakes are permitted here. We must offer forgiveness for our children and for ourselves. There may be consequences, but also grace.
When Evil Mom laments, “This is terrible!” tell yourself:
- This is perfect. It’s a perfect time to try that new parenting technique. It’s a perfect time to learn how to clean crayon off the wall, or what happens when you shoplift. It’s a perfect time for my tween to learn about responsibility and consequences. Better sooner than later, when the stakes get higher.
Finally, when Evil Mom worries, “What am I going to do?” ask instead:
- Who do I want to be right now? I can be a criticizer–I do that well–or I can be a teacher. I can be a crazy screaming lady (also quite talented), or I can be cool and collected. I can be serious, funny, sarcastic, or silly. Often who I choose to be matters more than what I do. Take a moment to decide who you want to be before you swoop in to act. It can make a powerful difference.
Today, after wallowing in self for many days, I re-play the mantras that help me parent with love and put Evil Mom out of commission. It works for me.