My proudest parenting moment happened when my oldest child was 2 1/2 years old. We were doing the weekly grocery shopping trip to feed 12 people and have made it through the store successfully, all that was left was to pay for the food. He started making requests for candy bars and things of that sort, you know the little kid crack that they place at eye level forcing moms to cave in and buy an additional item at the last second. I of course, said no to this demand and offered him instead an organic piece of fruit to which he responded by glaring at me.
Just as I thought we were getting ready to leave the register attendant informed me she had made a mistake would need a manager’s approval to void the purchase and then re-scan every item. I stared at her blankly, I looked at my son, I looked back at her and asked her to move as quickly as humanly possible.
The situation was a ticking time bomb, my son was hungry￼￼ and tired. Of course, it played out exactly how I thought it would my son became exasperated and then fussy. A sales associate in an attempt to be helpful got face-to-face with him in his little car shopping cart and said in the most demeaning childish voice ”NO SAD FACES IN THE STORE. NO SAD FACES IN THE STORE.”
My son stops screaming long enough to hiss at her and then continued crying. The young woman dumbstruck looked at me to which I responded with a mocking smile.
It became very apparent to me at that juncture that this child was my child. The nature versus nurture ballot had been cast and my dark sense of humor had rubbed off upon this young child. To this day he will hiss at somebody if they’re doing something he doesn’t like.￼￼￼
You may ask yourself ”Why is she sharing this amazing story?”
To which I would respond ”Because it clearly illustrates the point that our bambinos take on the personas we put out into the world.”
This is a heavy responsibility to take on. It puts a huge emphasis on what we say and do in front of our kids. And now that we are in full-on lockdown mode with them 24/7 we must be all the more awake to the power we hold over our minnimes. What mood are you cultivating within your self that is being shared with ever-present eyes and ears that hold you so high on a pedestal?
I recently asked that there be no more conversation about the pandemic at the table or in spaces where the children are playing. They are not emotionally or cognitively aware enough to take on the gravity of this situation. When they ask why something can’t happen I say “because people are sick so we are choosing to stay home” or “because I love you and want to spend time with you.” They need not know that I have thought about finding someone to sneeze in my mouth so I could be quarantined for two sweet silent weeks without them or that many people they love are in unsafe or unsure circumstances.
In these times just be aware of what it is you are cultivating in your home. Be aware of the mood this time will carry in their memories. Will it be something they laugh or cry about? Will it be a time to bring you closer or tear you apart?
My hope for you is that you find a way a celebrate and create joy at this time. To let lose the expectations of how things were in the past, and to make the best of what is at hand. Nothing else matters right now but that.
And if the going gets tuff know you are not alone. If nothing else I too suffer that same purgatory fate with no clear light at the end of the tunnel and am having to reprioritize and renegotiate my time and needs.
And remember: YOU GOT THIS!