I’m learning a lot from my five-year-old these days. We all probably had those “wow my kid is just like me” moments. A few weeks ago, I had a “wow, my daughter is watching me” moment. Every evening I pick her up from preschool and the first thing I ask her is how her day was. That is always her queue to tell a very dramatic, animated story about her preschool life. Lately, those stories have been filled with hints of frustration and attitude. She hadn’t been getting along with one of her schoolhouse friends and apparently wasn’t happy about it.
Finally, I decided to call her teacher to get to the bottom of it. I couldn’t imagine that she was at school that upset and it had gone unnoticed. Both of her amazing teachers got on the phone with me and they immediately knew what I was talking about. They went on to let me know that they would always address the issue but my daughter’s response is consistent, “no worries, I’m ok.”
There it was! The sinking realization that I have been teaching my child not to advocate for herself! You see, for a few months, I have been frustrated about a few situations. I’ve probably said “no worries, I’m ok” a gazillion times, but when venting to my close friend I have expressed my real frustration and sometimes even sadness. I in fact was not ok.
My daughter’s teachers let me know that they have been working with her finding her voice and speaking up for herself. At that moment, I had never been so appreciative of them. I had also never been so disappointed in myself as her mommy.
That night she and I had a long conversation about expressing herself and not feeling pressure to be a pushover. After she went to bed, I had that same conversation with myself. I’m always aware that my kids are watching me, but now I’m also more aware of the things I’m instilling in them sometimes unknowingly.
As parents, we are the ones that lay the foundation for who our babies evolve into. This situation taught me that my unchecked issues are not only detrimental to me but to this little human who literally watches my every move. Our kids see the things we try to hide. They pick up our habits and while I’m sure we try to display only the positive ones; they see the toxic ones.