Wanna know a secret? I was a tough babysitter.
Honestly - I could be pretty evil. Telling the little rugrats to sit down! and eat! and listen to me! and go to bed!
I'm betting that if you're reading this and if you know me in real life, you're probably in a bit of a shock right now.
What?! Amy?! Mean?! No way!
Just ask Hubby. I don't even think he realized how strict I could be until just a few years back when he and I went to visit my elderly grandparents at their home. We visited during lunch time, and I was very concerned to make sure they were eating enough. I also took note of all the signs the day nurse had put up around their house, reminding them to take their pills and such. So of course I was then all Strict Nurse Lady telling them to take their pills! do their exercises! and eat enough food!
Hubby knew right then that, when we had kids, I was definitely going to be the lead disciplinarian.
And then... dah, dah, DAH.....
Mama's in the Hood, 'Yo.
I am the first to admit - I can be pretty hard on Sweetie. I can easily lose my patience with her (again - I KNOW! - Me. Sweet lil' Amy with the usual patience of a saint. Loosing my ever lovin' mind when confronted with my stubborn pre-schooler).
BUT! I have to say that, more and more, I feel very defensive toward Sweetie if it gets to the point where Hubby is raising his voice at her too. Even though I just took the same tone with her and he's only trying to help me get her to listen. Even though I'm completely worn down from fighting with her myself. I still get this gut feeling of, Hey! Don't yell at her! She's only 4-years old! She doesn't understand!
I guess it takes hearing the angry voice coming from a different person to put me in my own place of understanding and compassion.
This Dr. Jekyll and Mommy Hyde Syndrome I suffer from applies to other personal relationships as well. For instance, there are some people in my life whom I love dearly, regardless of the fact that they may or may not have some - let's say - quirky characteristics. I, in fact, have no problem joking around about any given friend's "unique" qualities.
(Hey - I never said I was proud of my behavior, now did I?)
BUT! Woe be to he who quips a similar remark against the quirky behavior in my presence.
Don't you dare pick on my friend, you hear me?! I can do it - but you JUST. CAN'T.
(No, I don't actually go through with verbalizing these thoughts in most cases. But, boy, am I sure thinking them!)
Anyway, in terms of raising Sweetie - I hope I'm able to listen to myself and to her more closely as time goes on. I hope I'm able to slow down, take a deep breath, and help Sweetie get through whatever loathsome chore I'm trying to get her to complete at the moment. Instead of, you know, lording over her, demanding that she just DO IT! And be quick about it! And - for the love of all that is holey* and good - stop whining already!
New Family Rule** - Sweetie will stop whining so Mommy doesn't feel the need to yell so much. And vice versa.
Now - let's see if we can manage that, m'kay?
*Yes, I did mean to spell that h-o-l-e-y. As in - Yummy Swiss Cheese!
** By the by - our recently added Family Rule is still kickin' major tushie. Yes, I find myself reminding her a lot, "What's the rule?" But at that point she pretty much just gives me a defeated look and goes about eating her meal.
Now if we could only get her to eat more than just a little bit for lunch when she's at school.