I gotta admit, I think some of the things that drive me insanely crazy about my children might actually be the things that make them most similar to yours truly. I suppose I thought some of my good and not-so-good traits would show-up a little bit later in their lives – you know, like when they’re horribly obnoxious teenagers stock-piled with attitude, a la moi circa 1990. Now I can see that some of what they each inherited from me has been there all along. From day one, they were born this way, just as I was too. And though I’m certain they are definitely their own, individual people, I can’t help but recognize, often daily, both fabulous characteristcs that I’m so proud they share with me, but also some flaws that I wish weren’t in the collective DNA either. Nature or nurture? Who really knows…I’ve always thought a little bit of both.
So, what is a mama to do when she recognizes her own negative traits in her daughters? Weep in agony and horror that they’ve inherited my “bad stuff?” Or do I accept that this is a parenting inevitability? Is it too late? Can I reverse some of these traits? Make them disappear? Capitalize and optimize the strengths? And down-play what I see as weaknesses that my gene pool has bestowed upon them? So many questions circling through my head. Oh, and yeah, in case you were wondering, this over-analyzing, endless deconstructing, constant mental garbage, brain-on-overload thing, yep, it’s genetic too…and I can clearly see which one of my girls is already similar to me in that regard.
Always Camera-Ready, Just Like Her Mama (shy, she is NOT! : )
I suppose the answer is this: there’s not a damn thing I can do. Seriously. We are wired the way we’re wired and except for modeling positive, respectful and intelligent emotional behavior, the rest of it is pretty much a crap shoot. I could be perfect as humanly possible each and everyday in front of my daughters. I could be endlessly patient, compromising, softspoken, well-rested, gentle and low-key. I could play that part, it would be a stretch for sure, but I could do it if I wanted to. But I honestly think that despite what would be my very best efforts to alleviate those parts of myself that come quite naturally to me, one or both of my daughters would still turn out to be insomniatic, outspoken, opinionated, loud, defiant and stubborn like their mother. Like I said, the good with the bad.
Hey, I’m not knocking myself. Believe me. I’ve got plenty of goodness in this heart of mine and lots of characteristics I’m quite proud to possess. And confidence, oh lots of confidence, which my gals ain’t lacking for sure. I don’t want to them to shy away from life. As much as it might be tough to swallow as their mother watching from the sideline, I do want them to be fearless and take risks and not back down from challenges they may face. This is incredibly important to me.
So this is what I’ve decided: that despite the fact that my daughters (probably thanks in part to their mother here) can be incredibly loud, verbal, willful, tempermental and dramatic, they can also thank me too when they are funny, smart, loyal, creative, strong, independent and trustworthy. Maybe not so bad after all, eh?
Cried thru every single swim lesson, BUT NEVER QUIT.
(and now swims like a happy fish…just like her mama!)