“Come on, Mummy, come on” she would call anytime I wasn’t moving fast enough for her liking or not giving her what she wanted. It wasn’t until I heard myself calling out to the cat, “come on Nigella, I don’t have all day” that I realised where she had learnt her new favourite phrase.
It was the first time I saw the mirror that my Little Miss was holding up to me, learning from me and even worse, copying me. It is frightening to think that my child is trying to be just like me. Doesn’t she know I have faults? Isn’t there someone more interesting or with less faults who she could try and be like? It’s those insecurities that surface. The ones deep down that we usually keep hidden from view lest anyone find out we aren’t perfect. As a mummy blogger I share so much of myself but still, there are things we all keep hidden.
But our kids embrace our imperfections. They don’t know that we have faults because to them, we are all they know. Mummy’s lumps and bumps are the perfect cushions for cuddling up to after all. But still it plays on your mind. What am I teaching my kids to be? Am I enough?
The latest phrase that Little Miss has picked up from me is “just five more minutes”. Usually used when she is having some TV time and we tell her it is time for dinner/bath/bed. “Just five more minutes, mummy.” I think of all the times I have said to her “Mummy just needs five more minutes to finish this email” or “If you can give mummy five minutes in bed then we can get up and play together”. And now she has turned it back on me. My simple request for a little time to do those mummy things I need to do is now her come back. I have been beaten at my own game.
And our kids can also teach us things about ourselves that we never take the time to stop and notice. A recent visit to daycare for a parents afternoon tea saw me witness an incident between Little Miss and two of the boys in her class. It basically involved Little Miss using Little Boy 1 as a henchman when Little Boy 2 took some of “her” Lego she had been playing with. Much to my horror at the thought I was raising a ball breaker, or even worse a damsel in distress. The mum of one of the Little Boys was also there and we shared a laugh about how different boys and girls are.
Where are they learning this behaviour? At home, from us. I have taught Little Miss that I am the boss, because day to day, I am and have to be the boss or we would just get nothing done. I also tell her that daddy is the boss, and she completely respects him, but he just isn’t around as much making those day to day decisions about where we go, what we do and how we behave. Our daughter is watching those interactions and forming her world view based on the everyday. How mummy and daddy interact with each other, not that I use hubby as my henchman for anything!
Is the mirror the kids hold up to us a bad thing? Or is it a chance to reflect on who we are and try to be the best version of ourselves for our kids? To embrace our flaws and teach our kids that perfection isn’t attainable, or even desirable, and that we are all enough. Is it our chance to learn about ourselves and teach our kids that change and self development are positive things, not something to be afraid of.
I certainly wasn’t aware of the mirror image of me that my daughter is trying to reflect until she shone it straight into my eyes. Even though we know our kids need us, it’s quite humbling to realise that you are the most important person in someone else’s life, so much that they are mirroring you everyday. Of course that is all our kids know but still it is quite amazing to think about the influence we have over them, and them over us.
Have your kids shone the mirror on you lately? Have they come out with any of your lines parroted back to you?
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