I recently read an article about the effects a Mother’s words & actions can have on a child’s self esteem and it seems as though I owe you an apology.
As you grow up you will do what I do, you will be me until you learn to be you. It’s not a bad thing, its natural in fact, but you’ll hit the age of 15 and realize that some of the things that I believe are not things that you’ll choose to believe. On our long journey from here to there it is my job to encourage you, teach you, and protect you. But sometimes I make mistakes, and the mistake that I’ve made is repeating bad habits that were passed down to me.
Sometimes my darling you are challenging. You can and do scream often, demand all of my attention, and throw your sippy cups across the coffee table when you are angry with me. You throw all 25 pounds of your body on the floor and stick your tush up in the air in protest, you give yourself time outs on the stairs, and you follow me from room to room complaining of the injustice that you feel. You are supposed to do these things, because you are transitioning from baby to toddler- and frankly I expect nothing more or less from you. But every so often when Mommy finds a willing adult to listen, I complain about your complaints. I paint your personality with wide strokes- as something negative- when truthfully you are wonderful. I’ll say that you are sassy or a mini dictator, and that isn’t fair… it’s not at all who you are.
You are vocal and victorious. You are sweet and smart. You are beautiful and full of giggles and smiles. You are curious and sharp, gentle and quite, calm and studious. Who you are my sunshine girl, is perfect in every possible way and that’s what I should say when I speak of you. As you grow up I want the words that I speak in front of you, to others, and about you to be words that truly depict you and words that are positive and proud- because that is who you are. I never want my words, my fears, my own self esteem issues to become yours. If I define you as angry, difficult, demanding, and self centered then that is exactly how you will define yourself. So forgive me Sunny- I’m still learning how to be your Mommy.
Now- it should be said my love, that you have your moments and yes some of them are epic. But you know what? It shows passion. You fight for what you believe in, and that is a great attribute. You contort your little limbs into a furry of PASSION, and while that sometimes makes me nervous when we’re in public, I know you’ll soon learn just when and where that passion must be released. So, while can’t promise you that I’ll always get this right, I can promise you that I’m learning to think before I speak about you.
Maybe next time I’m asked how you are I will answer by saying GREAT! I’ll tell people how you dance to your favorite songs in the car and sing along sometimes. I’ll tell them how you like to count to the number three by saying 1,2,3 GO!!!!!2,3,2,3,2,3- and when I try to tell you 1,2,3,4,5 you say “No Mommy”- as if I got it all wrong. I’ll tell them how you love “clean up time” and ask for your friends by name. I’ll speak of your new found love of cereal, and how this weekend we had to buy you a dishwasher safe Starbucks cup with a straw- because you are a “big girl” and have rejected all of your sippy cups. I’ll tell them how ironically your favorite color is yellow- which is perfect because it is the color of happiness and of course Sunshine. And then when it seems I have nothing left to say I’ll tell them how you are my whole heart and how I’m still searching for the right words to define you- you who is bigger, brighter, and more powerful then the very yellow sun.
Love your still trying to get it all right, Mommy