Friday, July 23, 2010

do you respond or react?

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum

I have really been reflecting on this piece of parenting advice that was given to me a month or so ago. She and I were talking about the challenges and joys that go with having young kids at home and she in her ever so delicate way said this: Being a responsible parent, delicately shaping who your kids will be some day is hard. Try to remember that good parenting is about responding not reacting.

Those words have really stuck with me. Respond don't react. I never realized how much I react, when I, as the parent, should be responding! I also never realized how much I "ride" my kids for reacting instead of responding when they are frustrated or mad.  Well self where in the world do you think they have learned how to deal with conflict and stress: {Look in the mirror} I am setting the stage for how they will work through hard times through their lifetimes, I don't want them to react. I want them to be able to stop and get perspective and work through it: Respond.
There is such a difference between the actions of those two choices: Will I react or respond?!

Being a mom can be so hard and stressful and by bedtime it is easy to fall into reacting {GET IN BED! ARGHHH!!!!!!} instead of stopping and responding. It really is a matter, for me anyways, of controlling my own temper and impatience, what a lesson this has been {and continues to be}for self improvement.  It is SO hard, but every morning we get up and we start again, vowing to do better today.

Every once and while we say "how much" we love each other, which we create as we go and it always changes (thanks Paige for the fun idea!)so last night Cohen said he loved me "to California, Texas, to the moon, off the diving board, through the pool, down the slide and back and that's a lot!"  Oh if he only knew it was so much bigger than that. 
As the storm moved in last night and cracks of thunder rattled the windows and the strikes of lightening were close enough that  I swear the hairs on my arms were standing up with electricity, Kadence cried out for her mommy. Little did she know I was waiting for it, almost longing for it; needing it. That moment when her body is almost part of mine and our breathing is in sync As we laid on the couch together, the weight of her body laying on mine, arms still wrapped lightly around my neck, the smell of her hair, tussled under my nose as she laid, snuggled on my chest, safe again with her mommy I wondered if she'll ever know, if either one will ever know, the worry, wonder, self discovery, thought, hurt and love that goes into being their mommy everyday.

Then again maybe that is another one of those parenting tid bits that I am the mom, you worry, doubt, wonder, question, grow, change, love, and worry some more but all your kids know is:  you love {and hope it's enough}


The Preister's said...

great post!

I always worry that my kids will never truly KNOW how much I love them. I mean, I tell them a katrillon times a day, and try to show them all the time...but will they ever really get it? I think not, because as I share these wonderful experiences with my kids, I myself think, I am certain I am more in love with my kids than my mom was with me. But, then I look at the way my mother is with me yet to this day...and I know that is not true! One day they will feel this way about their own kids, and doubt I could have ever loved them as much as they love their own! I guess it is a circle...and the fact that we can love sooooo much is a testimate to how much we were loved. THANKS MOM!!!!

Paige said...

Phew. Well, that was a tear jerker! Whether you intended it to be or not, that's how it struck me! :) Your kids are lucky to have you...

Kim said...

Jennifer I have those same thoughts and hope my kids grow up knowing how much i loved them and tryed to do things right!