Well, kids are always listening. Especially when you don’t want to them to. However, if you ask them to put on their shoes or put their toys away their attention apparently evaporates into thin air. This weekend I had made the discovery that my internal dialog was not matching the impression I was giving my children.
Are your words conveying something you don’t feel?
I have been conveying a message in words and actions, which made my daughter feel that taking her to sports, activities and doing the things a mom does, where a bother to me. This was never my intention and something that once I realized I was doing, broke my heart.
It was a super busy weekend with back to back sports games for both of my children. In addition, we were scheduled to bring snacks for both teams. For days I had been trying to coordinate schedules with my husband, who was working.
I guess, without thinking about it, my manner and how I discussed the upcoming events sounded rushed, worried and annoyed. Once everything was planned out, it all went great and we really a lot of fun. However, my daughter kept apologizing to me for the busyness and hectic pace of the day.
The first time she said it I thought it was odd.
“Mommy, “she said, “I am so sorry you have to do all this.” That seemed like a silly statement to make. Didn’t she know I don’t have to do this? I want to do this.
A few minutes later, while we were retrieving snacks for game 2, she said it again. This time I realized. Something I did or said gave her the impression this is a bother. That being with her, watching her play and doing things for her was nothing but an annoyance to me. All at once it hit me I made my daughter feel this way. How had I given her this impression? Something I said, my off handed complaints, I didn’t even think about how this must have sounded to her. Total. Mom. Fail.
After the 3rd apology, my heart broke. I pulled her aside and talked to her about it. Told her how much I love doing these things. How much I love her. I live for spending moments like this with her and how I just love being her mom. Even though it was a busy day, I love every minute of it and would do it all again. My favorite part of life is spending moments like this with her.
I hope these words erased whatever damage my unthinking actions and rushed complaints might have started in her. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, school, and extra-curricular activities, we forget to look at our actions from the outside.
We are so caught up in the moment of getting things done we don’t realize the message our busyness, our body language and our tone can convey to our children.
I did not. Not until my daughter started to apologize to me for needing me to do the things a mom does. Somehow, I made my daughter feel guilty for needing me. She was saying she is sorry for making me into the thing I enjoy and value more than anything in the world, being her mom.
This was an eye-opening experience for me and I hope one I can correct with time. Like most mom’s I know, my children mean the world to me. If that message is not coming across then well… I am failing them as a mom and need to make some adjustments quick.
Are your words coming out in a way you don’t intend? Did your body language convey something to your children that you we’re not aware of? If you have had an experience like this, how have you corrected your behavior? What was your circumstance? Please share your story in the comments.