MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

It’s a common understanding that part of good parenting involves modelling good behaviours. Children are imitators, so you can’t tell them to do something but not do it yourself. The mentality of “do as I say, not as I do” is simply unacceptable. You have to lead by example because your children look to you as their role models, they learn how to behave, act and deal with life situations by watching you. If you want your kids to have good manners, show them by saying YOUR pleases and thank-yous. If you don’t want your kids swearing, don’t curse in front of them, even if a moron cuts in front of you and nearly side swipes your car. Your children are a reflection of you, in the emotional and behavioural sense. Effectively, you are on public display, open for view and imitation twenty-four-seven.

In writing all that, I can admit that I am not a great role model. I act on whims, with logical and rational reasoning often taking a backseat. I can be a sarcastic, pessimistic, undisciplined, glass-half-empty, stubborn type of person. My epitaph would probably read “Consistent in her inconsistencies”.

So I can’t really complain when my seven-year-old throws her wet towel on the floor or grumble when I have to unravel underwear from her inside out pants while sorting laundry. I can’t call her a slob because I would essentially be calling myself one, seeing I can’t adhere to my own rules.

I’m constantly nagging my kids to drink more water but I happily drink coffee and tea instead. Talk about being a hypocrite!

How can I scold my daughter for being a hoarder, tucking away her possessions and never being able to find anything when she is a by-product of my habits? My father in-law just the other day asked where the old relic of a juicing machine he gave me was, and seriously, it could have been misplaced in the linen closet for all I knew!

And when my toddler started to point his tiny finger at me and say, “I want you to do it right this minute young lady!”, who do I have to blame for that?

Like most parents, I make sure my children feel loved and supported, are well-fed, dressed in clean clothes, help with school readers, try to volunteer where I can, take them to social events and extra-curricula activities.

I know that I’m not a terrible mother, but I struggle to focus and I find it exhausting being mindful as a parent. Despite it all, I continue to try.

This week when I found myself with homework that tested my patience and ability, I was quick to chuck a self-pity party and throw in the towel. I had spat the dummy and thrown an embarrassing toddler tantrum. My daughter started homework that same week and when prompted, her responses fell between “I don’t want to do it” and “it’s too hard”. Coincidence much?

I had to dig deep and do some self-reflection. What was I teaching my kids? What effects were my actions having on them? Am I being the role model that I want to be? How am I shaping my children for the future?

If I want my daughter to face challenges with aplomb, to learn from mistakes and not be afraid of trying, to be resilient and persevere, I had to pull my finger out and set the example.

So I sat down, batted away the self-doubt and attempted to do my homework. I tried and failed multiple times. I practiced and practiced until I produced a piece that I felt content with. I had done my homework to the best of my ability. I gave it a go.

Not surprisingly, my daughter also decided to give her homework a go.

The results got me thinking… maybe I’ll become a vegetarian. Do you reckon my children will want to eat their veggies then?

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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BASKET CASE

I’m in Struggletown. Have you heard of it? I’ve been there ever since entering parenthood and found myself in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. Thought I was a transient visitor but I’ve unwittingly become a local tenant. On occasion, I’ve forced myself outside its’ boundaries but ultimately, I stay entrapped within.

I often wonder what I’d surrender for a good night’s sleep (I’m talking deeper than the Mariana Trench sleep), and I’ve decided that I’d offer just about anything….money (who needs it!), fame (I’ve got none), coffee (*shrug* maybe I’ll become a tea sommelier). That’s how much I value my sleep.

As a mother of a toddler who likes to torture me by being awake during the wee hours of the morning, sleep for me is a wild-goose chase.

So it comes as no surprise that I constantly find myself in unfavourable situations. It’s almost expected of Struggletown residents.

On one unfortunate morning, my synapses must have misfired because it wasn’t until we were all strapped in the car and my hands resting on the steering wheel that I realised something was amiss.

“Where the heck are the car keys?!” I say aloud.

I pat down my pockets, I look in bags, I check that I’m not sitting on them and then the panic sets in. We have fifteen minutes until the school bell rings.

I get out of the car and sigh with relief that I left the garage door unlocked. There are some advantages with being absent-minded. I call forth my inner zen and aimlessly look around the house. They’re not in the usual place on the dining table. A quick glance at the time tells me there is only ten mins left. I do not want to get a late pass. That’s just a slippery slope.

“Mandy! Help me find the keys or we’ll be late!” I yell.

Mandy goes off to her bedroom to look for the keys. Why they’d be there I’m not sure. I don’t question the logic of a six-year-old.

Henry is just running around, hands in the air and making head noises, accurately mimicking my panicked thoughts.

I’ve looked everywhere. In my frenzy, I overturn the washing basket. I cringe at the mess. I spent all last night folding those damn clothes. Such a wasted effort.

I finally find the wretched keys inside my shoes by the door. I blame Henry’s fondness for posting.

We race to school. Mandy and I run for class. I’m struggling with Henry on one arm and Mandy’s school bag on the other. Those darn bags are so heavy they could be used as weights.

“Mum! The bell’s going!!” Mandy exclaims.

“Run faster then! We’re almost there!” I puff out.

Sweat trickles down my back and my face is flushed. I’m a bloody mess. Exercise and I just aren’t friends.

Mandy zips through just as Ms Frean is closing the classroom door.

“Almost too late Mandy,” Ms Frean admonishes.

So what was the life lesson here?

Car keys are never in the washing basket so don’t overturn them.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/