At some point after Adelaide was born, I read an article about how parents should stop saying "no" and redirect the conversation. I guess I should have read it a few more times as Adelaide can't get enough of telling Ryan and I "no."
If you want to take a look at yourself and how you behave, take a look at your child sometime. Its quite a sobering feeling. It makes you stop and think how you talk to your child, your spouse, and others.
For example, 95% of the time Adelaide says "please" or "thank you" to me because that is how I generally ask her for or to do things. She hardly says those words to Ryan because he doesn't use them towards anyone.
But although I have manners, I have heard my child say *with the exact feelings and meaning that I do it* "damnit" when she is frustrated with something. I do catch myself laughing from time to time as this tiny little toddler captures the essence and beauty of honest life. However I am not 100% sure that I want her exploiting that honesty at school.
I also hear her say "stop it" and "give me" all too much. So much that I am trying to be extremely aware of my own behavior and ways of asking/telling.
Before becoming a mom, I lived with relatively few regrets. And not much guilt at all. Well since becoming a mother, I feel like the guilt is often too overwhelming for my liking. Guilt for not being strict enough. Guilt for being too strict. Guilt for rocking Adelaide that extra time even though I know she is asking for it just to stay awake a little longer. Guilt for not rocking her even longer. Guilt for raising my voice. Guilt for losing my patience. Guilt for giving her that extra cookies (ah well I actually don't feel guilt over that ;) ).
I often wonder at what point does a mother lose her guilt. At what point does she give herself the benefit of the doubt. At what point does she say to herself, "hey listen you are doing the best job that you possibly can so give yourself a break." Or does that never come? Because just like in all other things, there is always room for improvement.
I hope that someday I am able to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made as a mother. I hope that my children will forgive me too. And I hope that when they become parents, they will understand how truly rewarding but difficult it is to be the best parent you can be. I hope they will always know that everything I have done and will done is with love.