do not do as I say

by humanmama on December 7, 2012

Three things happened this week that made me think: oh crap.

One: Helena apologized to friends for the state of our house. “Sorry for the mess,” she said, as a seven and twelve-year-old played in our dining room.

Two: After spending time with grandparents, Helena and Lilly came home and said, sadly, and with a forlorn look in their eyes, “Barack Obama wants to steal our money.”

Three: Helena came up to me in her puffy coat and said “Does this make me look fat?”

I thought a lot about these three items. About how much we say as parents and how much those little buggers hear and take in. About this article by my friend and how we as people and as women are so terribly self-deprecating. And about New Years and resolutions.

So I have an early list for you. Here are my New Year’s resolutions.
1. ) Say “No” more. Not over committing means not being stressed. It also means missing some things. It also means not screaming at the kids to get their shoes on because we’re late. Because I overcommitted. Because I couldn’t say no. See?

This is a way of setting up boundaries, so it goes with my goals of talking to loved ones about what’s okay to talk to my kids about. The Christmas story? Fine. School, ballet, gymnastics, music, American Girl Dolls? All great topics of conversation. Politics? Circumcision? Gay marriage? Nope. That’s for the Carp and I to discuss with them. You? No.

2. ) Say “sorry” less. I am a nice person. I am a good person. The people who need to know this already do. Aside from them, continuously apologizing for things gives others permission to feel like things are my fault. (“Oh, sorry,” when someone else runs into my leg with their shopping cart. “Sorry!” when my in-laws offer to babysit and I forget my keys and run back into the house. “Ooh, sorry!” in a text to my husband when I’m out at an appointment or the grocery store a half hour later than I said I’d be.)

Apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is good and necessary. Constantly saying sorry gives other people permission to be mad at you and/or blame you even when things weren’t your fault or the situation was beyond your control. It made me realize that my “sorry”s are making my kids feel like they need to be sorry too. “Sorry for the mess!” killed me. Sorry isn’t needed all the time. And it makes people feel uneasy. And, it’s really annoying.

3. ) Get healthy in eating and moving and for GOD’S SAKE QUIT TALKING ABOUT MY DAMN WEIGHT! It’s a terrible habit than I hope to kick this year. If I do, I’ll not only be overcoming my family model of hating our bodies, I’ll also be displaying an incredibly healthy role model for my kids. What’s better than that?!

Helena said she heard the “does this make me look fat” comment on TV, which is good because I don’t think I have ever said that. A least not out loud. But I have definitely uttered more than my share of Lamentations over my weight, wrinkly skin, sags, stretch marks–and enough. I know: everyone has flaws. Constantly calling mine out makes me think I am telling others “I know, I need to lose weight!” but I realize that no one cares what I look like except for me. Everyone else just feels worse when I call out my own perceived flaws. And if there are three people in this world I would not want to EVER feel bad about their looks, weight, height, skin, hair, or wrinkles, it’s my kids.

Okay kids: one more time. I am so sorry. But I’m getting better. And I’m committed to it.

I know you’re probably thinking of Christmas and Hanukkah more right now, but give it a thought: what are your resolutions? Post me one below. Make it good.

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be a good example to me, ma.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dana December 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

Ooohhh! Those are good ones! Give me time to ponder…but maybe talk to AJ on something rather than voicemail?

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aj December 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Oh, I wish buddy! We keep trying!

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