Monday, July 30, 2007

Devils and angels on my shoulder, Monkeys on my back

Yesterday I had a talk with Anna because our day was rolling downhill very quickly. I sat Anna down and told her that I am very tired of having to nag her about the very same things every day, and that I get very grumpy because I have to say the same things every day. BUT then I realized that it was one particular incident that I was really annoyed with, and the other things that may or may not grate my nerves on a less trying day were piling up on my very last nerve.

It's called guilt, right?

I found her upstairs and apologized for being so cranky. I explained what had happened- which was that I was really annoyed with the first thing, then everything else really got on my nerves. It wasn't her fault that I was so grumpy, and that I realized I was really just still upset from the first incident.

I explained that I understand that it can be frustrating because we have so many rules, but then I asked her:

"Don't you ever get that feeling or hear that little voice that tells you 'you better not do that!'?"

"Well, sometimes it's like in those TV shows where you have a good angel on on shoulder and a bad one on the other... and one of the says 'You should-', and that's all I hear." She smiles at me, obviously happy with herself for painting such a vivid example of the trials of a 6 year old.

To which I sat and stared in disbelief, but with a wry smile... and then I said, "Come on, give me a break... somebody's been watching too many goofy kid's shows. Look, you can't tell me that you don't listen to that voice inside of you that tells you right from wrong. We all have that voice, even mom and dad. And - if you don't like having a grumpy mommy then you have to help me out by following the rules so that I don't have to get mad because I have to repeat the same rules everyday."

I rounded the conversation of by telling her that if you love someone, you worry if whether or not you have hurt their feelings- and that was why I had come up to talk to her. Also though, you worry if you are doing the same wrong things over and over and are making them upset.

Sometimes I tell John that I am worried that I am like my mother, and in the past he has helped me realize that the crucial difference between my mother and I is the fact that I even care whether or not my children are hurting... that and I don't beat the crud out of them.

I do care about my girls and I DO want them to have a better childhood than me, and on the days when I wonder if I am like that monster even just a little bit... well, I work that much harder at knocking the devil off my shoulder and being accountable.

One day I hope I can share with my daughters that it wasn't all about me teaching them about life. They have taught me a thing or two. Each of us have our angels and devils perched on our shoulders, I guess it's all in how we handle them, literally.


Me yesterday: Nobody gets breakfast until mommy's coffee starts to brew. *yawn*

John: Oh, is that right?

Me: Oh yeee-ahhhh, I have priorities, ya know. This trip (to Reno August 16th! yeeehaw!) should be interesting because I don't know how or when when I will reach caffination each day. *Thinks to self about the possibility of sucking on a tea bag each morning, or snorting coffee grounds if need be*

John nods in agreement but then says: Caffination? I don't even know what that is. Is that even a word?

Me: Sheeeee-yah *rolls eyes*, it's a word-

Caffination- the moment in which caffeine enters one's bloodstream.


The moment in which one reaches their
"Coffee Zen".

John: *snort and a smirk* Ummmmhmmmm....

Hello, my name is Mary... and I'm a Caff head.


maggie said...

Hello my name is Margaret and I to am a caff head. Want to come over for a double cup of espresso latte with a caramel topping sometime?

Morgen said...

hello, my name is mo and I'm a caff-head.
caffination is SO a useful term!

Well, as for your daughter - I'm not a parent, but I think you're doing an awesome job. For a six year old to be able to have the "good angel on my shoulder" conversation is awesome.

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi, my name is Michelle and I'm a caff-head!

A caff-head is better than a meth-head any day! :) Hehe!

I think you're doing such a fantastic job with your daughters and that conversation with Anna is a key example!

Holly Schwendiman said...

This is amazing timing as my daughter asked me this weekend if I thought there really was a good and bad "little person" on her shoulders. I too love the innocence of their processing. We had a rough weekend at my house but today seems to be evening out some. Take a deep breath mom and know you're not alone in the trenches. ;)


kailani said...

I only drink tons of coffee when I'm at work. I need to stay on my toes for those "special" passengers. That may explain the headaches I get when I'm not working - caffine withdrawals!

tiggerprr said...

My name is tiggerprr, and i am a Caffhead.

It's so bad that when I used to be a department head at a company, my employess would come in in the moring and place a coke can on my desk and come back a bit later if they wanted something from me. LOL

Dorky Dad said...

I don't even want to MOVE until I've had my caffeine. I've thought about moving my coffee pot to my nightstand.

NOLADawn said...

Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm a caff-head. My drug of choice is Coca-Cola. ...Although, if I have time on the way to work I love to stop for a Venti Cafe' Vanilla Light Frapp WITH Whip. Signs of being a caff-head... when the old bank location on the major corner nearest to my house finally sold and signs went up that a *DRIVE-THRU* Starbucks would be going up in it's place.... you call everyone you know in jubilation. That's a caff-head.

Ash said...

I've learned to parent by not doing what my parents did. I'm always trying to keep Leila's feelings in the forefront and to remember how it felt when my mom yelled at me and how bad it made me feel inside(not just the yelling, the things she would say while yelling)

I think we have come along way from being the monsters our mothers were.

Jenn said...

Last month our well pump broke so I had no water. The closest store is half an hour away. I ate a spoonful of coffee grounds with milk instead.

Yeah. I got it bad. My name is Jenn, and I'm a caff-head.

My Unruly sounds JUST LIKE Anna...down to the little devil telling her she should.

wolfbaby said...

ahh yes i to would be a shamless caff head;)

your daughter sounds sweet just like mine;)

Kelly - PTT said...

We all have the devil and angel sides to us. It sounds to me like you did a great job of processing that fact with your daughter. Sometimes the discussions get convoluted, but eventually the message will stick.

And you're not like your mother. Sometimes I worry that I'll pass on all my worst traits (and my mom's) to my kids, too. But they get the good stuff as well. Nobody's perfect.

Keep up the great work. Your posts make me feel like a soul-sister to you sometimes.

Virginia, like the state! said...

If only more people believed in caffination! :) As for the angels on the shoulder, I have one that sits in between (perhaps perched on my head?)and says, "Just be lazy"--he tends to win out over the other two! :)

Maria said...

Hello, my name is Maria and I am a caff head. But, no way am I interested in going into recovery.

And, I wonder if all of us with not-so-great mothers worry that we are turning into them. I know that I do. Sometimes, I hear a little hitch to my voice and realize that it is hers and it frankly scares the bloody hell out of me.

Pamela said...

when you come to visit - we'll split a caffeine mainliner.

hey... with the tools you were given, you've become the excellent mother. I don't know how you managed.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Hey there!

I tagged you for the Memory Post Meme. The rules are posted at Colloquium.

Have fun (and let me know if you don't want to play so that I can tag someone else).

tiggerprr said...

Hey Mary,

I was so focused on the caffeine...I forgot to post about the little devil/angel thing. I used to have a little devil and angel. But then the little devil kicked the angel's butt and I've been naughty ever since. But, it's not may fault you see, I can't help it. :)

Daddy Forever said...

My daughter isn't as creative. When we ask her why she did something, she'll just say she forgot. That's one of her favorite answers. What did you do at school today? "I forgot." What did you have lunch? "I forgot."

Slackermommy said...

I often worry that I'm like my mother but just the fact that we worry about it already puts us ahead of our mothers. I don't think they ever thought about how their actions were affecting us. You do good, Mert, you really do.

Absolutely Bananas said...

I'm a caff-head too! It's obvious that you're a wonderful mother- keep it up!!