Becoming a mother and suddenly having two little people watching my every move and imitating me always pushes me to evaluate my weaknesses and try to become a better person, every single minute of every single day.
One such weakness that I have been actively working on recently is my tendency to dwell in anger and bad moods. I marveled at Anna's ability to be a holy freaking terror in the morning, get a good lunch and a good nap, and wake up fresh as a daisy, laughing and ready to enjoy the rest of her day. But then I would find myself post-nap still upset from the morning and not quite ready to forgive and forget. I realized, however, that my continued bad mood was ruining the rest of the day...was this behavior any better than Anna's morning tantrums? I feel like it's even worse, given that she is 2 years old and I am nearly 30!!
I have realized that a very crucial component to all of us enjoying life together is to be willing to let go and give the day a fresh start. That old saying rings true, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." What productive thing comes out of punishing everybody for missteps in the morning? It's not like my day is any better for a few more hours of stewing.
I have been committed recently to moving forward. We ALL make mistakes, and it's my job as a mother to help smooth out the wrinkles. I have been working on my sense of perspective and controlling my temper, and if I can, I help Anna work through her mistakes and try to teach her how to fix them. If we have a particularly bad morning, I have learned to interrupt the pattern, reset the day, and figure out a way to end the day on a good note. And sometimes it doesn't work. But most of the time, we are able to end the day with smiles and hugs.
There have even been a few times recently where Anna and I are at serious odds with each other, and I just sink down on my knees in front of her, look her gently in the eyes, and tell her that I want to have a good day with her. I ask for a hug and ask if we can start over. I apologize for losing my temper and I ask for an apology from her. We hug, exchange kisses, I take a few deep breaths, and we both start over with a smile.
In addition to these fresh starts, if we run into snags or issues, I always dedicate a few minutes for mental self-reflection. What happened? What was my role in this? What systems need to be developed to help streamline our lives and make our days easier? What can I do to help our girls be active parts of the solution? How can I react better and be a better role model?
I know the mistakes aren't always going to be this easy. I know we are going to graduate from a cup of spilled milk to major mistakes that might span weeks, months, or even years. But I am committed to guiding these little girls the best that I can, and I hope that they are willing to help guide me too. And in the meantime, we will just keep giving each other more fresh starts.