Mister Rogers to the Rescue (again…)

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During the period of introspection before and after writing yesterday’s post, I happened to pick up a little book of quotes from Mister Rogers.  Jack bought it for me when he was on a trip with his grandparents, knowing that I love Mister Rogers with abiding devotion that some people only save for their Lord.

My bible.

My bible.

I thought about Jack picking out the little book.  I remembered him presenting it to me when he returned from his trip, how proud and thoughtful he was about it.

He had written in the front cover, “To Mom and Daddy.  Jack.  Love.”

I opened it to this page, which I thought was appropriate for the particular moment in my life:

“. . .  in the long, long trip of growing, there are stops along the way.  It’s important to know when we need to stop, reflect, and receive.  In our competitive world, that might be called a waste of time.  I’ve learned that those times can be the preamble to periods of enormous growth.”

These words seemed particularly wise to me.  Maybe I’m on the brink of growing and learning as a mom.

What I did stop and reflect on was trying to see and feel things from Jack’s point of view when he is having a tantrum.  Usually, I am so blind with my own anxiety and rage during his episodes, that it is hard for me to emphasize much with what he is going through.

He must be so frustrated.  He might even feel estranged from the love of his mom which at times probably does not feel all that unconditional.

Yikes.  It sounds awful to admit that.  But it’s true.

Poor Jack is such a guinea pig for me.  Some things we have gotten spot on, but for the most part it is a huge game of trial and error when it comes to parenting him.  There is a lot that I have gone through with him to which I will not have to subject Emily.

Being a type A perfectionist, it galls me that I’ve made mistakes as a mom, and to know that I will make even more.  Often these mistakes are made out of anxiety on my part which exacerbate Jack’s temperament.

Taking the time to stop and think, like Mister Rogers advised, is definitely key.  I’m always in such a hurry to get stuff done– finish bath time, make a balanced dinner, make lunches, clean the coffee pot, find educational crafts, get the kids to the playground, etc.

My rushing to make sure that my kids are immaculate, nourished, and entertained makes Jack crazy!  He hates being rushed, and yet I have this compulsion to get stuff accomplished.

When I stop and think about it, I’m not sure what difference it would make if my kids skipped a bath, or if we ate cereal for dinner once in a while to avoid this dynamic.

So, I am going to try to stop and breathe and be more aware of the opportunities for learning and growing.

What parenting mistakes have you made, and how have you learned to become aware of them?  What do you think about when you take the time to reflect on parenting your child?  

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10 responses »

  1. Wow, I had know idea Mr Rogers wrote a book of quotes, he was one wise man, in a zippered cardigan sweater. Parenting mistakes, sure probably as much as the next dad. I think about what values I’m installing in her. I take every opportunity to laugh, play, sing, and have fun with her. I like to think it has contributed to how happy she seems all the time, but she may just be that way naturally. I also think as her dad, I must be a humble caregiver because I believe she has way more to teach me than I have to teach her.

    • Well, Mister Rogers didn’t write a book of quotes, so much as people compiled a book of his quotes. He definitely said a lot of quote-worthy things over the course of his life/career. Thank you for stopping by, and for the comment. I would guess that your daughter has a naturally sunny disposition/temperament, and that this allows you to bring out the best in one another when you are talking, singing, laughing, playing. My daughter is that way too. . . When I was pregnant with my first, I thought that i would have waaaayyyy more control over how my kids “turned out.” While this is true to some extent, I also find it amazing how they came to me sort of wired with their own personalities and temperaments, which create the need for me to be flexible and parent them differently. Humility indeed!

  2. What a lovely post! I hadn’t heard that quote before, and I agree completely. Although children shouldn’t be given the responsibility/burden of being our teachers, we sure have so much to learn from them and in the process of parenting them! I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    • I believe this too, that there is so much to learn from children. Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog and resonating! It is great to hear from you, and I do hope you will come again.

  3. “My rushing to make sure that my kids are immaculate, nourished, and entertained makes Jack crazy! He hates being rushed, and yet I have this compulsion to get stuff accomplished.”- I loved this, and had this crazy thought…what if Jake planned a day and was in charge? What would it look like? 🙂

    I make plenty of mistakes…I think that right now one of my focuses is on doing A LOT of things because I get bored. But Potamus doesn’t seem to get bored and need to move on. So, I think it’s like a meditation, when I want to just move when it gets hard, but I’d probably learn a lot more if I just let myself be in the boredom. Actually, I think that’s a lot of my mistake…trying to have something be different than it currently is…

    • Hmmm, you would not want to see if my son planned a day! Actually, it would probably be all tv all day in his fantasy. But actually, I think that giving him too many choices and too much control has been half of our problem with him. Anyhoo, live and learn right? It IS hard to be in the moment, be present, and not flit on to the next thing all the time with kids, especially when you have kind of had it reading good night moon for the 7,697th time! I totally feel ya there!

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