Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

Guest Post: Big Picture Parenting by Emily Casey

Emily is a stay-at-home mom of two little crazy kids. She chases them around all day before collapsing in front of her computer to write. She’s about to publish a YA book, The Fairy Tale Trap, about a girl who gets stuck in the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Emily is on Twitter @EmilyCaseysMuse. She loves to talk about dogs, Doctor Who, writing, gardening, running, kids, cooking, you name it! You can find out more about her at her website, emilycasey.com.

Emily will be around today to respond to comments. Give her a warm welcome and fire your best questions, comments and witty remarks her way.

Asrai, thank you so much for letting me post on your blog. I think it’s important that as we strive to be the best we can be, we also embrace our imperfections. It’s a message that isn’t shared enough.

I’m a stay-at-home mom of two adorable kids. I have a three-year-old girl and a just-over-one-year-old boy. They’re my whole world and, like most moms, I would give anything if it meant giving them a better life. Since I spend so many hours with my kids, I get to teach them pretty much everything—from walking and talking, to manners and grooming. It can be overwhelming, and more often than not, I feel like I’m failing my poor kids.

For example, my daughter is willful, smart, and likes to be in charge. (She gets that from me. Remind me to apologize to my mother.) I’m constantly trying to teach her that she shouldn’t tell Mommy what to do, that she needs to ask politely instead of demand things, and that she needs to be gentle with her little brother and the dog. I want her to be compassionate and empathetic. But sure enough, as soon as she wants something, it’s, “Mommy, I need juice.” without any thought about how I want to be treated. Or, she’ll push the dog out of her way. (He’s a big dog, but still, it’s the principal.) My daughter will take toys from the baby and make him cry. As a mother, this is more than frustrating. I’ve had to bite my tongue more than a few times.

So I sit down with her and explain (as calmly as I can) what she did wrong, what she should do instead, and I ask her to apologize to whoever it was that she wronged. She does, and it looks like she’s really sorry about it, but next thing I know, she’s pushing the dog out of the way so she can take her brother’s juice. So, like the worrier that I am, I’m terrified that she’ll grow up to be selfish and possibly a psychopath.

Then one evening, my daughter was watching the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland. It got to the part where Alice is lost and crying because she doesn’t follow good advice and now she’s alone. My daughter had her face buried in both hands, sobbing for the poor girl in the movie. The tears didn’t stop until the song ended. My heart broke for my daughter, but I was also so happy. She was able to put herself in Alice’s shoes and felt that character’s pain.

At that moment, I remembered that daughter isn’t a total brat. Sometimes I’ll catch her giving the baby a kiss or feeding the dog and telling him he’s a good boy. Sometimes she’ll look at her brother and go, “Mommy, he’s so beautiful.” She’ll crawl into my lap and just sit with me for a few minutes before telling me she loves me.

I think as parents, we tend to cringe at our children’s faults more than our own. Our kids’ failures are our failures, but on top of that, by falling short on our kids, we’ve hurt someone we love. We tend to nitpick their behavior and throw things out of proportion when we only notice the bad things. But take a step back. Notice the good things. When you see the big picture, I think you’ll be proud of your kids, and you’ll be able to show them more love and affection. A child knows when you’re proud of them. And I know that every loving mother is proud of her kids for something, even when they’re less than perfect.

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6 responses to “Guest Post: Big Picture Parenting by Emily Casey

  1. Rabia November 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

    It’s really easy to zoom in on your children’s flaws and focus all your parenting on fixing them. I have to remind myself to catch my children being good, too, and give them positive reinforcement.

    • asraidevin November 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      This is my exact issue with both my children. Emily’s post was a good reminder for me to stop focusing on the minor details.

  2. Karen McFarland November 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for sharing Emily Casey today Asrai! Enjoyed the post!

    Parenting is one of the hardest jobs. You cringe when you see the mirror image of yourself along with the many faults and imperfections. But I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in this world.

    I used to panic when my oldest son who was eighteen months old at the time, would sit on his baby brother on the floor (because that is where he was most happiest) who was two months old. Now they are best friends and talk to each other every day. Can’t ask for more than that. :)

  3. Patricia November 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Very nice post and very good advice. We’re all a combination of angel and devil.

    And congratulations on your book! That is always awesome news!

  4. Emily Casey (@EmilyCaseysMuse) November 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks, Patricia!

    Karen: I think that’s the scariest thing, seeing my own faults in my child. My daughter is a carbon copy of my younger self. I’ve grown up a lot since then, obviously, but I wish I could just show her how to avoid the same mistakes.

    Rabia!
    Positive reinforcement does amazing things. Remembering to do it can be hard, though.

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