Sassing and its ugly cousins – Mother’s diary – Nitya

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Things reached an aggressive hilt when I fought with mini-mes at home: my children.
I imagine you (the reader) sitting between us as we speak.
Hear me out first. “I feel I am not respected by my children. Their tone of voice, the contempt, the body language, the eye roll… they have to apologise to me and treat me with respect…”
Now hear my children out. “Sorry ok, but I feel I am not respected too, by my mom. Her tone of voice, the contempt, the body language, the eye roll… (you get the drift…)”
And I felt lost. Where did I go wrong?
I think I believe and treat children like adults in the area of respect.
Again, am I not the first among equals? Slightly more powerful? After all, I do sacrifice more than they do. I know more. I’ve lived longer.
Ah the ugly monster of superiority. Of power. Of (verbal) abuse.
Now I had to grapple with this myself. I had to Choose who wins. My ego or my commitment to respect my children. An internal dialogue/ conflict ensued.
This was far more fierce than the one with my children. I felt my foundations shaking. All that I had believed about my own parenting wins, my parenting philosophy, my self image. Wow, so many things rattled.
I wasnt that great a parent after all in the area of respect.
My eye rolls, my contempt, my tone of voice, my body language. They spoke volumes. They stemmed from a belief of being slightly (actually, hugely) superior to my kids.
My attitude stank of entitlement and ownership, not gratitude and stewardship.
As my belief changed, my behaviour towards my children changed for the better.
But my ego still rules, y’all. Last night, I didnt apologise. I asked them, “So hows the sassing thing going, guys? Do you still feel I sass you?”
“No mom. I think you’ve stopped.” (And they didnt ask for an apology.)
Phew. That was the longest pause of my life.
And now I believe I should say sorry.