Miss 17 and I were having one of our deep, raw and honest conversations this week when she remarked on the back of an unsolicited comment, that I am 'quick to anger.'
Feeling a little taken aback, I questioned the statement and asked for examples. When none could be given, I made my own suggestions of when I thought I maybe had been quick to anger by her definition.
Was it the time ….
‘When I had asked the cat litter tray be emptied 3 times then frustratingly asked again with verbal emphasis on time frame?’ - No
“… The washing that sat wet in a basket on a beautiful windy sunny day …when she was home all day, having asked her before leaving home that morning” - No.
“When she came home at 15 years old with a tattoo up her arm?” - No.
Further suggestions were offered and all met with a calm, ‘no, not then- other times’.
I felt my blood pressure rise. She was calling me out on something but wouldn’t give me an example.. But internally right in that moment, she had me nailed. I was increasingly growing in frustration. In my burst bubble, I chuckled to myself, and sat uncomfortable with the fact she was right and being freshly served, “constructive feedback” as she so eloquently put it.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about”
I’d been increasingly dealing with stressors over the past three months, taken on WAY too much and without vices, alcohol being the number 1. With no ‘wine to take the edge off’, I had no outlet and my journaling only allowed me to identify and reflect the array of feelings that were surfacing without the deep, earthy Shiraz to ‘ground’ me.
With all the love she bestows on me, my beautiful daughter, gently flipped our roles and was gently offering me some insight into the way in which she perceived the world. What her perception of my lack of patience or 'busy rush mode mum' was having an effect on her.
It is not uncommon, particularly of the last year that a similar circumstance to this occurs. A maturity gained from taking the path less traveled, learning from her mistakes and transforming into an amazing young woman. My only womb daughter, we have probably been more sisters or friends than mother and daughter. I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes with her over the years but the biggest thing I’ve learnt in each given situation is flexibility.
Life, regardless of kids or not, is always will be a work in progress. It's forever transitioning through the seasons. Those who think or assume they have this adult gig figured out are presenting a ‘perfect’ front to the world which faces impending fall or delusional.
The rigidity that we parent or conduct our adult lives, “I’m right- you’re wrong” mentality only drives our loved ones further away and asserts our own ego and dominance. The ability to listen, learn and adapt is incredibly important to understanding what makes people tick and why. Children particularly, need space to make their own choices, within reason, to learn consequences and outcome. Mess up, fall over or off.
We learn by mistakes, no success.
As adults, I believe, we are there to provide guidance not dictatorship. We are simply bigger kids trying to figure it out. Age does not equate to answers. Society and our own self projection of ego create pressure to be the perfect parents, have it all figured out when in reality we are learning as we go, messing up and re- learning.
The wisdom to let things go. The little things that in the bigger scheme of things, really are insignificant and don’t require such a brash reaction.
Days later she suggested that my “angry mum moments” are when I respond with a single word in a text message or use a full stop, or am ‘too busy’ to listen to what she has to say... OK, I'm listening, loud and clear.
Apparently in the digital world of teenagers, one word messages or the use of a full stop (without smiley emoji) translates to ‘being short’ or ‘ angry’ with your recipient. Not how grammar was intended to be useful or taking into consideration the fact I was working at that time. Who knew?
There are many ways to communicate and it’s important that as adults we remember this is a two way path. Communication carries with it lessons of patience, resilience and strength from the most unassuming, children. And remember, your children are a reflection of you.
The hard truths are often wrapped in strong love. There is no place for ego here. Lean into the uncomfortable feedback, listen to the constructive criticism, we have plenty to learn from these moments.
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”