Friday, December 04, 2009
I have pretty good self-esteem. Not that I'm full of myself, nor that I'm without my insecurities. But I can usually endure a significant amount of emotional wear and tear, because I have good boundaries, a good sense of how to recharge, and relatively good placement of where I derive my self-worth.
This tends to come in handy as a parent. For I cannot speak for other parents, but my kids are not good for a parent's self-esteem. Their gratitude lasts but a second, if that: a happy face may be priceless for me to see when I do something for one of my kids, but quickly it's gone and then it's "what have you done for me lately."
As for their disapproval? That apparently lasts a long time. In my haste and weariness, I grabbed Aaron's coat and hat from his cubby at school but neglected his gloves, not remembering than 10+ hours earlier, I had indeed put those gloves on him before we had headed out of the house. Two blocks from school en route to home, Aaron clamored for his gloves, and I realized that they were in fact in his cubby and I hadn't grabbed them. I was tempted to turn around but was in a hurry to get home, so I fessed up to my error and told Aaron we'd have to go gloveless on the way home, and simply grab the gloves the next day.
Well, my boy rode me hard the entire walk home. "You forgot my gloves!" Over and over again, even as I apologized earnestly and told him I had made a mistake and we would simply have to let it go. It was actually so comical that my laughter helped me not to take this guilt trip too seriously. Jada is the same way: when I told Amy when I got home that Aaron had scolded me for ten whole minutes about forgetting his gloves, she remarked that Jada was just telling her about the time I left her purple sippy cup at the zoo. I tell you, these kids can't remember what I told them two seconds ago and yet have an impeccable accounting for every mistake I've made with them in their lifetimes.
Needless to say, working on one's self-esteem is an essential to being a sane parent. For I have some demanding clients and bosses at work, but nothing compares to my two little ones when it comes to incessant requests, reminders of past errors, and nary a shred of gratitude for long seasons. Ah, the joys of parenting.