Sunday, February 08, 2009

None of Your Beeswax!

"Mind your own business."

I say it a dozen times a day, interrupting as one of my girls runs to tell me that the other one isn't doing her chores, isn't turning her light off at 8:00, had more than her share of crackers this afternoon.

"Let me be the mom."

I am constantly reminding them that fair doesn't mean equal. They are unique individuals and will be treated according to their needs and behaviors, not off of some arbitrary checklist where each gets 14 peas and three stalks of asparagus on their plate at dinner. I try to be patient as I point out that Lola doesn't get milk with dinner because she won't eat as much, but Eve has to have milk with dinner because it's the only time she'll drink it. Doesn't mean I love one more than the other, and I don't want to justify my beverage choices for them every night - just,

"Trust me, okay? I have a reason for doing what I'm doing."

They watch each other like cats stalking prey, waiting for the other one to falter or hesitate so they can pounce and offer advice, correct the other one, stick their fingers in this pie. Explosions of drama occur hourly. I know! Leave me alone! I can do it myself! I just forgot, okay?

"Mind your own business."
"Ask if she wants your help before you reach in there."

I might as well be talking to myself. I spent my childhood looking out for others, hypervigilant and ready to solve any problem that might rear its ugly head. I can fix it. I can make it all okay. I am ready and willing to be the mommy.

Stepping back and offering only love and compassion is the hardest lesson I have to learn. Letting people I love make mistakes without jumping in to prevent it gives me stomach pains. Watching others get screwed over without crying foul and coming to their rescue makes me grind my teeth. Knowing that someone is hurting and not being able to soothe it away wrecks me.

Who knew that being the mommy would mean minding my own business? Somehow, offering love and compassion doesn't seem like nearly enough, not tangible proof of my affection. I want instant gratification. I want to right the wrong, fix the error, make it all better. Maybe I am talking to myself when I remind my girls that they have enough on their own plates without worrying about anyone else's.

Point taken.


The Finely Tuned Woman said...

It's tough when you have the heart of a carer and a fixer to stay impartial to what is happening around you. I had the same problem myself and it wasn't until my kids were grown up that I learned to take several steps back and mind my own business. But even now I have to be careful not to fall back into old behavior. I really have to separate myself physically and mentally and pretend I don't care too much. Put blinders on, if you will.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Another one of those "fun" we teach what we most need to learn, instances! DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!


Deb Shucka said...

It's taken some of us decades of life and learning the hard way to learn that we have our hands full with our own business. It's probably okay that your girls don't quite have it yet.

I love how you're always willing to look at your own heart in these parenting dilemmas. You are one of the best moms I know.

Jerri said...

Oh, Kari. Being the mommy so often means minding your own business, and it's the hardest thing of all. Especially when the kids are adults.

Your girls are so lucky to have a mommy who cultivates this skill.

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