I knew that kids were sponges, and I knew that they would pick up whatever I did. I knew that I would have to do the things I wanted them to, or possibly be faced with horrible rebellion and fights and yells of "Hypocrite!!!" And of course, I want to strive to be a better person, the one God wants me to be and not the one I want me to be... None of this was really, really real until Maura started to imitate everything that I did.
If you ever want to know your flaws, let a small child follow you around and then watch what they do when they're playing. That is a wake up call! It was little things at first, like saying "Go!" whenever the car stopped, walking around the house with a phone tucked between your head and shoulder, and even little things like voice inflection while reading, talking or scolding. I have had to get very creative with my language when I get frustrated or hurt. I have had to work desperately hard on my patience and anger, especially while driving - but to my credit, there are TONS of people behind the wheel who have no business even riding in a car, let alone driving one.
Anyway, I was thinking of the little things that I'm teaching them, that I may not see the effect of right away, but nonetheless, are still being scrutinized, filtered, and eventually may be put to action. So, if you have ever felt bad about the things you are doing in the view of your children, or are outright letting them do, please read on and feel a little bit better.
-We do not eat candy or cake in the morning... but a spoonful of peanut butter with a side of cheese stick is a perfectly acceptable dinner
-Always clean up after you are done playing with a toy... but the dishes that mommy "played" with earlier can sit on the counter and in the sink until at least the next morning, maybe one or two days
-We don't go outside without shoes, but if your feet get disgustingly dirty inside the house, no problem
-Never play in the trash can... but go ahead and eat that food that you dropped on the floor earlier - this one in particular really embarrassed me. I actually caught myself pointing out a piece of food ON THE FLOOR to Tristin that he had dropped and told him to eat it. I really am in awe of myself sometimes...
I like to tell people that I am not raising children, but "functional members of society." I realize this goal would be much easier if I, myself, were indeed a functional member of society. At any rate, I can try.
Please feel free to share any particular bad habits that you share with your little people - I'm sure they'll be nothing compared to the things mine learn!