“You’re not being nice.” I hear that statement all too often being a mom of strong-willed 4-year-old. When I heard it the other night though, it triggered a different thought in me. I started wondering “What is he saying to himself as he says that to me?” He is possibly preparing for his counter argument or for how he is going to dig his feet in more about whatever I’m “mean” about. On the flip side, he could be questioning things. He could just be projecting because there is a less than adequate feeling he’s experiencing. I didn’t give in to what made me “mean,” but for the first time in hearing that phrase, it brought me to a pause.
In all honesty, he’s probably just saying it because that’s a trusty 3-5 year old phrase to use when things don’t go their way. What alarmed me more is that as an adult, we still say this. It might be with different vocabulary and is usually not because you couldn’t get a package of gummies before dinner, but we still say it. I know I have.
When my husband and I struggled with fertility prior to conceiving our first, I had this conversation with God. “Why are YOU doing this? You’ll give other people the family they want (or don’t); why not us (me)?” Different words, same intentions. When Wyatt died, I didn’t immediately experience anger but when I did, whoa! “How could YOU let this happen? What did I ever do to deserve this?” Different words; same intentions.
Here is the thing, though. As I had my tantrums with God, I was experiencing immense amounts of guilt and shame. As I was implying that he was being mean to me, I was riddled with the feeling of failure and was simply looking for someone to share my blame with.
I know that I’ll continue to hear from my little ones that I’m not nice or they don’t like me. It hurts; I’d be lying if I said otherwise, but I also know that it really isn’t about me when they have those moments. Remembering that is the tough part but parenthood isn’t an easy job. With Love- Heather