Have you ever been surprised at other people’s assessments of your kids? Teachers, their friend’s parents, people who interact with your children when you’re not there.
People are always saying Boo is so sweet; he’s so easy going, etc. It usually surprises me because at home, “easy going?” Not so much.
He’s the one who reacts with great intensity—literally jumping for joy over something going his way, and throwing himself on the floor and wailing loudly when it doesn’t.
At the park not long ago I was talking with another parent about Bug’s calm demeanor. The dad remarked that Hubs and I “are both so easy-going….” It was a good thing I hadn’t just taken a swig of my water because I might have spewed it all over him in surprise. I hate that I couldn’t just take that comment in stride.
Hubs IS easy going.
I want to be.
I try to be.
But I know with my kids, I am so often NOT easy-going.
I think I used to be. I kind of had to be. Growing up, outbursts of any kind—happy, angry, sad, frustrated, whatever—were really just not allowed. If one slipped out, it was made very clear that it would not be tolerated. Sometimes with just a look, sometimes with a corresponding (and much more intense) outburst.
After a few years on my own though, when there was no one to stifle me any longer, I learned to express myself. Actually, it probably started about the time I met Hubs; the first person I felt really safe with. I didn’t feel limited anymore to sobs or screams muffled by my pillow, but graduated to all-out “expression” that left little question where I was coming from.
But you know what? (Aside from a few lousy drivers I encounter and only within the confines of my car) I don’t yell at people outside my house. I don’t flounce around in a bad mood. I don’t tell people who call at inconvenient times to “leave me alone!” (Although it is easier to ignore the phone than my kids when I'm "indisposed.")
Such behavior is pretty much reserved for home. For the people I love the most. For those who probably deserve it the least.
Recently when I picked up Boo from his Sunday school class the teacher told me again how sweet and cooperative and compliant (compliant!) he was. I responded, “I just wish he’d bring that home sometimes.”
The words were barely out of my mouth when my own hypocrisy hit me right in the face. As much as I wish Boo would “bring home” his easy going personality, I have a feeling my whole family wishes the same about me!
I'll keep working on it!