The kids and I went to our monthly API meeting this morning, then met up with Jody (since he works only a couple blocks from where our meetings are held) to go to lunch.
While we were driving I said to Jody half-jokingly, “I need a haircut. I don’t like myself right now.” To which he replied, “It sounds like you also need some counseling.” :oP
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought, “What am I saying? What kind of statement is that to make in front of my kids?” Yes, it’s true that I am frustrated with my hair lately, but to say I don’t like myself because of it? That’s not the kind of message I want to send.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that come out of my mouth in front of the kids lately, mostly because I’m starting to hear a lot of it coming back at me from the little sponge AKA Ava. She may only be 3 years old, but she’s very perceptive and picks up on just about everything. As the saying goes, “Little pitchers have big ears.” I need to be more aware of the words I speak and my tone as well.
Ava is such a sweet, empathic girl and I’d hate to see her outlook on life become warped somehow because of me. We as parents have so much influence in our children’s worlds. It’s almost frightening.
I’m not sure what I need to do to fix this, though I have some ideas. Jody’s statement about me needing counseling was actually quite accurate.
A few weeks ago, my sister picked up a book for me called “The ACOA’s Guide to Raising Healthy Children: A Parenting Handbook for the Adult Children of Alcoholics.” I thumbed through the pages a day or two after she dropped it off and as I read a bit here and a bit there, I became overwhelmed. The personal accounts I read from other ACOAs really hit home for me.
I began to realize that while I tried my best to ignore and forget many things from my childhood, they are still there. I began to realize that they are reemerging in my life now that I have children. I began to realize that these things are keeping me from being the kind of parent I want to be. And then I began to cry. Tears of anger and tears of relief.
I know I have a long road ahead of me, but it feels good to know that by accepting that I have problems and I need help that I’ve at least taken the first step.