Deep thoughts

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.

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17 thoughts on “Deep thoughts

  1. Sponges…so true. I got a wake call in regards to that the other day. I was giving my husband a play by play of the movie Final Destination3 which is basically a horror movie and I did not realize my 3 year old was listening to every word. It was only when she recited the story to my parents word for word that I realized. My parents were shocked about the movies she was watching. ;)

    It happens…feel better mama. Good luck healing yourself. :)

  2. (HUGS) to you!!

    I’ve had some great break-throughs with Susan on some childhood issues that were greatly affecting my parenting. It IS hard to parent when you have your Mom sitting there in your head….

    Just last night I was having a deep thought on the issues we’ve been having with S. Actually I was thinking about something I blogged about the other day and my relationship w/ my mother. My mom forbids strong emotion. It’s an issue that we deal with today still and it’s been a big deal in my life. So I was sitting there having a deep thought about my mom and it occurred to me that maybe the issue with S is that I too am forbidding strong emotion. I made me realize that when he starts tuning up my mom’s voice says in my head “nope. Nope. Not allowed. Stop it now.” and I feel all the anger associated with that statement and I act accordingly. And really, what’s the kid going to do when I work so damn hard to tell him that he’s forbidden to feel that way? What did I do? How warped am I because of that reaction? Deep! ;)

    That said, sometimes I do that too – something like “I don’t like myself” pops out of my mouth without me really meaning it. Except I do….it’s a sign on some level that I’m unhappy or off kilter and not admitting it to myself. And then it just pops out. I’m glad you’re digging deeper and fixing the underlying issue :)

    And yes – little sponges. It all comes right back right at you, doesn’t it?! I find it horrifying. My sister tells me that I should punish the sponge for back-talking….but the real reason I find it horrifying is that I realize what a jerk I am to my kids sometimes when it comes back at me. They’re like a giant and unflattering mirror!

    Sigh. Good for you for wanting to do better! And I’m cracking up at Jody’s response :)

  3. I am actually writing a post about kids being a mirror to how we act.
    It is just so true.

    I am a child of alcoholic an alcoholic parent. It is tough.

  4. Hugs to you!I am glad for you that you are trying to solve it.
    My father is also alcoholic. He wasn’t when I was a child but it’s also tough when you are an adult. It is tough to face it, to say it amongst people…
    I had read a book , not strongly related but it’s about how our parents shape the way we parent. Alice Miller’s “the drama of the gifted child”.An interesting read.

  5. It’s so hard to realize these things about ourselves, but so liberating when we do and finally deal with them. I need to do a bit of that as well.

  6. I too am an ACOA. When you grow up watching someone you love do detrimental things to themselves it’s hard not to mimic that ourselves…even if they used alcohol and we use words.

    It’s not okay to speak badly about ourselves, whether our children are or aren’t listening.

    Many hugs sent your way. The therapy I used was called Hakomi, there is a wonderful lady in Gunbarrel named Jude Blitz, just a recomendation if you even need one.

    More Hugs!

  7. Good for you for even being AWARE that you don’t want to say stuff like that in front of your kids.

    I hear you loud and clear, though. It’s so hard to not pass on our issues to our kids… I wonder if anyone knows the secret?

  8. Hi, my name is Chelle and I too am a child of an alcoholic. It totally reflects in how I parent and there are times I do not like it.

    However it also helps me to strive to be better than what I had. The bar is lo so I can only go up :)

    Hugs!

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