Yesterday, I tuned into the radio just in time to hear the announcer say the title of the previous song, “Pot. Kettle. Black,” and it stuck with me the rest of the day. The old saying wound itself through my thoughts all afternoon.
The point it kept making in my head was that there is never afforded us a better avenue of self-reflection and growth than being a mother. I don’t think any other experience in life gives us as many ways to see ourselves in the mirror and smooth our rough edges.
Every time one of my children is acting in a way I think they need to change, I can see that they got that behavior from me. In some way, I have molded them, either directly by telling them and modeling for them the way they are to act, or by default, because when I’m not thinking, I act and model behaviors that they pick up way faster than the ones I intentionally want them to learn.
Oh, the tricky children!
I read a lot of mommy blogs, and I see a lot of rants. I have friends who are moms, and sisters. My whole world, it seems, is filled with other moms. The ones I gravitate to are the ones who are self-aware and patient with themselves and their children. The ones who are undergoing as much growth and realization as their children. I love to hear the things we learn from our own children. Yes, we are the ones who are responsible for teaching them, but oh, the things we learn along the way.
The ones who can’t wait to get home and give their child a piece of their mind for some behavior exhibited at school, and share thrashing frustration of “I just don’t know how to get through to him, I’ve tried everything,” always give me pause. I see myself in that mode. I see myself mad and racing. And I know that those moments do not accomplish anything of lasting value. I learn from these moments too.
In these moments, I remember that absolutely everything about my children has a core and a beginning in me. There is a tether to me still. As they grow, and move away from me, they will take on things they discover in the big outside world, and their personalities will take on aspects all their own. At this phase, while they are under my care and in my home, if there are habits that need to be redirected, I need to first look at my own. Every hard edge that displays in my kids is a place I need to soften in me.
This is the most amazing therapy in the world: to have this much impact on another, and know that to guide my children well, I need to guide myself into the best, most gracious, most lovely paths I know to tread.
The photo of a black pot overflowing with a fountain of water, and nourishing gorgeous flowers, is an image I want to carry with me as a mother. Continuously I pour myself out for my kids, and nourish them as I remember to nourish myself.