And you shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:19 (AMP)
Over and over again, you see the wisdom of teaching your children during the day, but it's not the deep, moving moments that happen occasionally: it's the every day mundane moments that build up in your child that sticks.
It's the habits that we have that become the habits in our child.
I would like nothing more than J to inherit this amazing, forgiving, fun-loving, smart, and as long as he pays attention to his Dad, he'll be fine. But this bugger is stuck with me all day. My best accomplishment so far is that the kid likes vegetables. While I do like that Jminator likes cucumbers and hummus as much as I do, healthy habits are more than just liking carrots: it's liking myself, it's being able to forgive, not getting frustrated when you can't do what you want, or having a good attitude even when you're tired. But he's seeing every time I drop something that I groan or complain; he sees how frustrated I get when he won't take a nap; he sees Momma get tired and irritable and frustrated.
He's picking up my habits. All of them.
I recently read a blog where the mother (who is seriously beautiful and courageous) has an eating disorder; her daughter knows this, knows it's a disease, and hasn't shown any signs of disordered eating, etc. At first, honestly, I was angry. Little girls learn a lot from their moms, and I was shocked to see how she had openly admitted this struggle. But then, honestly, we all have parts of this story. The difference is with this momma: she's at least open about it. Most of us are still trying to wipe over ours.
As someone who has been in recovery from an eating disorder for several years, maybe part of me has forgotten what it's like to be in that place. Most of the time, I feel perfectly comfortable in my own skin - something I've never thought would happen. Now, as I feel my belly expanding for the second time, it's fun and overwhelming at the same time. I think most women go through a period of adjustment. Who wants to gain weight? Who wants to buy clothes with stretchy bands just so you don't feel like a sausage in a casing all the time?
When I look at pictures of him as a little guy, I want him to see a mom that loved being a mom. Not a mom that got frustrated with him at every turn. And if I'm not careful, I can doom my son into my bad habits. I love being a mom. I mean, at the very core of my being, I love that my body can grow, feed, and nurture a human life form. I love that every part of myself can pour into, mold and shape an amazing human being. As random as it sounds, I like the sticky floors, the messes he makes in his room, sticky hands covered in peanut butter, and fussiness that's only solved by Momma picking him up and giving a long cuddle. I love it. I love that someone needs me this much. Even when it makes me totally insane with fatigue and frustration. That's what I want to get in the habit of him seeing.
I long to see my son full of character and wisdom, so full of courage to stand up for those who can't fight for themselves. Grandiose hopes and dreams, yes. But I also plan on teaching him how to pick up after himself, how to sew a button, wash a dish, say "I'm sorry" "I love you" and "I forgive you" and mean it.
I want to be in that habit also. To say "I love you" "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you" often and mean every single word. To have a habit of rushing into forgiveness and compassion instead of the Mommy-judgment that we are all too guilty of.
When I wake, sit, eat, play, do the dishes, those little eyes are watching. That little heart is learning. That makes my habits important.