I worked as a nanny before I had children and over the span of fifteen years, I cared for eleven children. Eleven gorgeous and loving children.
I was hired for my no-nonsense ways. I was praised for the manners that I instilled in my charges and I was retained because I taught them to respect themselves and others.
I knew how to get them to eat a variety of foods, how to nip sassiness in the bud.
Potty training was effortless.
I ran a tight ship. I had all of the answers and I was paid well for employing them.
Then I had kids.
Well, actually, I started strong. Katie’s first three and a half years of life were managed with a firm hand. Our expectations have always been high and we’ve been happy to see that the standards that we hold her to have paid off. Aside from a few short stages here and there, we’ve been so pleased with her behavior.
Until this month.
I spent this month reliving my own childhood. I wrote 51,748 words about what it was like to be a child.
At times I am grateful for my memory. I can recall the tiniest details of my childhood.
At times I wish I didn’t retain so much. I wish I couldn’t remember the times when I felt sad, or hurt, or forgotten. All kids feel those emotions and most people seem to forget those moments by the time they reach adulthood. This memory of mine holds onto everything.
The times when I felt that I didn’t have a voice or that no one understood me are the memories that have thrown a wrench in my parenting skills this month.
I’m seeing everything through Katie’s eyes and it has made me go all soft.
I’ve caught myself easing up and making allowances that I’ve never made. I’ve allowed room for negotiation and renegotiation. I’ve overlooked some sassiness here and there, excusing it as too little sleep, a growth spurt, the time change, the planets not being aligned.
And she smells blood.
While I know that she is probably happier in the moment, as I’m making excuses for her, I know that I’m doing her a disservice by loosening up so much.
While I hope to always remember to consider her feelings and opinions, she is a child and still needs me to guide her.
I need to snap out of this and quick. Before she claims head of household.