I have been reading a lot of Brene’ Brown lately. Her message to me in my acceptance of myself has been eye opening, but what she has written about being a parent has been life changing. The book Daring Greatly has an entire chapter about parenting that I believe everyone should read- parent or not!
In chapter seven, Brene’ writes about the best parenting advice she ever received. It was from Toni Morrison, “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?” (223).
Immediately I thought back to all of the times my kids walked into a room while I checked out what they were wearing…. was it clean, did it match, was it appropriate for the situation? I thought about how I looked at my kid’s hair, face, tennis shoes, EVERYTHING!! As moms, we have a tendency to look at our kids with a filter that judges them as other people might judge them. WHY DO WE DO THAT? Do we believe we are being judged by other parents all of the time? I think moms think this is how they love children. We are showing them how much we care by wanting them to “put their best foot forward”. We need to ask ourselves, are we judging other parents by how their children look? Maybe we should stop doing that! We are all in the parenting game together. Let’s support each other.
What have I taught my kids by having the face of judgment when I see them? Have I taught them that they don’t measure up to my standards or the standards of others? Am I expecting them to be perfect? According to Brene’, perfectionism is teaching kids to value what other people think over what they think. Personally, that is not a lesson I willingly choose for my children. I want them to know they matter. What they think matters.
What can I do? In my heart, I feel extreme joy when I see my children whether it be after a long separation or simply overnight. My heart smiles…… my face can show what my heart feels and bypass the judgment my brain is conditioned to place upon my kids. They deserve to see the happiness they bring to my life. I can work to not only tell them I love them, but I can let them see that love on my face every time they enter a room. I can only imagine the love they will feel for me in return. As in all parenting lessons, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth the effort.