Here’s a funny thing.
How often, during our day, week, month…let’s not even move beyond that yet – do we expect behaviour from other people (clue: read: our children) that we are not actually capable of regularly attaining ourselves?
Example: “DON’T YELL AT YOUR BROTHER!!!’
Example: “You don’t have to always be criticizing. You’re so mean.”
Example: “If you leave your coat in the middle of the floor, how do you expect me to find my shoes?”
Example: “You are SO impatient! You are three and you have been impatient your whole life! I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE.”
There is actually a word for expecting others to do what we cannot.
Hypocrisy carries with it, I think, some intent. When we consider the synonyms of hypocrisy are deceitful and insincerity. Lord knows, we sincerely want our kids to be whatever thing we want them to be. Quite, good, patient, tidy. Whatever it is, the desire is sincere.
However, as busy and perhaps overwhelmed parents, we don’t intend to be hypocrites, we just do it by accident. The accident of tiredness. The accident of feeling hyper-responsible.
We have to remember every day that our children aren’t the enemy. They weren’t put on this earth to suck the life out of our existence and try our patience and undermine our self esteem. Oh, sure, that all happens sometimes.
But. They, too are doing it – dare I say – accidentally? Like our accidental behaviour of crankiness or criticizing or yelling or…
I think our children accidentally try us at every turn because they are young. Because their brains are still developing. Because they do not possess the fullness of tact or sleeping through the night. Because they love us and we are the ones they can scream at if they are angry and we will love them anyway.
We will love them anyway. And I think the solace of parenthood is found right here. They trust in our love so profoundly that they can behave badly (oh. just like us…) and we will love them at the end of the day. And we will wrap them in our arms once the steam stop coming out our noses.