‘Do what I say, not what I do’. Ever hear that one? No truer words were ever spoken and no harder rule was ever followed. I loathe hypocrites, but as a mom it seems that too many of my days are full of hypocrisy. Sometimes it’s little stuff – like the fact that I must have a small square of dark chocolate after lunch every day but only put candy in my kid’s lunch on Fridays. Sometimes it’s big stuff – like speaking disrespectfully to your child and then expecting them to speak respectfully to you. We all do it, it’s a hard habit to break or to recognize, but make no mistake, you are being watched like a hawk every minute of every day by your children for discrepancies between what you tell your kids to do and what you do.
What big things do you really need to focus on changing because they are sending potentially dangerous messages to your kids? One of my long-term friends realized when her kids started swimming lessons that she couldn’t insist they learn an important life skill if she was terrified of the water, she knew they’d pick up on that. She encouraged them in their swimming, but she also signed up for adult swim classes. I still remember the exultant e-mail from Hawaii when she was able to go snorkeling off a boat – and her boys are all like fish now. How you react in a crisis? Do you ignore it? Step in and offer to help? Turn green at the sight of blood? Say ‘I’m sure someone will call 911” instead of reaching for your phone? Do you want your children to be safe and responsible? To teach your future grandchildren the same lessons? Ask yourself the hard question, ‘What kind of adult do I want my child to become”, and then look in the mirror and make sure that same kind of person is looking back at you. What would you change?