Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pushed Buttons

Last night I told my husband that I didn't have anything to write a blog post about, he suggested that I write a post about how well my relationship with my daughter is progressing. However, I don't write those kinds of posts, or so I thought. My daughter is fourteen, and she and I have many conflicts as mothers and daughters often do. In the past few weeks I have been able to disengage and not become involved in yet another fruitless and exhausting argument with my teenager. Last night on the way home from my daughter's play practice, I wanted to ask, "Have you noticed anything different about me? Isn't Mommy doing better?" Fortunately, I refrained from asking those questions, because by this morning Mommy was acting exactly the same as she did a few weeks ago.

 The temperature was 36 this morning; my daughter went out with bare legs and a jacket instead of a coat. I harassed her about the way she was dressed for a good twenty-five minutes, and in the end she won; my peaceful morning was ruined. Did my daughter destroy my peace, and force me to act like a nagging mother? What buttons was she pushing? Was it really that I didn't want her legs to be cold? Of course I didn't want my child to be cold, but she really didn't mind having cold legs. I think that the truth of the situation goes back to my earlier comment about her winning. I was engaging in some sort of competition with her about who is ultimately right. I wanted to be in control and be "right". This is a lousy way to approach any relationship, particularly one with a teenager.

The need to be right and make other people wrong, is a rather imprisoning way to show up in the world. It means that I have a hard time saying that I am sorry or accepting an apology for that matter, not to mention it causes many arguments and keeps me from appreciating another person's perspective.

I started the conflict this morning. It's still hard for me to let go of the fact that I am not always in control, and it is not necessary or in my best interest or anyone else's for that matter for me to be in control.

 My daughter is my teacher for better or worse. I can always count on her to push my buttons, and every time that a button is pushed, I have an opportunity to reach for a different response and grow into a better version of me.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, we certainly have a lot in common. 'Put on a sweater; I'm cold' is my classic Jewish mother quote and I use it often. We are human, and our kids are learning it (sometimes the hard way), but will be better people and parents for it. What we have to remember is to be honest with them about our fallibility and our fears, because only then can they understand what it really means to be a parent and a 'real person'.
    You, my dear friend, are one of the 'realest' :)