A few years ago (I think), I remember a conversation with my sister. I may recall this wrong but the sentiment has stuck in my mind. She said ‘I parent more like Dad than I do Mum’.
Now for the context. Dad, however much I love him, was always the tougher parent. I use past tense because he’s severely riddled with Alzheimer’s and so doesn’t really parent me anymore. He was emotionally harder and loved taunting us. More importantly though he was short tempered. The spats that my Dad and sister got into were ridiculous. She was very rebellious, he was straight laced and they clashed alot. So it was surprising that she would think she inherited some of his parenting skills.
My brother recently wrote an article about the importance of childhood memories, how they define you and how family can create who you become. I found myself discovering that I too have developed my Dad’s short tempered parenting style. Check out the article here it’s far more articulate than what I write now https://beingandniceness.com/2018/09/24/knowing-nan-in-search-of-lost-toenails/amp/
So what happened that made me short tempered? Well my children have been really unwell after their 16 week jabs. They cried for six hours straight and then whimpered all night. There was one point where I was going to call an ambulance because their temperature got so high. I realize that a lot of people have probably had it a lot worse so won’t dwell on seeking your sympathy. However it was a long day and night and the next morning after waking up every hour I lost my patience when, in the morning, despite being shattered Luna refused to sleep. I swore at her in anger. Luckily hubbie was there with Lola and called me up on my behaviour, I told him to do one at the time but later apologized and realised I was in the wrong. I’m not a morning person.
During the nighttime routine I lost my temper again when Luna would not go to sleep, she was exhausted but kept sucking her hands, kicking her legs and fighting sleep. No hubbie this time and whilst I angrily rocked her to sleep feeling guilty about my behaviour that memory of my sister telling me ‘I parent more like Dad than I do Mum’ came to mind.
I want to stress at this point my Dad was an incredible Father and man. Yes he had his moments but I miss him so incredibly much that I struggle to pick up the phone to check up on him in case he’s declined, if he’s suffering or worse. I love him that much and miss him so much. But he wasn’t an easy person. For instance we all knew if Aston Villa were playing you should stay away otherwise you’d feel his wrath. Everyone had jobs, I always got lumbered with drying dishes which I hate to this day but loved cutting the grass on our sit on lawn mower. He also knew I was terrible at Maths so everyday would pressure me into reciting tables quickly, getting impatient if I didn’t immediately know the answer, particularly to 7×8 = 56. My answer was always 54.
Even though I recite these points like hardships, he taught me about responsibility, persistence, how Aston Villa were terrible at football (at times) but that nevertheless I should always love them – unconditional love. He also supported the family for a long time whilst Mum raised us, built our homes (every childhood home we bought was redesigned and then we’d sell and move on) and gave us silly family traditions which I’ll never forget. My favourite was the deliberately terrible presents he bought my mother. One year she thought he’d bought a puffer jacket but it turned out to be an insulation jacket, one of many joke presents! Sorry Mum.
So I’ll take all those parenting skills to the bank but I definitely don’t want to lose my temper with my kids. It’s not fun for them or me or for anyone. So next time I find myself getting annoyed, I’ll breathe and have a think about my Dad whose still parenting me even if he can’t talk anymore. So even if I do parent like my Dad, I’ll try to take the best of what he taught me.
Have you found yourself adopting a Parental style like your parents? Is there anything you feel you would change about yourself to be a better parent? Leave a comment.