The Crap Epidemic & What I Really Want To Teach My Daughter
The most rewarding, yet terrifying moment you’ll have as a parent is the first time that your child imitates something you say. For me, it’s been a long road, because my daughter had a speech delay, and after many (and continuous) hours of speech therapy, and praying and hoping that my child would utter some words, she finally spoke.
Through this joy, I’ve been slapping myself because I felt like I didn’t fully censor myself. In my normal life, I don’t curse. I use fun alternatives like: “son of a biscuit-eater,” “dangit,” and my favorite “crap.” I tend to say “crap” whenever I drop something/forget something/make a mistake. Essentially, I say the word “crap” like there’s no tomorrow.
So the first time my daughter dropped her cup, imagine my surprise when she yelled: “CRAP!” Then she yelled it again… and again… and again. That amusement of oh, she’s imitating me was quickly replaced by embarrassment and shame, and we were home alone when this happened!
I just immediately thought: “Crap! I should find a different word to say than crap!” But it didn’t matter, that “crap” seed was planted in her, and she says it constantly. I’m even starting to suspect that she’s looking for reasons to say it now.
It made me realize how quickly and easily a seed can be planted in children. Things that seem so innocuous to us, that we’ve been doing for years without a second thought, are new and exciting to them. If nothing else, it teaches them how to react and behave in certain and all situations.
That’s when I began to evaluate everything else that I did that she could potentially pick up. I realized that I had some pretty bad habits. I’ve done the necessary things, like creating better meals for the two of us but there was still something I knew I needed to plant a seed for, the important lesson of spending time for herself.
It’s very rare, in not just the life of a parent, but a single parent, that you find some time to yourself. If you have time to yourself you have to almost force it, be adamant with it, and almost plan it sometimes. On top of that, you have to get to the point of having to enjoy it (which sounds weird, but it happens). Left to our devices, sometimes our brains can run so continuously that even in our times of solitude we can think ourselves in a panic, stay glued to our social media machines, and worry about what we’re not doing.
My goal now is to show my daughter that when she has time to herself, she should be sure to enjoy it. Whether it’s Mommy-daughter pedicure nights, gardening, or enjoying a walk, it’s important for me to show her the necessity of cherishing each moment she has to herself. I want to show her that there’s no need to keep a laptop, phone, or television on at all times to occupy her time. I want her to take away that even in solitude there can be joy, peace, and reflection, without self-condemnation.
It might seem senseless to some, but the ability to be able to enjoy “me time” is something that, for some, needs to be taught. My goal is to have my daughter just as comfortable with enjoying her “me time” in the future, like she is by saying “crap” in the present.