Sometimes the ugly parts we see in others, are actually the parts we find most ugly in ourselves.
I don't like it when people criticize others' methodologies of parenting but I simply can't deny the gut reaction I had this week. My husband and I were on a flight to Miami for a cruise and were sans kiddos so I think my mama heart was a bit more raw than usual.
There was a couple behind us with a girl about the age of our eldest, two. She was actually doing pretty darn fantastic but on numerous occasions I heard her parents snapping at her. Unfortunately for them, they didn't realize their remarks were audible in at least a 3 row radius thanks to their headphones. Repeatedly I heard and felt the hiss in their voice. And maybe it was just my raw mama heart, but I heard a little bit more of her spirit get crushed with each retort. The fathers words were inciting fear from his little girl. This had become their norm.
It hurt me. Like it physically hurt me. I wanted to turn around and say to them in my most condemning voice, "don't talk to your daughter like that!" Pull back the reigns mama, totally not my place. But I wanted to tell them they were hurting their little girl. They were crushing her little spirit that was theirs to build.
While I (thankfully) sat quietly I thought to myself, why am I having such an emotional reaction to this? It's not like they were abusing her. In reality, their responses were well within the confines of normal parent behavior. Why was my heart so sensitive to it?
Then I realized it's because I could see some of myself in those parents.
I've been short. And frustrated. And impatient. I've crushed my daughters brilliant spirit on more than one occasion.
Damn that hurts to write.
I guess sometimes, the ugly parts we see in others are really just a reflection of the parts of ourselves we hate the most. And I hate that part of myself. But I can use this as a reminder of the kind of parent I want to be. I can be grateful to the people sitting behind me on the plane. Unknowingly they have pushed me to find ways of being patient, loving, slow to respond. Non-reactionary. To find a parenting style that is love-based instead of fear-based.
To remember to try to see a little bit of myself in those around me.