my real new year’s resolution


Fergus had a particularly difficult 2008. Or, perhaps I should say I did, based on his trying behavior. This past summer, as he raged through a tantrum, I laid down in his bed with him and held him as he thrashed. I started whispering in his ear about how he had a “Good Fergus” who lived on one shoulder, and a “Bold Fergus” on the other, and how sometimes it was hard to know which one to listen to.

(I have to stop here and say that “bold” was my mother’s word for “naughty,” and I have completely adopted it, but I didn’t fully understand that pretty much no one else uses it that way until fairly recently. However, according to Webster’s Ninth, “bold” can mean “impudent, presumptuous.” So I’m sticking with it.)

Fergus really responded to this notion, and will still sometimes ask me which Fergus he is being. I tell him that we are certainly seeing less of “Bold Fergus” these days, and for that we are all sincerely thankful.

A few nights ago, I was having a little “mommy time” with Cooper, working on Star Wars Legos.

COOPER: Mommy. You know how there are two Ferguses?

MOMMY: Yes.

COOPER: Well, there are kind of two Mommies too.

MOMMY: There are?

COOPER: Uh huh. There’s the nice mommy…

(He hesitates.)

MOMMY: …and?

COOPER: and, the, other one.

(He knows better than to finish that sentence.)

MOMMY: The impatient mommy?

COOPER: Yes.

MOMMY: The one who yells?

COOPER: Yes.

So I’ve been living with that conversation for the past week or two, and examining myself, and basically feeling pretty bad about it, although I guess it’s better than if I were One Mommy who is not nice, all the time. That would be worse.

But my REAL resolution, for 2009, beyond the muffin top and vitamins and whatever, is to stop yelling at my kids, no matter how nuts they’re driving me, no matter how late we are for the bus in the morning, and to be the patient, loving mother that I want them to remember when they grow up. The mother that they deserve.

It’s really hard. But I’m trying. Next time I’ll tell you how. Wish me luck.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Roxane B. Salonen January 8, 2009 at 3:16 am

Can I make a suggestion? 🙂 Start by going more gently on yourself. We are not perfect, and the work of a mother is one of the hardest jobs emotionally. I also think it’s healthy that your son realizes that, like him, you are not perfect, either, and that you do have bad days. I think he is emotionally astute and this will serve him well. The good thing is, we get to start over, each hour if needed. So move forward from here, and good luck with your resolution, but even if you have an off day now and again, it’s okay! That just means you need to go do something nice for yourself. It means your needs are not getting met, and therefore, you cannot be your best self. In other words, when you think you deserve it least, treat yourself with kindness. Okay, enough of this marathon post. 🙂

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Marketing Mama January 9, 2009 at 6:26 am

1. you are a cool mom for giving him that idea of the bold v. good Fergus. that’s awesome.

And how cool that he is sensitive to realize the same is true for you, too, and to feel safe enough to tell you.

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Amy January 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Thank you both, you’re right. It’s good that he felt OK telling me that, and frankly, I’m glad he did. Not Nice Mommy definitely comes out when I’m feeling overwhelmed. So I’m trying hard to manage those feelings of overwhelm. Or, at least, to laugh at them.

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