So, I hardly ever write anything that doesn’t include pictures of makeup or cute kids’ clothes but I thought what the hell, I have a platform so I might as well use it. We all know the saying that kids are like sponges, but I’ve recently become aware of the fact that I am my child’s biggest role model. I’ve been navigating my way through the minefield of motherhood with a notion that it is my job to teach my child right from wrong, but it wasn’t until the other day when my daughter said, “mommy, am I getting wrinkles? I don’t want to get wrinkles” that it hit home that every little action and every muttered phrase is observed and internalised. It’s a sobering thought.
Now that my daughter is nearly four she is no longer just focussing on learning new words and not to smack her friends. Now she is very interested in the process of “growing up” instead of just enjoying being a kid. All children have to grow up, but it is a pretty long process and she honestly shouldn’t be planning her future hair colour at three years old (she wants blonde hair, even if she has to wait 15 years for it) or declaring how many Red Bulls she will drink a day when she grows up.
The Red Bull comment in particular made me guiltily realise that she is modelling her future self on me, her ultimate role model. Obviously your children learn their attitudes, beliefs, manners and the like from their parents, but it is one thing actively trying to teach your child something you want them to know, and a completely different matter when they are being influenced every time you examine your eye wrinkles, and by every unintended slip of the tongue. This is absolutely terrifying to me, and makes me really glad that I stopped smoking before she got to this age.
All little girls want to wear their mom’s makeup. I remember playing “dress up” with my mom’s shoes and makeup when I was little. Being grown up seems glamorous and fascinating, and this might be all there is to it. Maybe I am being a bit hard on myself by feeling so guilty that my child refuses to wear “cheap clothes” and has a wrinkle phobia. But I’m glad that I’ve become aware of how much my child is taking in. I’ve made a conscious decision to tone down my consumerism and keep my insecurities to myself.
What things have you said or done that have been mimicked by your child? Does anyone else out there feel guilty for not being the perfect role model? I’d love the feedback.