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Growth Spurts: On Parenting Yourself

Here’s what I’ve discovered: My firstborn daughter is the most like me. Here’s what else I’ve discovered: She is quite often the most difficult child for me to parent. And I think I know why.

So many of the things that frustrate me about Callie are the very things that I see in myself. We are both stubborn (though I prefer to call it “persistent”). We both get frustrated when we’re not instantly good at something. We both over-analyze and think about things too much. We’re both rule-followers. We both have this innate and nearly uncontrollable desire (need?) to correct mistakes . . . usually made by others (We also struggle with pride.). I don’t think I’m nearly as dramatic as she is, but maybe my drama is just more internalized. She likes to show hers off. Often loudly. The girl loves an audience.

On the other hand, we can both be hard workers (cue persistence), especially if it’s something we’re really passionate about (read: in charge of). We are excellent at follow-through and following directions. We love to create. We love to plan. And we are both grammar nerds.

We are serious. We are driven. And this often drives our family members – and each other – and ourselves – crazy. We both require the assistance of others to help us relax and have fun.

Wow, this is getting really personal. (Did I mention I struggle with pride?) It’s hard to see your faults in black and white. Or in flesh-colored, independent, living and breathing, miniature versions of yourself. Which, in my opinion, is why it’s so hard to parent this creature. We are uncomfortable when faced with our own shortcomings; none of us likes to see them or fess up to them. And if you’re like me when I see myself in my daughter, I do one of two things. 1) Get mad and tell her what she should be doing. 2) Feel ill-equipped to help her, since I struggle with the same things, so I pass her off to her father, who knows how to deal with us both.

Okay, there actually is a third option that sometimes emerges . . . 3) I have to leave the room and laugh to myself, because I understand. But just because I understand doesn’t mean I’m off the hook. I need to help guide Callie through these things we know about ourselves; share with her what I have learned; and brainstorm with each other about choosing better ways to handle ourselves. What I don’t need to do is pretend that I don’t struggle the same way she does.

Anybody else have a child just like yourself? It’s not easy, is it?

 

Carrie Bevell Partridge owes her mother an apology. Also, Callie says she has learned a lot about herself through reading this article, and she has given her approval on its publication. Check out Carrie’s blogs: www.oncarriesmind.blogspot.com and www.stuffmamaslike.blogspot.com.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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