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Pep Talk: You're a Lot Nicer Than You Think

Here's a 2-minute anecdote for you parents out there who worry how they measure in the school of Conscious Parenting...

Yesterday, my 4 year-old Henry caught a sizable shiny black cricket who had accidentally trapped herself in our kitchen. We heard her singing out for help underneath one of the baseboards in our kitchen, so she was impossible to catch until - hours later - Henry's little brother, Asa, spotted the cricket lamely crawling around on the floor behind me as I washed the dishes, and frightfully shouted out in tears, "Mama! Cricket? No! Cricket!" His poor little toddler body actually trembled at the site of this creature he had never seen before. It was akin to my reaction to ... the dreaded ... I can't even type it, my phobia's so bad. A different kind of insect that's popular in places like Los Angeles and New York City.

After failing to get Asa to find amusement in the critter, I decided to give Henry the heroic job of capturing the all-intimidating (albeit innocent) cricket and letting her free outside.

The wisdom-bearing moment went like this: After Henry tapped into his newfound skill as a cricket whisperer and successfully put the critter in a jar, he carried her outside and let her loose. Much to my surprise, he let out a big yelp, dropped the jar and ran towards me with a frightened look on his face. I captured "The Rescue of the Shiny Black Cricket" on video so I could show a few friends who were already invested in the well-being of the jumpy insect. I heard myself react to Henry's reaction and I thought, "Eesh. You didn't sound very compassionate towards your son, Ariela. More like a military mom. No offense to military moms. Maybe military moms are more compassionate than you were just then." So I reviewed the video before I sent it to my friends. What did I hear? A completely compassionate, patient and nurturing mom who, at first, had a naturally surprised reaction followed by gentle guidance and rationale. I laughed to myself in disbelief and proceeded to send my friends the adorable video of Henry's heroism.

Regardless of whether we give ourselves too much credit or not enough, the reality is often vastly different from how we judge ourselves in our heads. So next time you express to a friend how badly you feel about how you dealt with a certain situation and they tell you otherwise - "Oh, no, no... You didn't sound like that at all." - believe them. We are certainly our worst critics which is essentially why the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator doesn't work.

Keep being the natural parent you are.


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