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i lecture too much

May 26, 2011

Why is it that every second sentence that comes out of my mouth is me lecturing Maya about something? Why do I say things like:

I’m not answering that question because you’ve already asked me the same thing 65 times.”
“One more story and that’s it, okay? Mama has like 50 other things to do.”

The truth is that sometimes I  really don’t have anything else to do, I just don’t want to read about Pinkalicious and her obsession with cupcakes again. Other times I just want to get dinner made and the dishes done so I can spend 15 quality minutes with the TV before I fall asleep.

Yesterday I was feeling especially mean as I lectured her again about putting her toys all over my chair. So after she walked off in a huff I sat down (on the newly emptied chair) to ponder what drives me to be the way I am. And after much reflection I came to this conclusion:

I am extraordinarily selfish and I don’ t like to be inconvenienced in any way.

I got past my selfishness long enough to take Maya to the Skirball Center. For two hours we made dolls from recycled materials, played in Noah's Ark, and I even let her get soaking wet in the Rainbow Arbor. Not one lecture came out of my big mouth - it was a momentous occasion.

I can’t come up with a good reason why I am this way. I’ve heard that having children makes you less selfish and yet I am as self-centered as ever.

Can someone please help me see the light? Before I have to start saving for Maya’s therapy fund in earnest?

79 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 12:33 am

    Ok, I’m seriously starting to agree with the “long lost sister” theory of yours. I do the same thing. ALL THE TIME! Its now so engrained in me that I actually do it unconsciously. I have to use absolute intense mental concentration to not do it.

    Seeing as Ive been have a bout of “absolute near death exhaustion” syndrome, the whole trying not to do it will have to wait a bit.

    Great post.

    • May 26, 2011 6:41 pm

      Even when I use the most absolute concentration I can’t seem to stop myself from opening my big mouth. I have a sickness.

  2. May 26, 2011 12:58 am

    oh lol listen you are just being a MOM. It all comes with the package 😀 don’t worry 😀 u are doing an excellent job.

  3. May 26, 2011 2:54 am

    Uh oh. I’ve really been banking on the idea that kids make a person more generous and less self-centered.

    Sounds like I’m gonna have to get a new game plan for myself… crap…

  4. May 26, 2011 3:17 am

    I think we all have those days when we feel like that. I knew that the hardest thing for me in being a mom would be to give up my quiet time, my me/alone time. See I am one of those people we could literally spend the whole day by myself and enjoy every single second of it. Having to give that up on a regular basis is hard and sometimes makes me extra cranky. But Maya knows you love her and even though she may still need therapy because let’s be honest don’t we all she will be fine.

  5. May 26, 2011 3:25 am

    I tink one thing to remember is that kids are… well, kids. As much as it pains me to hear kids screaming in my classroom, giggling over really stupid things, or listening to one story a zillion times, I always have to think back to about when I was a kid. What would I feel like if an adult didnt really care about what I think about? I think it’s hard too because adults crave alone time as well!

  6. May 26, 2011 3:46 am

    I think if you carried a baby in your belly for 9 months and have raised her so far you are selfless 🙂 Just sayin!! A lot of people won’t do that! Lectures were such a big part of my life growing up haha. Maybe as Maya gets older she won’t need to be lectured 😉

    • May 26, 2011 6:43 pm

      Allie…you make a valid point! Lectures are what I grew up with so I suppose am parenting the way I was parented?

  7. May 26, 2011 4:07 am

    I adore you. I really do. You sound so much like me…and I hope to God you don’t take that as an insult since I’m so messed up!! ;)…No way – you are HUMAN. But even more than that – your real, your YOU and are awesome!! (and believe me – WAY less selfish than a lot of people…parents or no parents 😉 ).

    • May 26, 2011 6:43 pm

      Thank you. And I haven’t quite let on just how messed up I am. Yet. 🙂

  8. May 26, 2011 4:29 am

    I guess giving lecture comes naturally to all moms. You will not believe this. But I keep lecturing my barely two year old every other min. I guess that’s something that cannot be avoided. 😦

  9. May 26, 2011 4:36 am

    HAHAHA…I love reading this. Because one of the things I’m worried most about having kids is having to give up my selfishness (that I kind of love). Glad to know that it’s not totally required to be completely selfless as a mother 🙂

  10. May 26, 2011 4:41 am

    It’s so hard to hold back sometime. I think to all of the times I’ve worked with kids, and as much as I want to keep telling them what I think they should do, I sometimes have to hold my tongue.

    Then again, sometimes it feels good to be right, and to lecture.

  11. May 26, 2011 5:10 am

    ‘mayas therapy fund’ LOL…kids are annoying and maya will thank you for the lectures in the future. your preventing her from becoming a spoiled adult! thumbs up to you Ameena!!!

  12. May 26, 2011 6:42 am

    I think for your momentously calm outting with Maya, you should treat yourself to a fabulous handbag or shoes 😉

  13. May 26, 2011 6:51 am

    I think it’s ok to be selfish as parent because it makes you a better parent. Sometimes I wish my mom (and dad for that matter) had been more selfish and not so giving of their time, energy, etc. when we were younger. You’re doing great, Ameena! And I think Maya will appreciate it all when she gets older.

    • May 26, 2011 6:44 pm

      Thank you Parita! I hope Maya says that about me someday too.

  14. May 26, 2011 7:13 am

    You may have a maladjusted definition of selfish…
    It’s not exactly selfish to ask people not to smash in your car windows, or put them in the hoosegow when they decide to do so.
    You just need to adjust your viewpoint to think, “I’m teaching Maya to live in a civilized society where she’s not allowed to smash in other people’s happy places with her toys.”
    See? Good Mom! Helpful Mom! Responsible Mom. It might also help to realize what you have is:
    “Six year old daughter!” which is just another way of saying “oblivious!” and ” mess making machine!”
    yes.. much better…it’s all in the marketing..

    • May 26, 2011 6:45 pm

      You have a point…I can totally spin this as my doing her a favor, right? Just call me Responsible Mom…

      And I have to ask…what is a “hoosegow?”

  15. May 26, 2011 7:23 am

    My theory would be that all the chaos/etc that surrounds you now that you’re a parent is what drives you to long to have time/energy to devote to yourself. We all need to be a little selfish in order to keep sane

  16. May 26, 2011 7:50 am

    I think you are doing an amazing mommy job! I wish my mom was selfish. I think she spend too much of her life taking care of others and not her needs.

    • May 26, 2011 7:22 pm

      Thank you Kiran. I hope that Maya says the same thing about me in 20 years…

  17. May 26, 2011 7:55 am

    I don’t know about parenthood making you less selfish because for me I just feel like it highlights how selfish I really am. If it makes you feel any better, I have plenty of moments with my kids where I am, in effect, stamping my foot like a 12 year old and whining, “what about me!” Don’t beat yourself up too much. Kids are a major time suck, I say that with love, and you have to demand some space and me time with them or there needs will swallow you whole.

  18. May 26, 2011 8:02 am

    You lecture too much because you care too much! 😉

  19. May 26, 2011 8:19 am

    i think you are a great mom. she sounds like a super extra special inquisitive kid. not that i know a ton about kids. maybe they are all like that!

  20. May 26, 2011 8:39 am

    I’m a lot happier when I can just let things go and not nag people to do things my way.

    …or maybe I don’t nag when I’m happy.

    The correlation/causation line here is a fine one.

  21. May 26, 2011 8:47 am

    Circle of life, my friend! I plan on lecturing to my kids all the time ’cause my parents put me through it. And to tell you the truth, I’m kinda looking forward to it 😉

  22. May 26, 2011 8:48 am

    Oh daaahling, you are asking the wrong person. I have lots of things, but patience isn’t one of them. One of the reasons I never had children was because I am the baby!
    *kisses* HH

  23. May 26, 2011 9:15 am

    You know, I was never a patient person until Dudette came along. I guess it’s because I’m an older mom and have wanted this since I was 20 or so. This is a fleeting time. Someday in the not too far future, she’ll be pushing me away, not wanting me close. So, I put up with the 24×7 questions and reading “Everyone Poops” over and over because she just graduated preschool today. Tomorrow she’ll be a high schooler and I won’t know anything so she won’t be asking me questions but rolling her eyes at me. Next day she’ll be graduating college and moving away.

  24. May 26, 2011 10:16 am

    Ok – I love you.
    Yesterday I stormed into my boss’s office and said, “I am too self centered to have a job that requires me to do things for other people”. He thought it was hilarious, but I was serious.

    • May 26, 2011 7:24 pm

      Your boss sounds like an awesome guy. I want to work for someone as mellow.

  25. May 26, 2011 10:24 am

    I fear I am becoming more selfish and less tolerant these days. I’m sure I must need help.

  26. May 26, 2011 11:04 am

    You’re not selfish…mommies need their space too!!! Kiddos do it on purpose I think….they want it all!! I get that all the time – the same question over and over, and like you I always say I’m not answer THAT again!!!

  27. May 26, 2011 11:23 am

    That is a beautiful picture you’ve captured there, Ameena – love it! I think you and I both know there’s a time to be selflish (after they’ve asked you the same thing 65 times. And by they, I also mean the hubby 😉 ) and a time to be selfless (the very rare occasions when they actually do as they’re told. yes, also includes the hubby again). So let’s just say, thank goodness for balance in our lives.

  28. May 26, 2011 11:50 am

    It’s not too much to ask for to have a space of your own! I think you are doing a great job. As long as Maya feels that you take time to explain and listen to what she has to say (like Madam Oprah says; everybody just wants validation, to feel that their voice is being heard 😉 ), you should just continue to teach her as much as you can – I guess that’s what’s parents are supposed to do!

  29. May 26, 2011 11:50 am

    I thought getting married would make me less lecturely/selfish….ummm, not so much. I guess I outta keep those baby plans on hold….. I can’t even be convinced to get out of bed for myself let alone someone else 🙂

    • May 26, 2011 7:25 pm

      If it’s any consolation, getting married didn’t help me in the selfish arena either.

  30. May 26, 2011 11:53 am

    Moms totally need their own time/space 🙂

  31. May 26, 2011 12:46 pm

    Boy, am I with you on this. It’s all I do these days – either lecture, threaten or count to three before executing a time out. At bedtime in a confessional sort of way I tell Deaglan: You know, Mommy loves you no matter what right? Even when I’m yelling and frustrated. He seems to get it I think. I hope. And I think you undid all the lecturing by taking her to the Skirball Centre.

  32. May 26, 2011 2:33 pm

    LOL! I have a 4yr old and a 6 yr old and seriously, all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to get AWAY from my family for a whole afternoon (not even the whole day, just an afternoon was all i asked). So, I get where you are coming from completely.

    • May 26, 2011 7:26 pm

      This is exactly what I asked for on Mother’s Day too. Do you think I got it? Of course not! Flowers are so much easier to give…

  33. May 26, 2011 2:53 pm

    It’s out of love 🙂 She knows it too!!

  34. May 26, 2011 3:36 pm

    I feel kinda selfish myself which is why I’m afraid to have kids. I might not change enough! Well, at least you are conscious of it. Having kids has got to be tough. I can barely even imagine. I know you are doing a great job though. All mom’s lecture and thanks to the Rainbow Arbor outing…I think Maya will be Ok.

  35. Leslie permalink
    May 26, 2011 5:20 pm

    One of my dearest friends has an academic background in psychology. At about age 10, she gave each of her girls journals for them to write down everything they wanted to criticize her about so they wouldn’t forget to complain to their therapists when they hit age 20 (she promised therapy at age 20). Well, her girls diligently began writing down all the “horrible things” their mom did. Mmm, after only 6 mos, the girls began to question themselves on their earlier entries. “I was upset about that? No way.”

    I think it’s a version of Mark Twain’s story about his father. (paraphrased) When I was 20, my father was so ignorant I could barely stand being in the same room with him. When I was 30, it was amazing how much my father had learned.

    BTW, loved the pic of Maya in the rainbow!

    • May 27, 2011 8:39 am

      As soon as Maya can write non-gibberish I am going to have her try this because I think it’s a brilliant idea! Thank you Leslie for the suggestion.

  36. May 26, 2011 5:54 pm

    I hide Wee ‘Burb’s books under the couch when I am sick of reading them. I’m sorry, as cute as it is when she tries to say “porcupine” the book makes me effing insane! I also hide when I am eating sometimes because I do not wish to share my candy bar with her.

    I figure it’s like mental illness, right? If you think about whether you’re crazy, you probably aren’t? If you worry about being selfish and try to fix it, you aren’t nearly as selfish as you think you are. Because if you were truly selfish? You wouldn’t care about being selfish.

    • May 26, 2011 7:27 pm

      Sometimes I hide when I’m eating particularly good chocolate too. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one…

  37. May 26, 2011 6:09 pm

    Oh, I hate to be the one to break this to you…but the fact is, you are no where near selfish. Sorry, but it is true! As for patience I really don’t even remember if I had it before kids, got it during or it was the end result. But however and whenever is comes, it comes 🙂

    • May 26, 2011 7:28 pm

      So there is hope for me? Maybe I’ll grow into my patience eventually?

  38. May 26, 2011 7:46 pm

    That photo of Maya is priceless. You have to care for yourself first in order to care for others. That’s my theory anyway.

  39. May 26, 2011 9:31 pm

    That is a brilliant photo. Look closely and you will see that you are not at all self-centered. Unless you just see yourself in that photo or covet that moment, and then, you totally are.

  40. May 26, 2011 11:21 pm

    I love it that you are the way you are – in truth your probably one of the few who come on out & say what we all do anyway, I think I’m way too selfish (that’s a good thing right!!) to be a mother, it sounds as hard as it looks, so go you for your 2 hr momentous occasion of being the perfect mother 🙂

  41. May 27, 2011 2:24 am

    You can think of it as selfish… but I prefer to think of it as preparing her for the real world. At least that is what I will tell myself when I am doing this very thing.

    It’s tough out there… and no one likes toys in their chair.

  42. May 27, 2011 5:52 am

    Okay, if you had said that the picture was one that the nanny took and sent to you, then I would say that you are selfish! I think people have this “ideal” of perfect parenthood that just doesn’t represent the way that it really is.
    I remember my parents either telling us to just go outside and play or go to our rooms. The main idea was: Leave us alone!
    Do I feel unloved now? Oh, hell no. But I do need my own “alone” time. Just one of the many reasons why I have decided to not have offspring!

  43. May 27, 2011 8:24 am

    I see myself thinking like you five/six yrs down the lane. But I’m totally fine with it b’coz I’ll be living and not shooting some vegetable juice commercial. Come on, Ameena which adult like to answer the same question like 100’s of times. I’m sure even the most patient mother will give it a pass.

    If you are calling yourself selfish I probably have to save for therapy of the our future children already 🙂

  44. May 27, 2011 11:47 am

    Sounds like you’re just doing typical mom stuff but being too hard on yourself. I mean if you were really selfish would you have read Pinkalicous at all?

  45. May 27, 2011 12:54 pm

    I hate it when my parents OVER-lecture me, spare Maya this horror! 🙂

  46. May 27, 2011 1:24 pm

    With Baby #2 on the way any day now (as in due in two days but I can’t wait to go into labor like RIGHT NOW), I find that my patience is lacking as I carry around all this additional weight and are still expected to do the usual things I did with my toddler before the pregnancy. I love her to pieces of course but yes, after the 34th rendition of Twinkle Twinkle and a gazillion reading of Green Eggs and Ham, I just can’t wait till her bedtime rolls around so I can get some peace and much needed me time.

    I suppose (and hope) that’s normal?

  47. May 27, 2011 5:38 pm

    Listen I’m a child psychologist and I can first hand tell you that you are NOT self centered. So you want a little down time? You’re allowed it! I am quite happy when I leave my office and don’t have screaming children and angry teachers knocking on my door anymore. Does it mean I don’t like kids? No, it just means I don’t like their germ-infested little hands all over my stuff every second of my day.

  48. May 27, 2011 6:22 pm

    The same thought runs through my mind all the time: how can I be a good mother when I am so self-centered?

    But then it occurs to me that putting myself first sometimes isn’t such a bad model to be giving my kids. I think we all know families that revolve around the kids, but I want my kids to see that sometimes their parents have needs too. Sure, they come first a lot of the time, but there are also times when they have to wait a minute and respect other people’s priorities too.

    Or maybe I’m just trying to justify my own behavior… 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. I love meeting new bloggers, especially those that are on my wavelength!

  49. May 28, 2011 7:14 am

    Congratulations to this amazing insight! It’s always good to know yourself! 😀 I’d say, don’t try to change yourself. You see, you are like that anyway, so why stress about it? Rather focus on getting the best out of your abilities. If you’re selfish, so what? This way, you’ll always care the best for you. That’s something! 😀

  50. May 28, 2011 9:22 am

    Normal. Completely. My favorite thing to do is read to my children. But at the end of the day when Ethan asks for a book I say, “It’s past 8, too late, you need to ask me earlier”, I am just too tired that late. As for picking on the kids all the time, it’s our job, they do not know how to live unfortunately for us. If they did they would put their clothes in the hamper, flush the toilet, put their cereal bowl at least next to the sink, walk and feed the dog without being asked every single morning, look people in the eye, ask if I need help with dinner, I could go on. I only have 8 years until my oldest goes off to college and I am not sure that’s enough time to teach her all she needs to know.

  51. May 29, 2011 1:00 am

    I think you are doing Maya and Ali a favor when you take time to be alone and do things that you like because if you don’t, you will eventually resent it. So, think about it, how can one be a loving mommy and wife if one is resentful? So stop thinking that you are selfish for wanting your own time. Don’t even feel guilty about it.

  52. May 29, 2011 2:15 pm

    I’ve worked with kids my entire life. And while I love kids, being around them all the time has made me feel like a terrible person (although my rational mind knows it has done the opposite). I work with a disabled child and am with him more than anyone else. And although I love the kid, lately I’ve been taking a lot more asprin (i.e. any asprin at all) than I ever have. I often have to go the bathroom just to cry and let out my irritation. I constantly have to remember that kids look up to adults, they are much needier. So, like I tell my husband, “I love this kid, but I am seriously getting sick of being around him all the time.” Which is why in my next life I plan to work with large stacks of paper. Tis my true calling. You’re human.

    • May 30, 2011 8:56 am

      Stacks of paper I can deal with…children are a whole other ballgame. Thank you for the honesty!

  53. May 29, 2011 5:10 pm

    I thought I would become selfless and completely nurturing once my child was born, and while I love him to death, I’m still as selfish as ever. So I completely hear you!

    I think it’s because we are all so independent nowadays, more so than our parents’ generation, and so are much more resistant to deviations from our former pre-child life. I don’t know.

    I think saving up for their therapy fund may be a good idea…

  54. May 29, 2011 8:05 pm

    I think that plenty of people with very good hearts are self-centered, (sometimes) myself included. It isn’t necessarily character flaw. Think about all the good you do for Maya and Ali! Being selfish is like a mental self-help mechanism that allows you some space for much needed alone time and sanity!

  55. May 31, 2011 7:57 pm

    Whew! Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. I only have so much to give before I have to restock my patience supply with some alone/grown-up time.

  56. June 1, 2011 12:19 pm

    Mother does not equal martyr. You took your child to the Skirball Center – far more than most parents would do. Maya will be just fine – she will just have a healthy respect for not leaving her sh*t on people’s chairs.

  57. June 1, 2011 4:48 pm

    You may have to save up for your daughter’s therapy but you are making me feel better/saving me a session (or time at a session). I have given up trying to Carol Brady.

  58. June 2, 2011 9:59 pm

    okay i just went stalkrazzi on your blog today because I was in desperate need of catching up. Out of all the posts, this one resonated with me the most because I often wonder this all the time. I can’t say it enough Ameena, but you say all the things that real women want to say but don’t because of the fear of being ostracized by all the “perfect” mommies out there. It’s obvious you have this unique and witty voice, but in all seriousness you really touch on subjects that hit the heart.

    Thank you for keeping it real and being who you are. It’s refreshing and inspiring! 🙂

    • June 5, 2011 8:29 am

      Thank you Rehana for the thoughtful comment. I’m glad that others can relate because for so long I thought I was the only one who felt this way! And it was really hard for me. Comments like yours make all the difference in my state of mind so thank you for that.

  59. June 4, 2011 7:47 am

    Oh my! Reading this I thought: Is she channeling me? Yep, I too am incredibly selfish and don’t like to be inconvenienced in any way. I do feel guilty especially about not playing cars and xbox as often as I should because there is something else I’d rather do— but that is what grandmothers are for, right?

  60. February 15, 2012 1:16 pm

    We are not messed up. We are mothers. We are humans. Our day does not end at 6pm when we shut down our laptop. We worry about cleaning the house, making dinner, bathing the kid, etc. Maybe we don’t even rest in our sleep as we subconsiously think about the next day.
    I too worry that I am self centered and am not doing a great job with my kid. And I know perfectly well what you do and it’s not selfish at all:)

    • February 15, 2012 8:55 pm

      So funny – I got home after 6 pm. Immediately walked through the door and cleaned up the kitchen, put stuff away in the living room, spent time reading for Maya’s homework, made dinner, and now I’m back on my laptop doing work. Or I was until I read your comment. 🙂

      Our day never ends, does it?

  61. March 14, 2012 11:27 am

    the hanger thing pisses me off too, I am totally with you on this one

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