Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Big Apple

I love New York City. If I were single and childless, it would be my city. Luckily my youngest sister lives in Manhattan and graciously offered to host my daughter and I for quick visit. We had some airline credit that we've been struggling to use for the last 2 years so instead of letting it expire, my husband gave the green light for my eldest daughter and I to visit one of her favorite Aunts.

New York City during Christmas is spectacular! From the Saks Fifth Avenue windows to ice skating at Rockefeller Center, they really know how to light up a city with festivity. It was a lot of fun to do something special with my daughter who I hope is old enough to remember our trip. I hope I will be able to do something as fun with each of the other kids at some point.

The nice thing about stepping out of your daily routine is that you have a chance to actually think without the interruption of the normal chaos. This is a double edge sword. While my daughter and I had a really good time, I saw behaviors come out of her I would have never imagined. When she didn't get her way she was demanding and critical. At one point she thought I bumped her while we were walking and she yelled that she is "tired of this" from me. In another instance I told her she couldn't get a specific toy and she pointed her finger at me in the store and yelled "You're a liar!" None of these episodes remotely resembles the daughter I thought I had. Where did my good little girl go? And who is this spoiled little brat who has replaced her? Frankly, it was devastating to me as a mother. Did this happen because I work and can't be home to keep them in line?

The long plane ride home gave me a chance to really try and evaluate where things went wrong. After 6 1/2 hours and careful consideration, I know the problem likely started with me and my mommy guilt. Ugh...that's really hard to say... I miss my kids when I go to work, so I started bringing them cute little (sometimes big) things home here and there so that they knew I thought about them during the day. I began buying my kids' affection without even knowing what I was doing.

My mommy guilt did more than just hurt me this time. It created one materialistic and spoiled little monster with two others close behind her. I love my daughter,there's no question about that, but I need to love her enough to be strong enough to raise a productive human being who does not depend on material objects to feel fulfilled in life. I need to replace things with genuine love and attention.

This was a great trip for both of us that neither of us will ever forget.

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