It’s a very odd feeling when you suddenly realize your child's worst quality was inherited directly from you, her mother — the one who's supposed to run around fixing everything, while teaching and guiding and molding kids into great adults.

Let me back up a moment. I think I need to explain myself.

I decided a long time ago to stop deluding myself into thinking I'm not messing up my kids somehow, in some way — like I'm not totally and completely blowing it in certain areas.

You see, I'm a human. Before a mother, I am a human, and as such I am flawed, not any more or less than anybody else. Okay that's a lie, there are definitely people way more flawed than me (all we have to do is read the news to learn we're not that bad).

And though I would have staunchly denied this statement as a teenager, I'm okay admitting now that I'm not perfect. Never have been.

Shocker!

Unfortunately, I didn't become perfect the moment I laid eyes on my child. I didn't suddenly morph into a drastically improved version of myself. Well, maybe I improved in some ways (slightly less self-centered?), but my core was pretty much the same. I was just me with a baby, and all the faults that were there before were suddenly not only messing up my own life, but another person's.

No pressure though. Right?

As a mother, I have two choices

I can either pretend my faults don't exist... or I can try to face my faults squarely.

And so, as a mother, I figure I have two choices — I can either pretend my faults don't exist, deluding myself into thinking I'm perfect toward my kids all the time, or I can try to face my faults squarely and be honest with myself, so at least there's a hope for improvement.

I have a friend who once told me, "If you're sitting in the living room and you want to get into the kitchen, you first have to realize you're in the living room."

In other words, I'm never going to get anywhere new if I don't figure out first where I am now. I can think I'm in the kitchen all I want, but until I realize I'm in the living room, I'll never go to get up and actually walk myself to where I want to be.

Ya feel me?

She learned this from you

And so one day, a couple years ago, I watched my daughter explode at her brother. I watched her rage with unreasonable fury. She stormed around the living room and yelled, spewing impatience and irrationality from her every pore. She was a sight to behold.

I stood up to stop her. I couldn't believe my eyes. She was simply acting terribly. It was awful. I was almost afraid of her anger. She seemed like an exploding volcano that just needed to chill the h*ll out.

As I opened my mouth to speak, the truth ran across my mind... She learned this from you!

But as I opened my mouth to speak, the truth ran across my mind like an unwelcome, out-of-town visitor rapping on my door... She learned this from you!

And I knew it was true.

You see, ever since I was a child I've had a serious temper problem. I'm okay... I'm okay... and then I'm not.

I yell, I scream and I say things I shouldn't. And I get all self-righteous and important in that moment, as if my anger were justified, as if it really is your fault that I'm acting like a 2-year-old.

I see red and I explode, then storm off and my heart breaks — because I did it one more time and I'm hurting people and I know it, though it's a person I've never wanted to be. A mother who yells. A wife who rages. A person who roars like a tornado through the home, as if she has some right. And I return to you and I apologize, make sure you know it isn't your fault, but as the apology rolls off my tongue I feel sick in my gut, because chances are I'll do it again.

What do I do now?

One day I couldn't take it anymore and change simply had to happen.

Until one day I couldn't take it anymore and change simply had to happen. No matter how much self talk I did to convince myself I wasn't going to flip out at my kids anymore, the day always came that I did it again.

This went on for a long time, until I got really, really desperate and really, really sick of myself. I started noticing that the times I lost my mind were the times when I was overtired, hungry, in a hurry and/or excessively stressed.

And I am responsible for every one of those things.

So I started forcing myself to eat before the kids woke up. I started exercising to relieve stress. I went to bed earlier, to get more sleep and have more time (shocker — if you wake up earlier, you have more time! I know, I'm a genius). And I'll tell you what else I did, which I think made the biggest difference... I started meditating each morning. Just five or 10 minutes. I sit and watch (or follow) my breath. I have no idea why or how it works, but I can tell you when I meditate, the chances of me losing my patience seem to crash down to zero, or close.

But the truth is I still lose my temper sometimes, and I still watch my little girl follow the misguided steps of an imperfect mother. It hurts every time, as I watch her grow and want her to be better than me, and I curse myself for not figuring it out sooner. Because I don't want her to suffer the way I have, at the hands of my own imperfections.

But all I can do is pick myself up, own what's mine and hold her hand, as we both face what's already done — and try to get a little stronger and a little better at this whole life thing.

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