Parenting the Parent

Jan 7, 2019 | Betinna Carlos, Parenting

“Hirap magpalaki ng magulang,” we often hear this common expression that says how difficult it is for children to raise parents.

While young parents often complain about the challenges of raising their young brood, middle-aged parents may also complain from time to time about parenting our very own parents. Have you ever said this? I have. I think most of us have.

At some point us children—we all are, regardless of our age—often find ourselves switching places with our parents. I can truthfully say that my 7-year-old may already be feeling this towards me. There have been some moments when she would teach me, or rebuke me, actually, lessons that I should be modeling to her.

I am sharing about this now because I had a very fresh encounter with “Mummy Gummy” just this past weekend.

See, I have been conscious about practicing patience and composure in front of my child—I need to get soo much better at those since we are homeschooling in a few months time. Not to mention intentionally giving quality time – no phones or work-related thoughts and breaks while we are playing or engaging in any activity – except when there’s an urgent need.

I’ve been very keen on getting better on these areas and I was aware that I must possess them. But in one instance, I was on the phone troubleshooting delivery of my cakes, which I had to attend to suddenly in the middle of the Netflix movie we were watching.

And as if nothing happened, like she has completely forgiven me, my daughter blurted while having her spoonful of monggo and rice, “Mom, it’s done. Forget it na.”

And so the little child, seeking to have me back on the couch, kept repeating “Mom” in three different voices. I felt stressed by the situation and further aggravated by her disrespectful action, also forgetting that it was my peeve, interrupting while I was talking to someone else. All these pushed me to scream in a big burst of anger.

I lost my temper and started becoming a historical character—bringing up history, credits to Pastor Peter Tanchi, whom I am borrowing this term from—then afterward came a lengthy lecture.

I couldn’t spank her with that height of emotion so I walked out. But I threw the spanking rod first. I know, I become such a monster when provoked. I needed the time out to process what I just did and recognize where it came from. I needed to exhale and recompose myself so I can apologize from the heart and not lose the moment to teach my child about waiting and respect.

After the drama, we talked and processed, apologized to one another and forgave each other. Finally, we prayed. But my heart was still heavy from the guilt that even during dinner I was still bringing up how bad I felt.

And as if nothing happened, like she has completely forgiven me, my daughter blurted while having her spoonful of monggo and rice, “Mom, it’s done. Forget it na.”

Ouch. How hard was it for me to let go? I wasn’t the one spanked. I was not the one whom painful things were said to. Yet she has moved on before me.

And as if the Holy Spirit in her was not yet done, she followed up, “Remember the coins that fall in the well? Remember, you don’t find it anymore. Remember, God, forgets our sins? Remember Mom?” These she said in between mixing another helping of rice into her plate. My queasy heart was silenced and pacified.

Moments like this with my 7-year-old make me cringe a little. Speaking to me—a 30-year-old-who has been through much and has been walking with the Lord for 7 years — about forgetting and moving on?

I praise God for turning my heart into a humble teachable one—one without pride at that moment. Sensitive to the correction and unique working that the Holy Spirit used to drive the lesson straight home.

I know it was emotionally too much for my child—to see her Mom scream in anger and even had to deal with the remnants of her guilt afterward. I pray to be more aware of my “buttons” so as not to expose my child to my bursts. Have you ever been parented by your children? Please share them with me at [email protected]. Surprise! I am not a perfect parent.

Bettinna Carlos or Mummy Bite [Bee-té] or Bites is a modern, single, Christian, working mom. Everything she does is for the Lord and her 5-year-old gummy bear, Amanda [or Gummy]. She starts her day with prayer and devotionals which she shares on Instagram, with the hopes of bringing more people to Jesus.

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