Doesn’t the term selfish get thrown around a lot these days. I’ve definitely heard it being said on many occassion by those fortunate enough to have been born in the generations preceding myself, of which selfishness was not even yet a concept. Then along came us me, me, me Gen Y’s with our narcissistic traits and boom the world turned to shit over night.
Ok, so you may have sensed a little tongue in cheek there. It was intended. Well it’s hard to take these types of comments seriously from the people who raised the people who raised us. It went pear shaped a while before we got here to be fair. In saying that, this has in no way stopped me from beginning to make these exact same remarks about the generations following me. It’s almost like a right of passage in life. As you get older, you by default become wiser and therefore have the ability and mindset to depart your wisdom on those with less perceived knowledge and life experience than yourself. And if you are anything like me, all the while probably contradicting yourself often along the way.
Eat healthy; Lets get takeaway. Save your money; Oh I love that top – I must have it. Your heart should be the most beautiful thing about you; Urgh, I’m having a fat day/bad hair day/ I have no clothes day. Simple examples, but you get the point.
Just the other day as I sat for the third time to attempt to eat my meal while it was relatively hot, my son piped up that he needed a water. ‘Your water bottle is right next to you’, I said. He looked at me like I was daft. ‘Mum, I like to drink out of a cup with dinner’. The body language and tone he used only increased my frustration. ‘Well you know where the cups are!’ I said. He made a sound as he got up as if I had just asked him to scrub the toilet and off he went to get a cup. I pick up my fork for the first bite and … Muuuuuummmmm.
Side note: Why do that have to drag your name out like that? I mean it will only take longer for me to respond while I’m waiting for the droning of your voice to end!
What? I say through clenched teeth – and not because they are chewing food- ‘Mum, I can’t turn the tap on.’
What happened next, I’m not entirely proud of but everyone who knows me knows I love my food and it is possible the word HANGRY was created for me. Even now I typed it in and my autocorrect turned it into capitals not me! So yeah. I got madder than I’m proud of. Than I should of considering the poor child was after help and even worse, help to access a basic human need for survival.
‘You children are so SELFISH!’ I yelled. Then cue a rant about how I had run around after them all day, brought them footy cards, done their washing, had cooked them their favourite dinner and they couldn’t just let me sit down for two minutes to eat some of it! And so it went on. Until I caught myself. Somewhere between stating that Mummy is a human too and as soon as you’re finished you’re off to bed…. I looked down at their little faces looking at me and I had a flashback.
A couple of days earlier, I had accidentally knocked a lady in the shop. I immediately apologised profusely as I had rudely not been watching where I was going as I had my mobile phone out. Yes, I know. I’m one of those. But with all our busy lives I bet not many of you could say you haven’t walked and text at the same time at least once in public. Doesn’t make it ok, but as I was telling the kids, Mummy is only human. So back to the lady; she was rightly upset. I had negatively impacted her day through not being respectful of those around me. A classic Gen Y mistake.
So despite apologising with extremely deep regret and acknowledging that I had indeed done the wrong thing, I found myself standing there listening to this woman declare how the world is doomed due to people such as myself and anyone else born within the years of approximately 1981-2000. How we no longer care about anyone else and how without our existence the world would be far better off. I had to bite down firmly not to mention that would mean the human race would become extinct but I somehow managed. Now I like to think of myself as a very respectful person. My motto is to try to never leave a situation with the people I encountered feeling any less positive for my presence, but sometimes you have zero control over that. This was one of those times. She had discarded me to the no hope generation pile and my actions had just given her more ammunition toward her argument against us.
Maybe she was right, I thought. I mean I see all these adults and children younger than myself obsessed with self image, and sitting at tables of friends without looking up once from their phones, and always having the latest and greatest of everything and not necessarily understanding the impact it has on everything and everyone around them. But that is exactly it isn’t it. They aren’t supposed to be the ones that know. The wise ones. That is the position as the older generation. To impart our knowledge and wisdom. So why not do it in a way they may listen to and respect. Rather than a rant and a whole bunch of negativity. Inspire them to want change and seek a better life, future, world. How I’m not entirely sure but firstly the mindset needs to change. Easier said than done.
So I snap back to the kitchen, where I’m on my HANGRY emotional breakdown and I’ve caught myself doing to my children what that lady did to me only days before. Did I feel bad I upset her? Yes. Would I not walk and text again? Well that remains to be seen but she didn’t leave me with a positive notion to change. I left feeling defensive. So how do I turn this around for my kids?
Firstly, I apologised for my over the top reaction. Then I asked them how they feel when they get tired and hungry. They both said grumpy and sad and weak. So I said ‘Yes, well Mummy feels the same way and that is why she needs to sit down and enjoy her food too. We all need to work together to get ourselves ready for dinner so we can all sit down and enjoy it together.’ They were enthusiastic and both nodded in agreement and said ‘ok mum!’ It was a little win moment straight after the impending doom I had felt just before that the night was going to spiral out of control. So we all sat down calmly at the table to eat. Little Miss then looked over to me and said ‘Mum.’ ‘Yes honey,’ I said warmly. ‘Can I please have a cup of water?’
Sigh…. Change always takes time. But we could all benefit from keeping at it!
Much love, Michelle