Today, I have declared, I’m taking a sabbatical from nagging. Even as I write those words, I wonder, “Can I do it?” Is nagging built into my mom genes? Is it a habit that I have carried over from my own childhood?
Here’s a reflection I wrote this morning after a not-so-delightful encounter with my young adult daughter yesterday evening.
“Smart-mouthed young woman,
Sometimes I’d like to wipe the smirk off your face,
To tell you that there are reasons you can’t possibly understand,
until you’ve lived a few more decades,
for why your mother nags you, as you put it, every single day of your life.
This mother-daughter relationship is
At times we are in sync
and I feel content
as you, my child-woman, show maturity beyond your years.
Then I grow angry (furious might be a better word)
as you tell me
how I ought to relate to your dad
and how things should be in a relationship.
You try living with a man for 30+ years,
I want to say.
You learn to love him despite all his quirks
and remember that he loves you in spite of all your imperfections.
You have children, try to raise them
to be decent human beings
who care for others as well as themselves.
You try to model, every day of your life,
patience, kindness, compassion, loyalty, hard work, peace, balance, faith, gentleness, love for others, self-care, integrity …
But some of these things you won’t know until you have a few years
of living under your belt.
Sometimes I think maybe I should just give up,
but something or Someone tells me
I need to try…
just one more day…
to extend grace to others, to you, despite the words you say that hurt my feelings.
Yes, I have feelings too.
I know you know that.
Sometimes when I’m tired, the ugly ones spill out
and I wound you or others with my words.
I’m sorry. Forgive me.
Yet at the same time, I want to take you by the shoulders,
Do you not know that you are not the center of the universe?
And neither am I.
What’s a mom to do?
I wish I knew the answer to that million-dollar question.