Taking a Sabbatical from Nagging

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

complicated, tenuous.

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 …

It’s exhausting.

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,

shake some sense into you,Image and say,

Wake up!

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.