They say what we do, as parents, is far more influential on our children than what we say. As a person who was once a kid and now sees both my mother’s and father’s influence in myself, I believe this to be true.
So, I try to role model what I want my kids to see (and be). I don’t talk badly (nor am I judgey) about other people. If I want to sh*t-talk someone I do it when the kids aren’t around. If I’m at the store and I change my mind about something in my cart, I put it back where it belongs. If I drink alcohol, I don’t get visibly intoxicated (not in front of the kids) and I never drive my car if I’ve been drinking.
I also have habits that I hope they don’t take on in the future. I am a horrible morning person who clicks snooze at least twice before I drag myself out of bed. I only drink coffee for breakfast. We are never early for anything as I am prone to last minute-ness. And, as much as I don’t get visibly intoxicated in front of my kids, I do go out without them and, without fail, I give myself at least one or two mega-hangovers a year. Sunglasses, the couch…. the need for everyone to: “BE QUIET!” (Soon, they’re going to put two and two together and realize Mommy is suffering from a self-inflicted Wine-Flu).
Oh, and I am on my iPhone too much…
I’m a work-in-progress. We all are! We are nailing it in some areas while slacking in others. This is just life, right?!
A few months ago, I had a little help getting my shit together in one area of my life: the use of my cell phone while driving.
Now, before you start wagging your Peter Pointer at me, I didn’t text while driving. But, I did check my phone at stop lights. I’d do a quick peek at my messages, the time, my email, even a quick FB check. It had become a ritual and a time filler.
I know I’m not the only one. I see plenty of people doing it. It’s pretty obvious when a person is glancing at their phone and back up at the lights and back down at their phone which is why an intimidating looking police officer, in an unmarked car, busted me while I was looking at mine.
She knocked on the window, which scared the living crap out of me, and asked me to pull over. She then fined me $490.00. Afterwards, she and I had a little chat. She gave me the lowdown on the current laws regarding handheld devices. She told me she puts her phone in the trunk so she isn’t tempted to look at it while on the job. I acknowledged that I was in the wrong and that I knew I needed to break the habit. She was nice about it and even apologized for having to fine me (so Canadian of her). I told her she was just doing her job and I was the one who should be sorry. (Such a special Canadian moment).
I was grateful the kids weren’t with me at the time and have since changed my ways. I now put my phone inside the middle console or my purse while I’m driving. And I feel good knowing I’m being a better role model for my kids.
It took a pricey fine and a shameful busting by a police officer to bring an end to my stop light phone checking habit. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help inspire you to do the same.
Our kids are watching and someday, before we know it, they’ll be driving too. So, let’s put away our phones and show them how to be safe behind the wheel.