"Why aren't you dressed?" I scold the kids as one lolls in bed and the other reads a book. "We're running late. Let's get going!"
Then I remind myself that one of the reasons we're running late is because I hit the snooze alarm once too often. Well, yeah, I tell myself, but at least I get myself ready quickly.
"Why can't you put away your things?" I moan, seeing the pajamas on the floor, the books slipping off their shelves and the toy accessories lying under the desk.
Then I walk into the living room, where unread newspapers cover one end table and a pair of my earrings lie on the other. Oops, I think. I'll put those away right after lunch.
"You can't find your new Lego figure?" I sigh. "I've told you so many times to put them in the box when you're not playing with them. Keep things in their place and they won't get lost."
Then I sit down at my computer desk, where papers spill out of every cubbyhole and I can't find the schedule I printed out the other day. I'll find it eventually, I tell myself. It's got to be here somewhere.
"No, you can't skip your homework today and make up for it tomorrow," I snap after watching them dawdle and play for half an hour without opening a notebook. "It's important to keep good study habits. Just get the job done now and you won't have to worry about it."
Then I look at the mail basket with its pile of unopened letters and bills. I'll get to them later, I promise myself - after I do other important things first.
Several times during Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, the congregation confesses as one a list of sins ranging from slander and false dealings to haughtiness and impudence. For all these things, we pray, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement. In the Reform liturgy, the list also includes this doozy: "For condemning in our children the faults we excuse in ourselves."
Guilty as charged.
(And whaddya wanna bet my two little pitchers secretly think the same thing?)
I think it's time to set up a Momsperiment in which I clean up my own act and see whether setting a better example makes the kids more willing to follow it. Anyone have any anecdotes to share along those lines?