Naughty or Nice? {Parent’s Edition}

We’ve made your list and Santa’s checking it twice to see who’s been naughty or nice.Santa naughty or nice listWho’s getting a bag full of presents and who will get coal? Moms, we’ve spent this year encouraging, supporting, cajoling, bribing, and chastising our kids to better their behavior. This amidst, kids who aren’t listening or cleaning up after themselves, who talk back and fuss and fight. We are nurturing and guiding these growing human beings to be more mindful and responsible. Yet, the real question is, when Santa is checking our list, will he discover we adults have been naughty or nice?

It recently occurred to me that for all I do, {and it’s a heck of lot}, there are times when I’m on the not-so-nice side to my family. I can be temperamental and impatient. On several occasions this year, my seven-year-old daughter stood up on behalf of her and her brother regarding an incident. You see, my ‘MO’ is to come into a situation, for instance, an incredibly messy living room, and conduct a visual assessment. I quickly conclude what happened with hardly any further information. I promptly pound my proverbial gavel and declare my sentence of who’s at fault and what needs to happen next. Regrettably, there are times when my visual assessment and assumptions led to incorrect conclusions. In my daughter’s assertions, I will learn new information and realize the ‘sentence’ I’ve handed down is incompatible with the actual details of the situation. Humbled, I will promise to do better the next time. Unfortunately, the next times came and went, and I’m fifty-fifty or less on this promise as we near the end of the year.

My quick-to-judge and lack of curiosity even carries over to my husband. In situations with him, the clothes won’t be folded, or the dishes not washed, and I will quickly conclude it’s due to some fault. I won’t bother to ask questions or inquire about his experience and immediately and unfairly proclaim about a perceived lack of support for the household responsibilities. While I hope he would agree that I’ve improved, I know better looks inconsistent.

Some may say bah-hum-bug to my version of ‘naughty’. My version may seem like an indictment on us moms and wives who are doing our best with the occasional rush to judgment. What about them when they push us to our limits? “I wouldn’t have to rush to judgment if the room was clean or the homework was done or the dishes were washed, or the clothes were folded and put away” you might say. Yet these reasonings while justified, cannot excuse our poor behavior any more than it can excuse theirs. In our family, we are team, and teams only improve when everyone is getting better.

girl in striped tights and santa skirt tip toes by treeWe all want the gifts from Santa. My son, an Avenger Lego set. My daughter, a new Barbie. My husband, a new Apple watch and for me, jewelry. Yet, the greatest gift we can give ourselves and those we love is accountability, promises kept, and revived ways in communication, intimacy, and care. So, Santa, if you’re reading, I hope this is has me on the ‘nice’ list.

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Tiffany Harris
Tiffany is a bit of a wanderlust starting from her early years. She is the daughter of an Army veteran and was born in Georgia and has lived in Okinawa, Japan, Monterey, California, Dayton, Ohio and then spent the majority of her formative years growing up in Canton, Ohio where her parents were born and raised. For the last eleven years she has called Houston home. She's had some of her most transformative events happen here - her wedding and the birth of her twins. Over the years, even with children, she's continued to enjoy the friendly skies. She owes much of her traveling in the last ten years to visiting her younger sister who has lived in Okinawa, Japan, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Monterey, California, Muscat, Oman, and Cairo, Egypt. In her daily life, she is busy with her now five-year old twins {a boy and a girl} enjoying time with her engineer husband and spending time with friends. Tiffany is a fan of low-key spots in the city where she can enjoy a great cocktail or glass of wine.


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