Here are my Top 3 Things I Acknowledge Are Wrong and my Top 3 Things I Know Are Right:
1. Yelling is Wrong
Apparently, I yell. I don’t scream, and I hope to not get to that point. It’s more of a raising of the voice, which sometimes gets loud and maybe scary. OK, if we are being totally honest, I think it is sometimes scary. I know it is. It doesn’t happen often, although my sons would tell you it happens all. the. time. What I have come to believe (with the help of programs like Quality Parenting) is that I always–100%, 1000%, 100000000%–yell or raise my voice or shout at my kids because I don’t have the patience to deal with whatever my kids need. I really believe that. No one can make me yell. I lose my patience; I haven’t slept well in days; I am not taking care of myself; I lose it because I don’t have it in me to not lose it. They are usually hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. They want attention. They need more of me than I believe I can give. No yelling needs to be my new goal every single day, one day at a time.
2. Being Distracted By My Phone is Wrong
I love my Droid. It’s pretty and it’s simple to use and I love texting with my best friend and I love emojis and I like being plugged in and checking emails. I like Instagram a lot (I’m @missmayim!). I use Twitter (@missmayim) and Facebook for professional purposes but I also like it a little bit personally. However. The phone is distracting. There’s a reason people turn off their phones for Shabbat: It’s distracting!! It takes away your energy and your focus and your ability to look and see and hear and feel everything small people want you to attend to. I need to be more diligent about giving my boys most–if not all–of me when we are hanging out at home. I also stopped checking emails and such while eating out with them. I wouldn’t want them doing that to me, so what makes me have the right to do it in front of them?
3. Comparing Myself To Others Is Wrong
I am so hard on myself all the time. “Why are you so hard on yourself, Mayim?” That’s a great question. Perhaps it’s because I constantly compare myself to these people. I need to stop comparing myself to these people because I am not these people:
– people with nannies
– people whose parents or in-laws live close by and love babysitting and helping clean up around the house
– every other actress I think is prettier or in better physical shape or more successful than I am
– Carla Naumburg (because she wrote an amazing book on mindful parenting and has literally seen her life as a parent and a human being change because of her decision to parent differently, and I barely have time to read her book much less implement all of her amazing suggestions and make my life look more like hers)
– people who don’t work outside of the house and therefore have time to tend house, go to the market, and exercise regularly (at least that’s how I imagine it would be)
– people whose children play outside for more than 10 minutes at a time before coming back inside to ask me to come outside and play with them even though it’s clear I am in the middle of cooking them food so that they can live to perpetuate the species
– married people (see my last post on plunging the toilet)
1. Living Every Day Like It’s Our Last is Right
The Talmudic suggestion to live every day as if it’s your last comes from Shabbat 153a.
Rabbi Eliezer said: “Repent one day before your death.” So his disciples asked him: “Does a person know which day he will die?” Rabbi Eliezer responded: “Certainly, then, a person should repent today, for perhaps tomorrow he will die–so that all his days he is repenting.”
It could be anyone’s “last Thanksgiving.” You truly never know. A dear friend of mine lost his dad last week right on top of Thanksgiving. My parents are over 70. Many of yours are, too. I make sure my boys never miss a kiss or a hug with their grandparents. Even though Little Man is shy with affection sometimes, we make it fun to do a group hug. I want to end every visit with my folks knowing that we made it a good one. Because none of us ever know. God knows. Literally. God only knows.
2. Spontaneity is Right
We played soccer in a nearby parking lot as the sun went down this weekend. Just the three of us. Empty lot. I checked for paparazzi and the coast was clear (sometimes they hide in parked cars and take pictures of me and my kids playing. Nice, right?) It was an unplanned 20 minutes of joy. I kicked that soccer ball hard and far. Firstborn is very athletic and he laughed every time I really let one go far into the parking lot. He chased it all around like a pro. Little Man is less inclined to run about but he is really coming into his own and he kicks a soccer ball lefty like nobody’s business. I want my boys to think of me like that: spontaneous, in a long skirt and sneakers, kicking a soccer ball hard and far as the sun sets.
3. Love is Right.
I mess up a lot. I messed up a lot this past week. I was stressed. I was distracted. My hand hurt from all of my cooking. I’ve got a lot on my mind. This hiatus flew by in some ways, and in other ways, it feels like I have been away from my second home–the Big Bang set–for way too long. I miss my cast mates. I miss doing my job. But no matter how much I mess up or am distracted, I make it a point every day and every night to show my sons that I love them. I apologize promptly when I lose my temper. I acknowledge their feelings even if I can’t bow to them. I bless them after I light the candles Friday nights so that they should have the peace and the protection of a Countenance that wants goodness in the world. We recite the Shema at night as a reminder that we are not alone even when we sleep.
I can only do my best, even though a lot of times my best feels less perfect than the people I compare myself to. I can only be Miles and Fred’s mama. I am Mike’s ex-wife and I am my parents’ only daughter. I am the grandchild of immigrants and I am an actress on “The Big Bang Theory.”
Religious people–often Christian people, in my experience–talk about seeing ourselves as God sees us. That always sounds so cheesy to me, but what if?
Someone bigger than me saw it right to have these children entrusted to me. I need to trust myself the way that Someone trusted me. To see myself as that Someone sees me: capable, loving, and right, even when I feel wrong.