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"My son said something that deeply disturbed me. But I said it too."

Do you know who’s listening to the stories you tell yourself?

Big life lessons sure come from the strangest places sometimes.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading my son a chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory each night. Last night, wondering if he was actually taking any of the the story in, I thought I’d test him.

“So,” I said casually, “what bit are we up to?”

“Um, not sure.”

“Well, are they are in the chocolate factory yet? And what’s the name of the guy who owns the chocolate factory?”

After thinking for a sec, he replied, with an exaggerated sigh, “Mummy, I’m not a ‘figuring things out kind of guy’ you know. I’m an artist. And a builder.”

I was momentarily stunned into silence. Who on earth told him he wasn’t a ‘figuring out kind of guy’?

Just as I was about to launch into a big “mate, who told you that? Don’t listen to people who want to tell you what you are and aren’t” lecture, it hit me.

He was the one who had told himself that.

In direct mimicry of me.

Of me saying, “Oh matey, Mummy’s not a details kind of girl, go ask your dad that question”.

Of me saying, “Bud, you’re going to have to remind me of x because mummy’s not very good at remembering stuff”.

Of me saying, “Mummy’s not very good at building stuff, you’ll need to ask Daddy to help you with that”.

It appears I spend a lot of time telling stories. Stories about myself. Stories about other people.

But mostly about myself.

And it becomes clear that I need to be more careful with those stories I’m telling.

First, because it becomes hard to figure out if I’m truly not good at all that stuff, or whether that’s just the story I’ve been telling myself.

And secondly … because it appears I’m not the only one listening.

What do you say around your children that they end up repeating?

Writer, mother, business owner, wearer of many hats. A few years ago Kelly decided to get off the hamster wheel by learning to live A Life Less Frantic. Her new book Your Best Year Yet shares the 7 simple mind-shifts that helped her get there but she is always learning new tricks and shares those and more on her blog.

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