My Ugliest Habit

I have a very ugly habit that I’m trying to break: Rolling my eyes.

I used to rely on it periodically for private release of stress in a situation where I couldn’t/shouldn’t say what I wanted to say, or I would use it for comedic effect. But now? Now I use it for EVERYTHING. Mainly? With my husband and my children. AND IT IS SUCH A TERRIBLE HABIT.

Oh…and you better BELIEVE if any of THEM roll their eyes at ME that they will NOT HEAR THE END OF IT.

It started with Wes at first when he wold throw a tantrum. And that felt kind warranted back then because his tantrums were 12s on a 1-10 scale and sometimes an eye-roll was what I needed. But then I started doing it when Nikki would give me typical tween attitude/drama and that started to feel a little uglier because – what kind of message was that giving her? That her attitude was unacceptable but mine was fine?

But then I caught myself doing it to to my HUSBAND and that was when I realized I was relying on that response TOO MUCH.

It really is such an ugly response to anything. I was MY ugly response when I used to do it when I left a room and no one else saw but now I’m doing it AT people BECAUSE I know it’s shitty and in that moment I want to be shitty and y’all…I DO NOT WANT TO BE THAT PARENT.

So I told myself I was going to stop! And you know what? It’s so deeply ingrained in my response tool chest that it has proven to be almost 100% impossible. I mean, I’m SO EMBARRASSED by how hard of a habit it has been to break because I now see how much I actually do it and it is ALL THE DAMN TIME. Other times I now realize I do it? When I’m listening to the news. When I walk by a beautiful woman dressed to the nines. (That’s my insecurity rolling my eyes in those moments.) When I see a bumper sticker that says, “I own guns and I’m not afraid to use them.” And sometimes the ATTITUDE that comes along with the eye-roll is understandable. I mean, that bumper sticker is TO ME what the problem is with gun culture. But most of the time it’s a terribly cheap and immediate response and to me, deep down inside, NO HUMAN DESERVES AN EYE-ROLL.

I mean, I know that on a “When All Else Fails, Be Kind” level. But jeezus…when my kid complains about something for the 14th time today, something only a middle class white kid would complain about? I HAVE SUCH A HARD TIME THINKING ABOUT KINDNESS.

It’s going to be a long road because I’m just now realizing how often I do it and how often it’s involuntary. Like a REFLEX if someone goes to punch you…I just roll my eyes like an automatic response to things now and THAT IS A SERIOUSLY UGLY HABIT. So breaking it is going to take time, I have painfully discovered.

What about you? Do you think this is any ugly habit? Have you ever tried to break it? I equate it to if someone tried to stop cursing. Sometimes the words just come out and you don’t even think about it because you do it all the time. THAT IS ME WITH EYE-ROLLING.

It’s going to be a long road but I think I’ll feel better at the end of it.

I THINK.

3 Comments

  • Gingermog

    Dude, I can’t even eye roll. My left eye doesn’t work very well. In fact I cant even go crossed eyed. I’d say go for it ‘ Alleluia, every mama got to have some bad habits but I note this is a serious post. Ahem, sorry., Zoot As my parents used to say ” Do what I say, not what I do”.

    My dear mother, who was a gentle, patient soul, had a pokey finger, which when riled she would wag to put the point across further. As a know all teenager i did point out to her was was aggressive. One of memories which rankles with me abut that finger, is that in Chapel if my older sister was giggling at something and I was sitting next to my mother all well behaved, I’d be the one to get the poke for the finger in my ribs (!) not my sister”. The injustice. Mind you I’d rather have had my Mothers Pokey finger than my friends Mothers wooden spoon.

    My bad habit is not having a proper handkerchief on my person to blow my nose and relying on scrunched up bits of toiler paper or old paper napkins from the bottom of my bag. No kids to be grossed out by it though, but maybe everybody else is .

  • Susan

    Maybe think more about the feelings or thoughts behind the eye roll? I read something by John Gottman about how sarcasm and contempt are relationship killers. Eye rolls reflect contempt for the other person and are damaging your relationships. Maybe putting it in perspective like that will help you be more mindful. Good luck! Breaking habits is tough.

  • Beth Edwards

    I do think that is being disrespectful . That is what parents consider it to be when kids do it. It is certainly possible to be disrespectful to your kids. It is definitely a habit,and definitely hard to break, because with most people they done always realize they are doing it. I used to get very upset with my daughter when she did it, which wasn’t often. My neighbor would get very angry with her daughters. I realized that they didn’t even know they were doing it.Breaking this habit could be very advantageous. If its automatic and you do it in response to you boss, or at an organization meeting it could be very embarrassing. All this being said, give yourself some grace. We all do things that we don’t want to. Work on it, but don’t expect to never do it again. Instead of eye rolling be honest and tell you husband and kids how their actions make you feel. As for the reaction to tantrums. If you are trying to ignore them, remember an eye roll is a response. Keep up the good work.