Not proud to admit it, but the other day, I got into it with my strong-willed 7 year old daughter. She actually just turned 7 several days earlier. She turned 7, and seemed to regress to age 3…I swear, the child has been a handful lately.
We got into it over a huge mess in the bathroom. When I asked both my girls what had happened, I got two “I don’t know” responses. Really? I explained to them that if they told me the truth, I would deal with it – it’s when they lie, it means trouble. I don’t think my girls realize yet that I can read them both like a book. It was quickly obvious to me that the oldest honestly didn’t know why toothpaste was all over the floor. The youngest…it’s that tiny little smirk that she can’t hold back, that always gives her away.
Drama ensued. You know how your kids argue in that whiny, high-pitched, sing-song kind of way…”Nuh-uh, I didn’t dooooo it!” “Uh-huh, yes you did tooooo!”. Umm, yea, I participated on that level. Not one of my best parenting moments. Like I said, I’m not proud. These days are rare, but they happen – I’m not perfect. The youngest ended up shut in her room, laying across her bed, crying into one of her stuffed animals. I had told her she could come down when she was done crying, and she appeared about five minutes later, sniffling and puffy-eyed. She went over to the coffee table and started coloring a picture, being very sure not to make eye contact with me.
Not wanting the rest of the day to have a huge black cloud hanging over us both (this was the first day of Spring Break…10 more days to go), I went over to her and gave her a hug. She wrapped her little arms around my neck, and began to cry. This child…she has an ability like no other to test my limits, but she can also make me melt like no other.
“I’m sorry”, she sobbed.
“Me, too.” I replied. I guess I wanted to make sure we were going to be able to move on with the day, so I asked, “Are we still friends?”
She leaned back, and looked at me like she was confused. Then she gave a little laugh, and said, “You’re not my friend. You’re my mom.”
Did that make me sad? Actually, it made me hug her tighter. Made me feel like I was doing this parenting thing right – what I feel is right, and to have her point that out to me felt wonderful. No, I should not have got down on her level by getting sucked into the drama, but I was right to tackle the issue of her not telling me the truth. My job is to be the parent, especially at these young ages – give my girls boundaries, guide them to make the right choices and give them consequences when they don’t. That’s the hard part – loving them, nurturing them, rewarding and having fun with them is easy. It’s the hard part though that is going to make them into responsible, successful adults. Being a friend to your child during these important, formative years isn’t doing them any favors, and I believe it will come back to bite you in the rear big-time in the teen years, and make for some very ungrateful adults. I remember growing up, there was never a question as to my mom’s role – she was my MOM. My parent. But now I consider her to be one of my best friends. I would be so honored to be seen as a friend to my girls when they are adults.
Sure, I would have rather not have had the whole incident that morning, but I couldn’t help but feel that my daughter’s comment was like a pat on the back. Affirmation that I’m doing what I should be, and even if she doesn’t realize it yet, she appreciates it.
Rovingmama is a former resident of Montrose who longs to be back, but by the looks of things, is taking a route that requires living a couple years in every state in the continental U.S. She has been married to her handsome husband for ten years, and is the proud mama to two funny, spunky girls, who teach her something new everyday. Rovingmama’s passions include: photography, finding good deals, traveling, laughing, cooking, eating, and her newest passion, running. She’s excited to contribute her random musings to SJP, because sometimes her cat just isn’t that interested in what she has to say.