Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!
Most of my days are filled with affection and accolades from my son. “Mommy, I love you ALLLL the way to Pluto!”, “Mommy, you are the best, most BYOOTIFUL Mommy in the WHOOOLE world!” But every once in a while, my job as rules enforcer puts me at odds with my subordinate. On these occasions I get, “YOU ARE A MEEEAAANN MOMMY!” Sometimes I get the door slam. Sometimes I get a toy chucked at me and that look of defiance. Typically he’ll say something like “If you don’t let me do what I want, I am NOT going to listen to you.” Sigh. It was so much easier when I was just Fun Aunt Ruth to my nieces and nephews.
Let’s face it, being the disciplinarian is a drag. And yet it’s so necessary. We parents only get one shot at shaping this little being into a productive citizen of the world. Our job is to give them the tools they need to do the right things and be good people. Hopefully happy people as well. This is an awesome responsibility.
I am fortunate enough to have a spouse (aka Bad Daddy) who backs me up when I lay down the law. This doesn’t stop the child from trying to get a different answer from the opposite parent. Guess you can’t blame a kid for trying. I can’t help but smile inside at his brutal honesty about his motives. “I asked Daddy if he would give me computer time and he asked me what did Mommy say. I didn’t want him to ask me that, I wanted him to say I could!”
So I saw this episode of a show called “Intervention”. Not that I make a habit of watching such crapola. But this family struck me as a perfect example of just how badly you can screw up the parenting thing if you and your partner are nowhere near the same page. The couple had 3 children. The dad was only interested in being their friend and did nothing to discipline them. The mom overcompensated to the point where the kids resented her and chose to live with dad when the couple got divorced. Dad remained clueless and also happened to be a workaholic so was never home. He gave the kids absolutely no boundaries. Can you guess where this is headed? Long story short. All three kids ended up hooked on drugs. Two of them eventually died of drug overdose in their 20s. The third kid still did not get the wakeup call about the hazards of drugs and seemed doomed to be the third victim. This is an extreme case but the message was clear. You cannot simply be their friend, you have to give them rules and enforce them. In a loving way, of course.
Like it or not, being mean mommy is an important part of my job. I don’t relish it but it will be worth it in the end.