Sunday, February 17, 2013

We Aren't Friends

As a follow-up to my post yesterday, I wanted to write a little bit about the agony and defeat of parenting.

As much as it hurt when my little girl told me screamed that she hated me, I took it as a sign that I'm doing something right.

As parents, our job isn't to be friends with our kids.  Our job isn't to make them happy all the time.  Our job isn't to create a universe where things always go their way.  Our job isn't to smooth the speed bumps and reduce the unfairness they will confront.

Our job is to parent them.

Period.

Life sucks.  Life isn't fair.  Life is a real bitch sometimes.  But it's also reality.

If we don't ever teach them to deal with changes, to adapt, to be conscious of other people's needs, to react reasonably, to make good choices, to pick themselves up when they fall, we aren't doing them any favors.

Life isn't going to bend at their will because they stomp their feet and throw a fit.

Neither should we.

Is it easier to give in sometimes?  OF COURSE.

We all do it.  We all cave sometimes.  It's human nature.

Easier isn't better though. Easier can't become habit.  Easier teaches them to whine, to complain, to nag until it wears on you.  That they can wear you down.  That they can get their way if they push enough.

I know people, too many people, who make it their mission to be friends with their children.  Who want their children to like them.  Who want to have things in common with their kids.

We can do all that friend stuff when they're adults.  Right now, my job is to parent them.  To discipline them.  To give them structure.  To teach them.  If we can get along in the process, that would be great...but it's not my goal. I hope that someday we can be friends when they are grown and have flown the coop and have responsibilities of their own.

To illustrate my point, there is a commercial out right now for fruit snacks.  I won't say which brand and I won't link the commercial for a few reasons, one of which is that this crap isn't food and no one should be feeding it to their kids.

Sorry, I'll put my crazy liberal back in the cage.

Anyhow, in the commercial, the kid whines through the entire grocery store, bugging his mother incessantly.

Does she leave a full cart of groceries in the store, apologizing to the employees, as she drags her beast of a child out (like I've done too many times to count)?   No.

Does she recite the word no so many times that she starts to wonder if it's the only thing that ever comes out of her mouth (like it seems I do every day)?  No.

Does she tell her kid to knock it off and behave, to stop whining and act his age, finally requiring him to hold on to the cart like a toddler if he's going to keep it up (like I do)? No.

Does she eventually get so frustrated that she leaves the store exhausted and without half the stuff on her list because it's just freaking easier to go at midnight alone (like I've done a million times)? No.

She buys him a box of fruit snacks.

Hell.to.the.no.

I'll live with being accused of ruining their lives.

It's part of the job description.

We aren't friends.

5 comments:

  1. AMEN!!! I tell my kids "I will be friendly, but I am NOT your friend. I am your mother".

    Well said, post!

    Michelle

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  2. Yes! I completely agree!!!! and yes...sometimes I do give in. But most times, I stand my ground. I say "Life is tough. Get used to it!" Love this post!

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  3. I couldn't agree more with you! I haven't seen that commercial, and I don't think I want to!

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  4. OMG! it's like you're my twin! I will not put up with that behaviour and I make a point of pointing it out ( no pun intended) to my children when I see it. I've been doing that so long, now they point it out to me.

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