Currently, I am the parent that has to be the pain in my kids’ arses. I am the one that tells them they have to pick up their toys, that they have to eat carrots or a yogurt instead of helping me clean out the Halloween treats that still reside in our pantry. I am the one that tells them to go play outside instead of sitting in front of the tv. I am the goon that tells my daughter that she has to keep a schedule with her homework. I am the queen of the dinner table that requires my children to request to leave and promptly clean up their plates and to do so politely. Overall, I come off as a drill sergeant who outwardly appears to push my recruits to ring their bell to bow out when all I am trying to do is instil good habits and to avoid raising ignorant, entitled delinquents.
Its a horrific position to be in. I have to constantly battle with the other preferred people in my children’s life. Here are the current opposing team members:
- The close grandparents: They wait on them hand and foot, buying them gifts every time they set foot in a mall. They allow them to play for hours on their digital handheld devices. They also not only feed them snacks insanely close to dinner but serves them on silver platters to my children resting on the living room furniture with a drink in hand and wrapped in a cozy blanket. My mother, has even admitted that if by chance they ever had to raise my children, my son and daughter would probably be steeling cars before they turned thirteen because she lefts them get any with EVERYTHING.
- The great aunt: She loves them so much that she will plan playgrounds tours where she visits multiple outdoor parks in one outing. If by chance the weather is too extreme she will pay and visit an indoor location, where she will allow them to play for not one, not two, but multiple hours.
- The single uncle: Who drops by when he cans, throws them in the air, feeds them full size candy bars, plays a little snap chat and then leaves me in the settling dust. His vehicle is always beyond our sight before the impending sugar rush sets in and I am left to deal with the little Tasmanian devils he created.
- The doting father: Who is usually gone in the morning before the little angels wake up. Therefore when he arrives home for dinner, the children are so happy to see their father that I am surprised they do not kiss his feet when he steps across the threshold. I understand that because he does not get to see them for the majority of the day, he rather spend his time having fun with the little blessings instead of ordering them to finish cleaning, which I had strongly suggested to do eight times in the last hour and a half before he showed up. So traditionally, our evenings are as follows with him arriving home being treated like the lord of the castle while I continue to work in the background as Cinderella but with the attitude of her terrible step sisters and step mother combined.
Now, do not get me wrong, I am grateful for each of these people and so many more in my children’s lives. They give my kids and I a break from the holds of parent children relationship. But its hard competing against those standards! How on earth would a woman who is trying to raise her children “properly” hold her ground against the army from the world where the sky rains jellybeans from clouds of cotton candy?
All this reminds me of a time in my childhood where I was sitting in a car with my mother probably around the age of nine or ten. We were stopped at a red light behind my younger brother and father riding in the vehicle in front of us. Even with our windows rolled up we could hear the loud rock music and feel the vibrations from the base emitting from our family’s second car. All of a sudden my father reached over and began to play fight with my brother, pushing him back and forth until the whole vehicle began to sway. I watched this from the passenger side seat in the silent vehicle. Without breaking eye contact with the road, my mother simply spoke, “Huh, you do have more fun with your father.” I didn’t answer but I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes while my inner voice was screaming, “WELL YEAH!”. I now understand my mother’s position – I am currently living it. It only took 23 years, but I get it.
My husband is the fun loving one, ready to take the kids on a new adventure. If it was even possible the kids have even raised him on a higher pedestal. It all stems from his recent decision to allow them to enter his side of the basement and to hold his prized possession: the PlayStation controller. The kids are now playing what was in the recent past, forbidden video games. They now look at their father like he could control the seas and walk on water while I am pretty sure they see me as a tight ass, lame, lethargic, high strung, introverted being that is only around to wash the dishes, do the laundry and clean the house. And continuing on that note they probably do not even think I do a decent job. There are constantly requesting different foods in the house and somehow I cannot the maintain a sustainable amount of clean underwear in their chest of drawers.
So how does a mom cope with this overhanging cloud of dictatorship? Does she rest once the kids are down for the night? Does she pray for a full nights rest not only for her sake but of those of her children and her spouse? Does she grab a bottle of wine and disappear into her Netflix account to engross in her fictional stories with ruggedly handsome leading men? Yes to all! Well, I was born and raised in the Maritimes so more often than not I am diving into a 67 calorie beer (try to keep that mom body in check) and watching my latest supernatural/zombie thriller where someone most likely dies and/or something gets blown up. I like to watch shows that keep me on edge and makes me grateful for a peaceful life.
Seriously though, what can the main disciplinary person (mother or father) do to shift the tide, to tip the children in our favour? Do we give them ice cream for breakfast? Crank up the radio to some sick hard rock music and head bang to the beat? I know I am their parent not their friend, blah blah blah but can I be a part time friend? Not someone they cringe when their father says “ Let’s go ask your mother?” Someone to look to for a reasonable, fun, energetic, caring and outgoing parent?
I know this will all work out, that the homework eye rolls or the tears of putting away toys and the tantrums of going to bed at a reasonable time, will, fingers crossed, make my kids, capable independent respectable working adults. I only pray when they get to that stage we can hopefully cross that parental line and become friends. One can hope that day comes sooner than later.
So on that note, feel free to leave your own words of wisdom, suggestion, anecdotes or a digital hug. They will all be happily accepted. If anyone is searching, you will find me drinking my beer, deep into writing my own book about characters who oddly enough have no children.
Thanks for reading and carry on my main disciplinary parents!