I am a bad mommy. My parenting skills are a little lacking to say the least. Just as my father apologized to me, and his mother apologized to him, someday, I too will apologize to my children for not knowing how to be a “good” parent.
Sometimes, my kids stay up past bedtime and sleep with the television on. Some days we eat ice cream before lunch. On occasion, we even sing the bad words in our favorite songs…..but only in the car where no one else can hear.
There are days when everything at our house is calm and peaceful. Then, there are days when I yell and scream…a lot. Sometimes, they spend a lot of time standing in corners. On the very worst of days, somebody always ends up sitting on their bed, alone, until I have time to calm down and begin to feel guilty for being so mean. We have scrubbed toilets, ran laps around the football field and written two-page apology letters for even the smallest of infractions.
I demand that my children say “yes sir, no ma’am, thank you and please.” They always hold the door open for other people when entering or exiting a building. On cold, winter days, I send my son to pump gas for elderly women when we stop at a gas station.
I expect excellence at school as well. I bribe them into making A’s. Extra-curricular activities are expected and bad behavior is never tolerated.
There are many days when my kids “don’t love me anymore.” I have been told how uncool I am. One day, through hysterical tears, I was told that I “suck!” They have threatened to call social services on me and I have begged them to do so.
Perhaps the most painful thing that I have heard are those three dreaded words: I hate you. The first time my son told me that he hated me, I cried like a baby. It was painful. I felt like a failure.
Then, I remembered a piece of advice that someone had given me years earlier when I worked as a supervisor. A manager told me once that if everyone liked me all the time, then I was not doing my job.
The same holds true for parenting. If my kids like me all the time, I am not doing my job as a parent. As a parent, it is not my responsibility to be cool or to be their friend. It is my responsibility to raise successful, law-abiding citizens.
So, I have learned to suck it up and deal with my hurt feelings. I have made choices that sometimes suck. I have been unpopular, uncool and unwavering in my parenting decisions. I am a bad mommy. But I am NOT a bad parent.
So, here is my message to my children. Perhaps, it is a message that you can share with your children as well:
It’s okay if you don’t love me…..
I still love you.
It’s also okay if you hate me……
You’ll get over it.