I’m a mom of three girls and I love it. I’m also terrified. A lot. They are young and mostly carefree, so we have lots of dance parties, play tag in the backyard, color pictures for friends, and we really enjoy cuddling up on the couch to watch movies. But I know that one day, all too soon, they will become pre-teens, then teenagers and have a whole lot of hormonal mess to work through.
Hence, I’m terrified a lot.
Our days aren’t always filled with fun and games. They have a lot of responsibilities that include putting away their laundry, reading, helping load and unload the dishwasher, among many others. Most importantly, they must be respectful and obey our rules. One rule is that once a child is tucked into bed and has been given “hugs, kisses, and goodnight wishes,” there will be no more playing. We can’t command them to fall asleep with a snap of our fingers, but laying in bed, listening to their radios, with the lights off, shouldn’t be that hard to obey.
Unless you are my 7-year-old.
Just last night, she got caught with handfuls of small toys in bed (again). Imagine doll clothes, a book and flashlight, her wallet, chapstick, and jewelry. It was all crammed under the covers with her so she could quietly play and hide it from us. She broke a rule.
This morning, I calmly explained that her late night decision took away her privilege of getting to take a “share” to school for her 1st grade class to see. At that point, I became the meanest mom ever and she temporarily hated me. I cringed. I cried on the inside. But, I held it together and stayed tough so that she knew that I was boss. I had to keep control. Honestly, it was hard.
There is a balance between being the mom and being their friend. First and foremost, I am their mom. I lead by example, I teach them how to respect others and how to be respected, I nurture, I cheer them on, I guide them. But, I also want to be their friend. The friend that they can count on when a classmate is saying means things on the playground. The friend that they ask advice about boys. The friend that wants to borrow my shoes.
The best that I can figure out for now is to be tough, but to love greatly. Another rule will most definitely be broken by any one of my daughters, but they will always be reminded that I love them no matter what. Good decision or bad, I love them unconditionally. I tell them that constantly, and pray that they will remember that, especially when their hormones go all out of whack in a few years!
I am their mom, but I am also their friend.