I used to read books about parenting. A long, long time ago.
A lot of them told me, "You can't be friends with your kids!" and things like, "You have to assert your authority!" and other things too I guess. Things that basically screamed, "You are failing as a mother! You aren't following the rules!"
Well I don't particularly like rules, but I did like my kids. A lot.
I used to say that to people in an almost apologetic way, "It's just that I like them so much..." Like I needed to apologize for liking the people I am raising. Like it's some kind of character flaw that we get along pretty well and don't have a huge amount of drama in our house. As though I was wrong because I wasn't following the book.
I don't really remember at what point I stopped caring. Maybe the night we moved into our little townhouse and my son lay awake for hours telling me all about the cartoon Dave the Barbarian. Maybe when my daughter wanted me to be her Girl Scout leader. Maybe Tuesday, when she wanted to go walking with me, the night before her fourteenth birthday. Maybe the next day on their fourteenth birthday, when I realized that my son never gets to old to continue telling me a story, even as I'm shouting, "I have to pee! I have to pee!" and running into the bathroom.
I don't know.
I do know that having just turned fourteen I have far less time remaining with them in my home than I really want to think about. I'm also keenly aware that they could, at any moment really, decide I suck and they hate me. Teenagers sometimes do that and frankly? I'm pretty lame. And loud. And I always make them do homework and study before we have dance parties in the living room. I'm still a mom. Will always, always be the mom. I take the good and the bad with that. Gratefully.
For now, I guess I'll just be thankful.
And hopeful, I guess.
Because I always want to be friends with these two people.
A good mom is one you can still be mom and be friends with their kids. And you are a good mom, those kids are fabulous! Happy birthday boy and girl child!
My daughter told me recently (and she is almost 16) that I am more like a friend than a mom. And as long as she respects me, I'm good with that. I like her a lot too... we have a blast together.
Parenting isn't about giving a bunch of orders. It's about mutual respect. And about you guiding them through the somewhat sucky growing-up process.
Happy birthday to your kids. Sounds like you are just the Mom they need and they are just the kids you need.
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