Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Lifestyles

November 2, 2012

In the Tree House: The hardest part about parenting

Corsicana — Just the other day my oldest and I were sitting on the floor laughing and playing together, and he looked over and me and said “Mom, when I am a parent, I am never going to get mad at my kids”. And I responded with “Well sweetie, I said the very same thing when I was younger…but you know why Daddy and I get on to you guys sometimes? It’s because we want the three of you to grow up and be kind and responsible men. And we are responsible for teaching you right from wrong, so unfortunately, you will have to be more than just a friend to your kids, you will have to be their “mean ol’ parents too”.”  He just smiled, giggled and we went back to playing.

But that made me realize, that the toughest part of being a parent, is the parenting part. I always feel like good cop, bad cop. Praising them, telling them how great or funny they are; and then I turn on a dime, like I am some sort of demon possessed with all of these rules and regulations and expectations. However, like I have always preached to my kids, if you do it the first time I say or ask, then the demon will stay at bay.

When we are young, we dream of having a family and running, laughing, and playing with our kids; but the part our dreams don’t portray (or the skewed perception that movies and TV offer us) is that there is no fighting or disciplining; it all manages to work itself out without any fights, and everyone ends up sitting around the breakfast table eating cookies and milk, smiling at one another. Well we all, as parents, know that is the furthest from the truth.

The reality of parenting is brutal and exhausting, but the smiles, hugs and laughter make it all worthwhile. For example last night, our middle one was splashing and playing in the bathtub, having the best time; and I stood there videotaping him, laughing and giggling right along side him; when the “parent” side of me suddenly kicked in, realizing I had to stop him because there was about a foot of water on my bathroom floor, the walls were soaked and there weren’t enough towels in Texas to soak up his mess. Even though it was the funniest and cutest thing I had ever seen, and he was just having a ball; the results were ruthless.

So there in lies my problem, parent or friend? I figure you can be both, but there is an extremely fine line. Be there to listen and help through problems or concerns of growing adolescents as their friend, but there are still needs for structure, boundaries, rules and expectations. So if you tell them “No” or that they have to stop, they will only be hurt (and possible “hate” you) for a moment. It will pass. There is this little bond between parents and children called unconditional love…and it really is a thing. No matter what you all do and say to each other, that bond formed from birth (on both sides of the fence) is an everlasting and truthful bond that will (hopefully) never be broken.

You just have to keep reminding yourself, those little people you created will always be your best friends; but your priority in life is to make them the best people they can possibly be, to themselves and to those around them.

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