"Don't let Mom seeeee!"
"Get one of those!"
"That's what we need!"
instead of the usual "Josh _________ me!" or "CAAARRlllyyYYYY!"
I like it when they make up their own little games, I like it more when it involves a surprise for me. I wasn't sure what to expect. Crayon drawings? "Crafts" (quotation marks are the closest thing to sarcasm font on the market today)? Edible treats?
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
My children sued me. As in, an elaborate trial with a briefcase full of evidence, a possible witness in the form of our dog, and Dad as the judge.
I was accused of being unfair. I took away Josh's TV and video game privileges because he didn't finish his school work by 3pm. And while I did, and do, find this amusing on many fronts (imagine, if you will, hard core giggling while my 12 year old son waited anxiously for Dad to pronounce his ruling), it still stung. More than a little.
I'm a mean mom. Shout it from the rooftops! This little game they played, all innocence and angst and no-hard-feelings-intended, only affirmed what I already know. I'm a mean, horrible, hateful mother. I'm no mother at all.
My heart of hearts wants to believe this is not true. I explained to my son later that I wasn't trying to be mean, I'm really not (always) mean out of spite. I want what is good and best for him. I want him to be responsible, to keep his word, to finish his jobs, to learn all he can, to do quality work, to put in maximum effort.
"I'm not your friend," I said. "I don't want to be your friend, I want to be your mother. I want you to be the best possible person you can be."
But inside, a little voice screamed that I do want to be his friend. I do want him to like me. I want him to think I'm nice and wonderful and kind and sweet and perfect. That little voice is very loud. It keeps telling me that I must be doing it wrong. All wrong. Because surely I can be friend AND mother. I don't have to be so mean. I don't have to be so impatient all the time. So loud and critical. So harsh and self absorbed.
I wish I knew how to sort out the true from the false. I wish I knew how to love myself enough to recognize what's good and right, what's wrong and fixable.
But I don't know how. I don't know how.
I'm not looking for pity, or contradiction, or reassurance. I'm just trying to get what's in my head to slow down enough that I can sleep peace.