Most of our kids think they have it pretty rough no matter their situation. They can express utmost gratitude for that new Lego set one minute, then the next they are asking for the bigger, better set the kid down the street has. Little kids have mastered the art of comparing and contrasting their lives to those of their friends and peers, and it totally annoys the fuck out of parents everywhere.
I mean, we compare ourselves to others enough as it is, so we really don’t need our kids to point out all the ways they think we fail to measure up. My three children are constantly telling me how much better their friends have it — their friends have more privileges, a later curfew, more spending money, and the list goes on. They feel the need to remind me of my perceived shortcomings on the daily.
But the biggest treat of all is when they tell me I am the strictest mother, ever. “So much stricter than any of our friends’ moms, by a whole lot” is a phrase my son used the other day. I am thinking that the goal was to make me change my mind about a thing or two, but that’s not going to happen.
I mean, I’m sure I am not the strictest mom to ever walk the planet, and they can try all they want to make me feel like a fun sponge, but here’s the thing: If I am tougher and have more rules than other mothers they know, I don’t give a fuck. If I am the most relaxed mama in the neighborhood, I don’t give a fuck about that either. The only thing I care about is that I am raising my kids in a way that feels right to me.
They can call me the mean mom and say I have too many rules. They can get mad and stomp their feet all the way up to their room and slam the door, then skip dinner because they are so pissed at me. Whatever works, kid.
None of that shit bothers me half as much as when I feel like I am cheating myself and my kids because I am trying to parent like someone else or let my children do something just because Billy down the street gets to do it, even though it scares the living shit out of me and Billy is kind of an asshole.
So I will be the “mean mom” if I have to. I can be as strict as they come if I feel that is what it takes to keep my kids in line, safe, and on the right track.
I did not have kids so I could have more friends. I had kids because I wanted a family. I wanted to raise decent, kind human beings, and I don’t believe you can do that by letting them run the show or parent based on their whims.
I know some don’t agree, and that’s okay too. But I will be damned if my teenage son is going to set his own curfew or dictate where he will be staying overnight. And I’m also not going to change my mind about him closing the door to his bedroom upstairs while he spends time with his new girlfriend — even if “All my friends are allowed to, Mom!” Yeah, I bet they are. Give me their number, and I will ask their moms and see what they have to say.
I will not allow my tween daughter to get a $60 body piercing because her friends are doing it as a symbol of their friendship.
I don’t feel right about quite a few of the things my kids present to me, and it’s my job as their mother and their role model to listen intently, provide feedback, and then stand my ground. I will veto anything and everything I want.
If I started letting them make the rules, this house would be even more of a shitshow than it is already. I let them do plenty, and I always listen to what they have to say — it’s just that I don’t always bend to meet their current demands because they are not the boss of me.
My stance on this will not change. Call me the strict mom, the mean mom, whatever you wish — it doesn’t hurt my feelings. From where I sit, my kids are doing just fine without making their own rules. They are healthy, happy, and thriving. And when they are 18 and can legally take over their lives, I guarantee I will get plenty of calls and texts asking, “Mom, what should I do?”