An open(ish) letter to parents + kids

 

So. It turns out that my mom REALLY loved me, even when I thought there wasn’t a chance in hell she could even LIKE me (how could she when all she was ever doing was nagging me, grounding me, and disciplining me), when I was growing up.

She used to say: “It is harder for me to punish you than it is for you to be punished.” To which I would say in my head behind the eye rolls: “YEAH. RIGHT!”

She would comment: “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing.” And I would be thinking: “NO! You are just a total jerk and you want me to be miserable and never have a life and you totally ENJOY dumping out all of my drawers after asking me a mere 9 times to clean my room. Don’t talk to me about what is HARD! It is going to take me HOURS to put all these clothes away. And it won’t be good enough for you anyway”

She would remind me, constantly: “I am not your friend. I am your MOTHER. Someday we can be friends, but not until I feel I have done the best job I can do raising you.” So naturally, I believed that we would NEVER be friends and that I wouldn’t want to be friends with her anyway because why wouldn’t she want to be friends with me? I was AWESOME. Total. Rubbish!

So fast forward to present day. My mom is my very best friend. She is also my therapist, my confidant, my partner in crime, my “go to”, my everything. Being that I went from having 2 to 5 kids virtually overnight, I have learned a few things rather quickly. The most important thing being…. OMG. My mother was right. About ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

So. Kids. Take it from a young(ish) mom who is learning as she goes. When someone tells you that is is harder for them to punish you than it is for you to be punished, they are telling the truth. It would be SO MUCH EASIER to just “let it go.” To “sweep it under the rug.” To ignore bad judgement, disobedient behavior and back talk. But is it going to make you the absolute best version of yourself if we let you get away with anything and everything you do wrong? NO. Do you think I really WANT to scream your name and nag you to put your shoes in your bin and pick up your jacket and hang up your bag and throw away your trash? No. I annoy MYSELF when I am forced to do this. And yes, I said forced. I am forced by this crazy power that takes over my whole being and turns me into Super(Insane)Mom. I am trying to help my future daughter-in-laws by teaching my boys how to be tidy and clean up after themselves and not be complete slobs. I am doing my job being your MOM!

To put it into kiddie terms, you = play-dough. Your potential = the most amazing thing anybody has ever made with play-dough. Your parents or guardians or teachers or WHOMEVER is punishing you is trying to mold you. They are trying to shape you and TEACH you and help you learn. Do we (adults) know EVERYTHING? Absolutely not. Far from it. We are learning more and more every single day from YOU. BUT… we know more than you do about life. AND WE LOVE YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.

When someone claims that the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing, they are not exaggerating. It is NOT easy to ground your kid. It pains me as a parent when I have to tell another parent something that my kid and their kid did wrong together. It pains me even more to talk to my kids about said thing. It literally hurts my heart when my son gets an invitation for an overnight and I have to tell him, “No. I hope now you will think twice about doing X. Because I sure would hate for you to have to miss out on the next one.” But. I know that if I said “Yes” I would basically be saying “Don’t WORRY about that terribly naughty thing you did! Drink all the soda you want and heck let’s go buy some fun dip and PLEASE stay up as late as your little heart desires!” Sorry, guys. That is teaching you absolutely NOTHING. Except that you can get away with whatever you want and I’m sorry. But. It’s just not happening. Why? Because it’s not the RIGHT thing. And… because I LOVE YOU.

Can you guys believe me about one thing? The harder we are ON you. The meaner (is that a word?) we are TO you. The crazier YOU MAKE US. The MORE we must LOVE you. Because WE KNOW WHAT IS BEST. TRUST! This is NOT “Let’s Make a Deal!” This is us, knowing what is best for you. And for me, it boils down to this (and I tell this to my kids every day). Be kind. The rest will fall into place. You are going to mess up. You are going to make mistakes (a lot of the same ones I made).  And that’s OKAY, as long as you LEARN from them. You are going to take the fall for a friend. You are going to have your feelings hurt. But. JUST. BE. KIND Be NICE!. To EVERYONE. Even to your super hard, mean, crazy parents. And I PROMISE. You’re gonna turn out pretty amazing AND do amazing things while you’re at it.

Now. Parents. Just one thing. You’re doing a really fantastic job. Be hard. Be mean. Be crazy! And LOVE. Unconditionally. You are making the world a better place.

xxx
Colleen

PS. Dad. Don’t want your feelings hurt about this post. But let’s face it. Unless it was about my grades (LOOK OUT!) or sports, you let mom have ALL the fun 😉 And I will never forget you always telling me: Just be nice to everybody.

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Mama Rita Pita & Me 🙂

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