I sat the kids down and placed a piece of paper in front of them.
“This is a quick survey to help me determine how I’m doing as a mom so far,” I explained.
I continued on while handing each of them a pencil.
“Number one — write that down,” I told them tapping the table with my pencil. “On a scale of 1 to 10 — 10 being the most well adjusted and 1 being future trauma related therapy — please tell me how well mom runs the household.”
They stared at me until Logan raised his hand slowly.
“Are we going to get in trouble?”
“Oh no,” I reassured them. “This is completely anonymous.”
I do these kinds of things a lot because I need constant reassurance from people that I’m doing an alright job, or if someone thinks I’m not doing good at whatever it is I’m doing, I want to know that too.
That way, I can agree with them. Because if they know that I know it just makes me feel better.
That’s one of the hardest parts of parenting for me. I really want my kids to like me. I mean, someday they will have a choice on whether or not they come around.
And while right now I would kill for 15 minutes to myself, I’m pretty sure one day I will be begging for them to talk to me about Minecraft for three hours while I’m trying to binge watch The Crown on Netflix.
So when they’re mad at me (which is pretty often considering one is a teenager) I worry that it will affect our long term relationship — or determine if I end up in a nursing home.
Honestly though, I feel terrible when Connor smarts off and I ground him from the PlayStation, or when Logan doesn’t mind me and I ground him from (you guessed it!) the PlayStation.
Technology is sometimes the only leverage I have, because while I support spanking, it became awkward when Connor had to look down to make eye contact with me. And Logan has been stronger than me since he was three.
Discipline, even if I struggle with it at times, is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. They also need to learn how to deal with disappointment — which is another thing that’s hard for me.
Because when kids turn into adults they will suddenly realize that life doesn’t revolve around their individual desires. It’s not supposed to work that way. It just isn’t a feasible way for society to run.
Google says there are about 8 billion people on earth, and I can’t even keep two of them in the same room on a Tuesday afternoon without one holding the other down until he agrees to watch a cat video on YouTube.
So it’s my job to teach them that sometimes life won’t go their way, and that means their actions have to have consequences. I’m not good at it, but I do it because I love them.
When I have to say no. When I have to say not right now. When they just can’t see what I do and don’t have the life experiences that I’ve had. They are going to be mad at me, and they aren’t going to like me at the moment.
It might break my heart, but in the long run they will love me for it. And honestly, they will love me again just as soon as they want something else.
When I get frustrated by this process, God reminds how often I do the exact same thing to Him.
When He has to say no. When He has to say not right now. When I just can’t see what He does, and I wonder and question and sometimes just plain get mad.
But He does it because He loves me, and He loves me so much that He isn’t really worried about whether or not I like Him at the time (although I should always respect Him.)
As for my survey with the kids, I came out with surprisingly high numbers. Maybe they still like me after all.
Or maybe they just want something. I will probably go with that.