Driving in the car today, out of the blue, Zoe asked me, “Mom, are you my friend, or are you my Mom? That’s what I love about kids, you never know what they’re going to say or do. Ever.
I was a little caught off guard.
Am I a friend or a mom?
We’d just been talking about summer plans and makeup, and I didn’t get the memo that the conversation had shifted to something a little more meaningful.
“Well, Zoe,” I said, “What do you think?” I wanted to know her thoughts, plus, I needed a little more time to come up with my answer. That’s a good stalling technique by the way. If someone asks you something and you don’t know the answer, just turn around and ask them a question. It will buy you some time.
“I think you’re the person in charge of me, kind of like my boss, and I do what you say,” Zoe explained. “But we’re friends too, right?”
This was a tricky one.
“Yes,” I said, “We are friends. But here’s the reality. You have a ton of friends, but only one Mom. I don’t think you really need anymore friends. But you do need someone to look after you, always have your best interest at heart, and tell you things, even when you don’t want to hear them. And that’s me. And Daddy, of course.”
That seemed to make sense to her, and we moved on to talking about her weekend plans. But it did make me think for a few minutes.
I do want to be “friends” with my children. I don’t want to have the kind of relationship where I’m the “boss.”
But not just yet.
One day, after they’ve gone to college, and they’re older and not living in my house, that’s when the “friendship” can really start. Right now, though, it’s not my job to make sure we’re BFF’s.
Being a parent is a hard job, and we have to be willing to make tough decisions. Decisions that might cause our kids to think we’re “mean” and that we “don’t understand their lives.”
Don’t be afraid to tell your kids things you know they don’t want to hear. It’s your job. You’re looking out for their best interest, and they aren’t going to always understand this. But one day, when they grow up, they’ll be glad you did. And that’s when your true “friendship” can start.
Find meaning each day,