Well, we’re back at that time of year where we traditionally take a moment or two and do some personal introspective reflection – a dissection of the sort of parent we are, what we’ve done, how we could be better. Isn’t it expected that we all spend some time before the final countdown of the year to create a list of resolutions and self-improving promises, to catalogue the ways we will transform ourselves into a new, enhanced version of our former self, devoid of all tragic, parental shortcomings?
But guess what? It’s not happening this year, regardless of the fact that my three blessings would resolutely recount the innumerable ways I’ve perfected failure these past 12 months - because somehow I think if you’ve got three kids complaining about injustices and wrongdoings, then there’s no need for any sort of mea culpa. If I’ve failed in their minds, then I’m undoubtedly doing something right.
So, lest they think I am going to spend the next few days before welcoming in a new year retooling my parenting skills, I’m hear to let them know, no such luck. Instead I say:
- I will continue to enjoy personally tormenting you. I will always wait until you are downstairs to remind you that your bedroom light is on, and I will refrain from pointing out your plate is still on the table until you are back in your room.
- I will continue to insist that your clean clothes belong in the drawers and that the drawers are closed.
- I will never agree that the floor is a laundry basket, that towels dry best on the carpet, that socks belong on the coffee table, or sneakers just “end up” on the stairs.
- I will always reserve the right to repossess your computer, or phone, or iPod if your bed isn’t made, or your room is a mess, or you disregard family rules, and I will continue to leave a sarcastic note on your desk outlining my return policy.
- I will continue to perform random checks of your aforementioned electronic devices, including your computer history, your texts messages, and your emails because I was younger once and know exactly the idiotic decisions children can make, and I will install computer program safeguards and not tell you the password.
- I will reserve the right to scream at you to stop screaming, to expect respect and honesty, to simply say, ‘because’ if I don’t feel like explaining my reasoning.
- I will ignore the stigma of being a helicopter parent, and will always ask if did your homework, force you to correct your grammar even if you insist it’s just a social studies report and not for Language Arts, and I will check the grade portal and prompt you to try harder.
- I will point to the faucet when you ask me for a glass of water, point to the toaster when you ask for a piece of toast, point to the refrigerator when you ask for lunch.
- I will constantly vet video games and movies and TV shows and ignore your pleas, "but everyone does it."
- I will stop at every historical marker, feed you vegetables with every meal, and boot you off your computer and insist you read a book.
- I will continue to say no when you incessantly ask for a pack of gum, or a toy or another video game and I will expect you to help around the house simply because you live here.
- I will force you to take walks with your family, to care about your siblings and to think about others.
And most importantly, I will continue to be the parent you holler is so mean, who doesn’t understand, who never lets you do anything. And I’m proud of that, because the truth is, I love you. And if I let you do whatever you wanted, and to get everything you asked for, and to allow it just because everyone else’s mom does, then I wouldn’t be doing my job. So to hell with screaming less, giving more, and wishing for peace, love and harmony. So my three kids might think I’ve failed. Perhaps by the end of 2014, they’ll see it differently. I just hope I make it that far.
By Jenny Tananbaum.