My post for Mother’s Day focuses on the mothers who are Slave Drivers. You don’t get much recognition. You make your kids get up in the morning, go to school, do their homework, clean their rooms, and write thank-you notes for presents. You insist they take baths, brush their teeth, and get home by curfew. You set up rules that must be followed or the children suffer punishments. Once in a rare while you have the time and/or the money to take your kids someplace fun, but they forget. Fast. Because you live in the shadow of the Disney Dads (or Moms, as the case may be). What’s one trip a year to an amusement park compared to a Disney parent taking your child someplace exciting every time they go out?
Being a Slave Driver is not fun. Your child ends up hating you for being a mean old bitch. Your child leaves because it’s no fun living with you. Why should your child do chores and go to school and get a job when it’s so much more fun elsewhere? Why should your child spend life in boring drudgery when there are so many fun things to do? Life is too short to waste on washing dishes or paying bills. Life is all about having fun. And if you won’t let them, they’ll find someone else who will. Someone else who feels sorry for them when they whine and complain about having to do “everything”. Someone who doesn’t understand how curfews work or how a child can learn to negotiate and compromise to get the curfew extended or even removed. Someone who wants to be seen as the rescuer, the fun one, the one who makes your child happy.
It won’t be you.
Once in a while you’ll find somebody who tries to empathize with you. “Someday,” they’ll say, “your child will understand why you made them follow the rules, and then they’ll thank you.” But like many stories, that happens more in the movies than in real life. Your child might never understand. As long as there are Disney Dads/Disney Moms/Disney Friends and Family around, you’re likely to be pushed aside for a fun life.
But I understand. You did what you thought was right. You tried to raise a good, solid child. But the world pulled your child the other way. I commend you for what you tried to do. It’s no fun spending Mother’s Day alone because your kid wanted a fun life instead. It’s hard to take comfort in knowing that you did what you thought was right when no one else gets it.
You did what you thought was right. You stuck to your principles even when the people around you tried to make you change. You’re a strong person. A good parent. I congratulate you. And if you want to commiserate about how it did no good, I’ll listen. Comment form is below.