Thursday, May 8, 2014

how to survive when your kids love to hate you

There are days a mama just can't win, no matter how well she does her job. For instance:

I cook broccoli, and they hate me.

I give her an orange bowl instead of a pink one, and she hates me.

I assign them chores, and they hate me.

I tell them they can't go play until their schoolwork is done, and they hate me.

I won't buy him an iPhone, and he hates me.

I can't make it snow like Elsa, and they hate me.

Okay, maybe they don't actually hate me, but that's how it can feel when rational, kind parenting is doled out and the immature response is either a kicking, screaming mess or a pouting, resentful wretch.

{I promise you, dear children, I did not give birth to you as a part of a diabolical Machiavellian scheme to rule the worlds of four small human beings.}

These children want unlimited access to the sugared-up spoiling comfort of an easy life. They want me to bake cupcakes daily and string a banner over their lives that says " Congratulations! Life Will Never Ask More Of You Than You Are Willing To Give".

But if I parented with the sole goal of making their life easy, they would never know what real love is.

My motto has become, "I'm sorry. No matter how angry you get, this will not change. You can be happy or sad about it, but you will have to accept reality."

Then somehow, magically it seems, they adjust and the circumstances that seemed horridly cruel become wholly conquerable.

They learn to eat broccoli.

She says thank you no matter what bowl she is handed.

They do their chores.

They finish their homework.

He reads a book or plays a game.

They sing "In Summer" and run through the sprinklers.

All their anger was never really about me. And when they smile and tell me this ended up being a great day after all, it feels just like this:

So when I feel they abhor my very existence, I remind myself of the proven truth: If a child's attitude stinks today, graciously hold the standard high and let them try again tomorrow. It will probably change.

Because they like me, they really like me. And they'll like me even more if I am kind and strong, and love them through the mess. Really.