There are all kinds of classes available when you have a baby. Baby & Me, Toddler Town, Crawling Creatures...whatever, I don't really remember the names, but you get the point. There were shitloads of advice out there when we had babies.
But what happens when our kids get older? What about the gap of 9-15 years? We're on our own?
Good Christ, I'm here to say that I could use some trained help in this area.
I may not be the only parent out there having a hard time setting boundaries with older kids. When they were babies, it was easy. "Don't touch that or you'll be electrocuted." Life or death situations are simple.
I mean, I want them to live for crissakes.
But when they're older...oh man. Now they negotiate and I find myself counter-offering showers, meals, and cell phones. This isn't life or death, it's preferences, choices, and contributions.
I'll ask my 7 year old to pick up her shit (trust me, there is plenty of it), and somehow she'll turn it around not do it.
Four hours later I'm looking at the same pile of shit that I requested to be removed.
Sometimes I get confused...is this the same pile of shit or did she put it away and take it back out again to form yet a new pile of shit? I didn't recall seeing Barbie in that position this morning.
So yes, I tend to be a walking mat. It's my deseperate need for approval. It knows no boundaries, which is why I have a difficult time establishing them.
My first clue was when I pulled up to a store and starting walking to the door. I looked back to see the girls still sitting in the back seat.
They were waiting for me to open their door like a fucking chauffer. Nice.
Yes, I have created this beast, but I'm determined to turn it around.
Kids feel safe when they have boundaries. Otherwise, they wander aimlessly trying to find the line. Is the line here? Nope. How about here? Nope.
At some point they have to wonder, "Does anyone fucking care?" They need to know that someone is looking out for them. I keep swirling that little nugget of information around in my head when I start backing down like a wet washcloth.
So that's what I'm working on. Being the Mom, with a capital "M". The Head Honcho. The No-Bullshit-Rule-Establisher/Maintainer.
It's difficult, but I'm getting there. I'm not their friend, I'm their Mother. They have plenty of friends, but only one Mom (again with the capital "M" - I can't help it. It's the way I'm rolling today).