I'm Your Mom, Not Your FriendDecember 16, 2015, by Lana L.
I'm the mom to two great young men. They're smart, kind, empathetic and fun to be around. Which is probably mostly "the luck of the draw", but I like to think I had a little bit to do with it. While my husband and I are by no means the perfect parents, we've done a few things right. Our main parenting philosophy?
My kids have lots of friends. I am not one of them.
Webster defines friend as "a person attached to another by feelings of affection, who gives assistance". Well, I guess that sounds like my relationship with my boys. Most days I have affection for them, and I definitely give assistance. A lot.
Yet I am not friends with my kids. The way I see it, that's not my role. Parenting is an amazing experience and I'm so glad I've gotten to participate. It is the hardest job I have ever had. Honestly, being their friend would be so much easier.
When you're growing up, a friend is the person you hang out with, tell your deepest secrets to, and sometimes get in trouble with. But even though your friends have "feelings of affection" for you, they might not always have your best interests at heart. That's where mom and dad come in.
Everyone parents differently, and I would never tell someone that they are doing it wrong. But for me, I can't try to be my kids' best bud or worry if they're going to be upset when I make the hard decisions. My boys are mad at me on a weekly basis. If you ask them, they will probably say daily. It just goes with the territory.
If I were to spend my time trying to be their friend, I'd lose sight of being their mom. And deep down, I think they both want me to be their parent. They want me to set boundaries and limits, to point out that they might be making a wrong choice, to guide them through these really hard years when they are becoming who they are destined to be. Right now they don't like it, but someday they'll thank me. At least I hope so.
Being a parent instead of a friend doesn't mean they don't confide in me, laugh with me, and have fun with me. As I was writing this, my 18 year old called and gave me the "best mom" award because I offered to make him soup and grilled cheese when he got home from swim practice. And we're not even friends!
I figure if I do the best I can to parent them now, they will grow up to be good human beings. The kind of young men that people want to be friends with. And THEN I can be their friend too.