Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What do you think???


WHO:   All parents.  All Children (under the age of at least 21)

WHAT:    The term friend means different things to different people, but to the average adult, it means things like – Companion.  Soul Mate.  Defender.  Buddy.  Sidekick.  Confidante.  Champion.  Peer.  Associate.  --  Even in very broad terms, do those words define the relationship you want with your child?

WHEN:    The line seems to blur for some reason, when the child begins to get older, and the parent does not.   It is rare for anyone to refer to their infant as their friend.  By the time the child is in middle school, some moms are saying things like ‘She is growing up so fast, we are becoming almost like friends!’  By high school, there are some that make remarks like ‘She is spending more and more time with her boyfriend, it's like I’m losing my best friend.’  When mom never truly wants to grow up, and daughter catches up with her, we have a problem.

WHERE:    More urban than rural.  More developed countries than third world countries.  Rare in families with more than 5 children.

WHY:    Why should a mother never consider her child a friend?  Because a mother should never willingly take that demotion!  A mother is much more important in the life of a child than any friend could ever be.

Our modern society gives us the misguided belief that we can play multiple roles and fill the shoes of every cast member, all while working full time and keeping our lines straight.  Real life doesn’t work that way.  That romantic notion is better kept in a novel or movie treatment.

A single mother is often left to believe that she can, and should, fill the role of mother and father (at the very least).  Even with Herculean effort, she is going to fail at the father role, give the mother role short shrift, and probably become her own worst nightmare, not being able to remember the last time she had a moment to herself, when she laughed so hard with the kids ‘Depends!!’ came to mind, or when she allowed herself the luxury of knowing that what she was doing, only she could do.  She and her child would both be better served if she concentrated on the fact that she is a mom.  A great mom.  One that doesn’t worry about being her child’s friend, because she plays a much more important role.

Same thing applies to the mom that tries to fill the friend role and the mom role any time before a child is certifiably old enough to have a healthy adult life of her own.  You simply can’t be both a friend and a mom to a minor.  Choose. 

Do you want to be your child’s friend, one among many, or your child’s mom (that includes stepmom, auntie, grandmother, whatever title has been placed on the verb – as mom, in truth, is an action word).

Your child deserves better than a geezer friend and half a mom.  You deserve better than being one of many.

Don’t believe it's that simple?  Sit down at the table with that child that you think could be your BFF.  Take a piece of paper and hand her one.  You can do this over a mocha if you are more comfortable.  Honestly, write down the things you most value in a true friendship.  Have her do the same.  When you are done, exchange papers.  If you put down words like supportive, and independent and networking and she put down words like contender for national texting contest, wears a size 0 so we can share clothes, and has a car – you are pretty normal and should be proud.  If, however, you exchange papers, and your words are compatible, or worse, the same, you need more help than this book can provide.

If you are a great BFF for your child, the truth is, you may very well suck as a mom.  You simply can’t do both well.  It is one of those basic tenants of life that modern society tries (in vein) to override.

Kind of like the notion of a classy pole dance.  Someone out there might have figured out how to pull it off.  I guarantee it wasn’t me.  It probably isn’t you either.  The majority of people that think they have pulled it off are deluding themselves, and the simple fact is, I wouldn’t want my minor daughter to try anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheila, I really like this style. I wouldn't know how it work as he format in a book, but I like it.


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