Bette Davis once said “If you have never been hated by a child, you have never been a parent”.
Bette, as most of us know, is an icon. It’s only natural then that anything she says be taken as gospel.
Aside from Bette making that statement, I had heard it ages ago. I’ve said it to myself so many times over the years….when one of the kids were in a sulk and not talking to me, because I, in my not so infinite wisdom, had dared to say no to a request.
When little R wants to have some Coca Cola at 7am in the morning – Mommy says no.
When teenager K goes to hang out at a friends’ place and then suddenly decides to call me to ask if he can stay over – Mommy says no.
I read in a magazine once that as a parent, you should say “yes” to your child as often as possible.
Sometimes, when one of the boys comes up with a seemingly outrageous request like: can I go to the shops with you and wear my Batman cape, my Spiderman mask and be t-shirtless like Hulk, my first instinct is to say no. But then I think – why the hell not? In fact, why not wear your swimming goggles and snorkel as well. Why can you not dress that way for a trip to Checkers? (This request came from little R, not the teenager!). To these requests, the answer is yes! Go for it.
When teenager K decides, at 10pm on a Saturday night that he is absolutely starving and will simply die if he does not eat something….”Mom, can I fry bacon and eggs”? My answer is – yes, absolutely, go crazy.
Saying YES is a way of life in our house. But when the time comes for a NO, it tends to be a very firm no, because it is not said with ease. When we decide the answer is no, then it will stay that way.
No answers only happen where there is a concern over safety, uncomfortable situations arising (for the teenager) or any instance that just doesn’t “sit well” with me. Yes, maybe all the friends will be there and it will be so much fun…..but what’s that you say? No parental supervision? Well then….NO.
So as much as I would like my kids to always “love me best”, the fact remains is that I am not their friend. I am their mother.
One thing I tend to say often to them is this: If you don’t hate me sometimes then I am not doing my job as your mother.
When they are old enough, I do not intend to hit “da clubs” with them (I would not know what to wear anyway).
I will be their mother, there to guide them whenever they need assistance navigating this sometimes cruel world. I hope to raise two strong young men, who will work hard, be good people and maybe one day be good husbands and fathers.
So Bette Davis – I can truthfully say that I have been hated by my children many times and can rest easy knowing that I have earned my title of parent!