To my children: You are not my special snowflake. You are not mommy’s perfect children. I will discipline when you misbehave, and by discipline, I don’t mean trying to figure out the root of why you did what you did. I am not going to psychoanalyze your behavior. Because sometimes you do dumb stuff just to do it, and a time out isn’t going to cut it.. I will discipline you at home if I find out you disrespected your teacher at school (and I will find out). I am not going to kiss your every boo boo. If you pitch a fit in a store, I won’t let everyone suffer hearing you scream. You will be yanked out of the cart and taken outside until you calm down. I will (and have) put you to bed early, because damnit, I don’t want to mommy anymore. I will bake a cake or make brownies, and eat the last piece. I refuse to go broke buying you a birthday gift, and you won’t find me taking out any sort of a loan to make sure your Christmas is “magical.” You won’t see me spending $150 on “Polar Express” tickets during Christmastime either. I also won’t be buying you toys at the store “just because.” I won’t be right on top of you at the playground. I’ll be sitting in the shade, watvhing you make friends on your own. I won’t talk to your teacher because someone is bothering you at school. I will teach you the best way to stand up for yourself. I will not fight your battles for you. You won’t find me doing you school work for you, although I will guide if need be. I will not take out a second mortgage so you can go to college. I will not buy you a car simply because you can now drive. You can help earn things, too. I will not enroll you in 18 sports so we’re never home. You quit a sport? Perhaps you don’t need that “end of the year trophy” that everyone gets for participating. I will plant you in front of the tv for an hour and nap on the couch. I worked all week and you still wake up at 5:30am on a Saturday. Damnit, I am tired.
But there are some things that we can both agree on. Saturday morning pancakes will always be a tradition. As is helping me bake cookies for “Santa Claus.” Those seasonal crafts we do together will always be our special thing. We will spend lazy afternoons at the library, rainy afternoons jumping in puddles, and chilly afternoons drinking hot chocolate. I will let you watch old-school cartoons and won’t worry that they’re chasing each other with axes, because I trust you to understand that they are just cartoons. I will sneak in and adore you while you’re sleeping, and will tuck you back in after a bad dream. We will take spontaneous trips to the zoo, the aquarium, or the playground. I will always be here for you, always believing in you, even if I don’t always agree with your decisions. I will help you realize your dreams, and promise to answer the 56 questions you think up in three minutes.
If we can agree that I am not a new age helicopter parent, but still love you just as much, then I think we’ll get along fine.