Growing up, I was a pretty good kid. I never wanted to rock the boat or break the rules, because I liked being the "good kid." My brother, however, was a little more challenging. I always felt like my parents were my friends because they made a real effort to be our friends. My mom was an open book, and I always felt super comfortable asking her questions about anything (and I mean anything), and my dad and I always enjoyed doing "things" together like snorkelling and going to Broadway shows. Today they're my very best friends. But I often wonder: what if they'd been strictly parents?
Kids need parents. They need someone to respect and someone to fear (sometimes). They need someone to make the "right" choice for them, even if it's not the most desirable choice.
I find myself straddling the friend/parent line on a daily basis. Too much "friend-ing" and lines become blurred - sly or sarcastic comments that might be exchanged amongst friends suddenly become inappropriate when directed at a parent. However, too much "parent-ing" and you could lose your child's trust ("If I tell mom about this, she's going to be mad").
So I am constantly reminding my 5-year-old son that while I may think of him as one of my best friends (because I truly and wholly love spending time with him), my job is mommy first. I'm going to have to discipline. I'm going to have to enforce limits. I'm going to say no to that third piece of candy (even though I, too, want a third piece of candy) because I'm the parent, and as much as you don't think I do, I know better.
Because when I held you in my arms for that very first time, I made a silent promise as we locked eyes that I would always put you first, keep you safe, and do my very best to raise a good human being.
And there's only one way to do that: not by being a best friend, but by being the best mom.
A full-time work-from-home mom, Jennifer Cox (our “Supermom in Training”) loves dabbling in healthy cooking, craft projects, family outings, and more, sharing with readers everything she knows about being an (almost) superhero mommy.