I’m The Mom, That’s Why

No, I’ve never uttered that phrase. It occurs to me now that it’s not a bad phrase if used properly, just like anything else. I use it in my head when I need to make tough decisions about how to deal with my son. It’s the fine line between being a permissive parent and being a gentle/positive parent.

My son is challenging and has always been. He’s super smart, active, opinionated, strong-willed, argumentative…and I wouldn’t have him any other way. His being difficult has made me a better parent, and I’d dare say, a better person.

Sometimes we butt  heads about things like personal hygiene. He’d like to have none of it. Sometimes he’d rather not leave the house on the weekends. Today was a perfect example. I needed to get groceries and feminine products, so I needed him to come with me. When we have stuff to do, we have to do it together.

I casually told him that I’d like to get groceries this afternoon and that if we went soon, most people would be watching the Packers game and there’d be fewer people at the store. Pretty sure I even threw in something about us sneaking in like ninjas to get what we needed. He said he didn’t want to go and he wasn’t going to go! There were probably a few colorful words thrown in because we use those at home and he likes to use them for emphasis.

So, I walked away for a few to gather steam, the good kind. I went back and said that it was important to go to the store because we needed food and some other things that were already used up. He suggested we grow our own food so we don’t have to go to the stupid store. I told him I appreciated his problem solving skills, but that would take longer than we had. I empathized with him not wanting to go and interrupting what he was doing. Since this was important, I asked him to choose whether he wanted to leave then or an hour from then. He said an hour, but that he still didn’t want to go. Got it. I did some other chores while he watched YouTube videos and played a couple of games.

When the timer went off, I told B it was time to go. He said something nasty to me and I told him he couldn’t speak that way to me and that I wasn’t speaking to him that way. I got my shoes on, grabbed my bag and headed to the car with him trudging angrily behind me.

We shopped, he lightened up, we rode the cart to the car and all was back to being right with the world. I could have just decided I wanted to leave, yelled at him to get in the car and spent a lot less time on the whole process. I want the connection though, even though it’s exhausting. I want him to know his feelings are important. I want him to know that I follow through on what I say. I also want him to know when it comes to the important stuff, we’re going to do it, whether we want to or not, but we’re going to get through it together.

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15 thoughts on “I’m The Mom, That’s Why

  1. It’s a good lesson. They need to learn that sometimes things have to be done, if they like it or not. I guess that’s what happens in school too, right? So by being persistent you cover that part in your journey to unschool as well. As much as I dislike using the answer “because I’m the mom”, it’s not a bad answer. There’s still a hierarchy that needs to be accepted for a little while and it’s important for our kids to understand that too. As long as we are the ones that look after them and make sure they have what they need, we can use that answer as well. Sometimes we are just out of a perfectly reasonable explanation as much as we want one.

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    1. I wouldn’t use it as an answer but I do tell myself this as my reminder that I have to make the tough choices, set boundaries and encourage healthy habits. Otherwise I’d throw my hands up and be permissive, which seems to be what a lot of people do instead of authoritarian discipline. This takes more work, for sure.

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      1. I usually say to them “as much as I hate giving you this answer but it’s just because I am your mom and right now you need to listen to me and do what I ask you to do.”

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      2. I think B challenges me as often as he does, and listens to me as often as he does, because we try to work together on the same level. This dynamic might be different if we were a larger family. Who knows. How do your kids react to that phrase? I’m curious.

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      3. Hahaha… they usually ask me if there’s no better explanation but they do what I asked them to do. To be honest, they are really easy kids. And I do give them a better explanation as soon as I have more time. They know that.

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  2. I have sort of the same problem, except with my son its wearing clothes, but also I have my son in nursery, so I do have that time to do everything without the arguments it always turns out to be. However, I often feel its kind of a cop out, sooner or later, he is going to have to learn to walk nicely by the trolley, or in the seat. So often I enjoy the time to do other things, take a deep breath and then take him to the shops

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  3. It is definitely a hard job portraying our message and sticking to it. It is a great challenge to be that example but when the connection is made we know that our efforts were all worthwhile. Great job =)

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  4. Thank you for sharing this with us. I commend you for the part where you gave him the choice of leaving now or an hour from now, recognizing that you understood how important it was to him to not interrupt what he was doing. I think this is where I often end up failing. I feel so constantly strapped for time that my method is usually, “Kid’s we’re leaving in fifteen minutes.” With this statement, they’re supposed to understand that it’s time to stop what they are doing and be ready to be presentable to the outside world in the given amount of time. Acknowledging to them that I understand how important their current activity is to them would be so much gentler. The truth is that this might take a bit more time and forethought, but ultimately it will probably save me a lot of energy if my kids are more open and agreeable because they feel respected.

    Thanks for sharing this little part of your day with us.

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    1. Glad you appreciated it. It really does take more time and patience, but I agree with your thought that it will ultimately help the kids feel respected.
      B’s biggest resistance to doing things, is when they are a “have to.” If it feels forced or that he’s losing control, then he pushes back big time. He wants his autonomy and who can blame him.

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