Today one of the moms I greatly admire posted a link to a blog post that almost made her cry. The post was one of those all pervasive self-righteous "life lesson" where the writer opines that she'd almost ruined her relationship with her child because she'd dared to not cuddle him the second the demand came in. She was tired, the write said but realizing that her son now saw a glimpse of the reality that his mother was in fact human, she rallied and amended her ways, her son's childhood salvaged just in time. My friend was heart broken after reading this because she said she does try to say yes as much as possible but felt guilty that often she just can't. This woman, who takes care of her three sons tirelessly and lead one of them through a horrifying battle with cancer was made to feel guilty by one of a legion of self proclaimed parenting experts and I wanted to reach through the screen and punch the author of the blog in the face.
As you might have surmised by now, I hate these types of blog posts. We are already naturally guilt ridden as mothers, and these play on our weakness: you should play with your kids when they want you, you should cuddle when THEY want it, you should read when they ask, you should plan educational trips, don't rush them, don't strain them, ALWAYS be there. It never stops! Maybe the writer would have more energy to cuddle with her son at night if she had a bit less weight placed on her during the day. Or maybe what she should have done is set expectations: you know, buddy, by nighttime mommy is really tired. How about we wake up 5 minutes earlier and cuddle before you get out of bed?
We are the parents. We are in charge. The kids should be a part of our life and enhance it, just like we strive to enhance theirs. When did the switch in our society flip so that it's the kids who are running the show and the parents feel that if they are not at their beck and call every minute, they are not doing a good enough job? Kids will always be asking for something - it's their nature. But isn't it our responsibility as parents to teach them to recognize that mommy is being grumpy not because she doesn't care but because she is tired and needs a break?