Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Mom, the Dictator
If there's anything that will put your decision-making skills to the test, it's being a mom. For all the warm and fuzzy dreams you may have had about sweet, easy-going days with baby, reality slaps you in the face like a wet diaper the moment you bring one home. Every moment of your day is filled with "When does he eat next?" "Did he eat enough?" "Why won't he sleep?" "Why won't he stop fussing" "What's that strange red rash he's got?" "Do I have time to run to the store to buy more Huggies before his nap?" "Do I nap along with him and finally get a few minutes rest, or do I take the time to finally get some housework done?" "How do I cook and hold a baby at the same time?" "When will I have my life back??"
But that is just the beginning. Next as they grow into little walking people, who make loud demands with a vocabulary of 25 words, you are forced to make snap decisions from minute to minute. Do you insist that he can't chew on the TV remote and deal with five minutes of heartbreaking tears? Do you have a contingency plan to quickly substitute a new and fascinating toy or a snack or video, all the while speaking firmly and excitedly about how much better B is from A? Do you let him go to the store with his shoes on backwards the way he wants and a clip-on tie attached to his t-shirt? Do you let him get away with two bites of chicken for lunch and handfulls of Cheetos?
It's like they never give you a break. You have to have eyes on the back of your head, and have ears like a hawk to wake up in the middle of the night for any emergency. And you have to be decisive. To be a successful parent, democracy goes out the window and the ultimate rule of dictatorship must prevail! OK, loving, hugging, playing dictatorship, but a dictator all the same.
The sooner your child understands that you are the Supreme Leader who's word is final, you will have a happier and more secure child. The more chaos you allow in your home, and the fewer decisions you choose to make, allowing them to call the shots and determine how each day goes, the unhappier and grumpier they will be. The longer this goes on, the less they will trust that you know what you are doing as a parent. There is no coincidence that single teenage mothers have a higher rate of emotionally disturbed children than those from a married, two-parent family. It takes a determined and focused parent to raise a stress-free, happy child.
The saddest thing to me is to counsel women who have teenagers who disrespect them, just because all their growing years, their mother was afraid of displeasing them. She wanted her children to like her so much that she denied them the leadership that they needed. She can't understand why they are now so rebellious when she did so much for them in the past.
Want a sure guarantee of messing up your kids? Be indecisive. Afraid of making decisions? Believe me, motherhood is not for you!