Instead of working on ground rules and carrying out consequences for behavior like I do with M3, I talk with M1 differently. He is becoming a young man and I see the trenches getting dug between us. He told me the other day, “You make such a big deal out of everything.” Okay. He may have a point. I find myself saying these words a lot lately: “Here’s my persective….” I work hard to explain myself and understand his perspective as well.
Thank goodness M1 has terrific communication skills and we talk about a lot of things. We actually enjoy each other’s company and can make each other laugh so hard it hurts. We also absolutely get on each other’s nerves and have to agree to disagree. It’s all part of this parenting project we’re making up as we go along.
As much fun as we have together, I always keep in mind I’m his mother. I could get consumed about whether he liked me or not, but I’ve decided it’s far more important in the years ahead for him to respect me. If he ever likes me, I consider that an emotional bonus.
Phrases like “Forty is the new thirty” remind me that age is viewed differently these days, but I’m not going to confuse my age with the ages of my boys. I will always be their Mom and older than them. I am not working to be their friend. Friends are the people M1 decides to include in his life. He didn’t get to choose me. We’re in this together, for better or worse. He will have many friends in his life, but he will only have one Mom. My role in his life is special and only reserved for me. I do think it’s a big deal. He’s right.
As he gets older, I can see being tempted to be the “Cool Mom”. I could get wrapped up in making sure he likes me, but that’s not my job. My job is so much more than that. My job is to say no, even when I remember how much I hated hearing that from my Mom. My job is to be the hard-liner and make sure he understands where I created those lines in the sand. My job is to enforce rules he thinks are ridiculous and absurd because I believe those are the rules that will help him grow into the man I know he can be.
His friends won’t do these things for him. He has friends to talk about how much I annoy him, make jokes about bodily functions, and get out of control with. His friends will play a crucial role in his life in the next few years. So will I.
I love him. And I also like him. At his age, I consider that outstanding. Hopefully, in the years ahead when we don’t like each other very much, we will always remember to love and respect each other. I feel if we can do this, we will have laid an excellent foundation for our future as adults together.
Happy birthday, M1! If the last twelve years are any indication of what’s in store for you, this year will prove to be full of excitement, joy, and love. Thank you for all you do for me every day. I love you!