On Being a Bad Mom



When my daughter left for the bus this morning at 6:20 it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 Celsius). She was wearing a sweatshirt. And her hair was wet. I am pretty sure that makes me a bad mother.

 Have any of you ever tried to convince a 14-year-old girl to wear something she does not want to wear? It is an exercise in futility and not the way I felt like starting my morning. I shrugged my shoulders and let her go. She was going to be cold but maybe, just maybe, if she was cold enough she would wear a coat the next time. (Probably not, but I live in hope.) The bus came about two minutes later and we both went on with our days but it got me thinking.

Sometimes being a bad mother is the best way to be a good mother. Whether or not to wear a coat on a cold morning is not the biggest issue in the world but learning to make decisions and deal with the consequences is. We spend our children's early lives making decisions for them. We decide what they should eat, what time they should go to bed, and yes, what they should wear. We decide because trusting a two-year-old with those decisions is just plain foolish. However, sometimes, as parents, it can be hard to stop making the decisions. After all, we do usually know better. We see the mistakes coming and we just want to protect our kids. But there comes a time when we have to stop micromanaging our children's lives and allow them to manage them.

It is hard. Not because I want to continue making all those decisions but because habits are hard to break. I have been a decision-making mom for 19 years. I can frequently do it better, reach conclusions faster, and analyze the situation more accurately than my kids can. That is what life experience gives you. But what I am trying to give my kids is their own life experience.

I want them to be strong. I want them to make their own decisions. I want them to take responsibility for those decisions. I want them to do the scary things. I want them to push themselves.

I want them to wear coats when it is cold.

I am a bad mom because it is the best way I know to be a good mom.

6 comments

  1. I suspect that if you had made her put a coat and hat on then as soon as you were out of sight they would have been rolled up and stuffed in her bag anyway, but as a mum you just have to make the effort at that age I think. It's when they get older and leave home that you have to step back and bite your tongue at times!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would have worried about it a bit more if I hadn't known the bus would be there in just a few minutes!

      Delete
  2. Exactly! The aim of parenting should be to raise a functioning adult. Good call!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I don't want to be the mom who is still hovering over them when they are college-aged.

      Delete
  3. Yup. I would've let my 12-yr-old make that decision, and then live with it. My 9-yr-old? Maybe. My 7-yr-old? Nope. Not yet.

    I let my kids run out to get the mail in their bare feet when it's only 50 degrees out. Heck, I let my kids run around outside barefoot. Depending on who you talk to, either of those could make me a bad mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My kids always ran around barefoot and they regularly get the mail and take out the trash barefoot. I guess we are both bad moms!

      Delete