It’s Hard Being a Kid

Oh my beautiful spawn. You are growing up so fast. Too fast if you ask me, but your dad and I, we can’t stop time. We can’t roll back the clock and keep you little forever.  Someday (sooner rather than later) you will pack up your shit and move out spread your wings and leave this nest and it is our job to make sure you are ready. Prepared. Functioning.

We can tell by your eye-rolls, door slams, and frequent foot stomps that you think that your life under this roof really sucks at times. Like really, really bad. Like oh. mah. GAWD, I don’t even know how you live here bad. I know you aren’t old enough to totally understand our methods, nor do you really care at this point, but believe us when we say that we really kinda-sorta know what we are doing when it comes to raising you. How do we know this?  Because we were you once.

Let us take this opportunity to clarify a few things for you. Try to help you understand that in fact we are NOT total assholes- I might be, but your dad not so much. That there is a method to this madness. That we are NOT, contrary to popular belief, the meanest parents on the planet. That in fact we do the things we do because we love you so much it hurts.  That this parenting gig is a long-term, full-time job that requires (and demands) long-term results.

Let us start with allowance. Believe it or not, you get one. It may not be cash money like you want, but you get a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your body. We know it pisses you off and you hate it, but you are a part of this family just like the rest of us and around here everyone contributes. No one gets a free ride. I tell my friends that ask if I give an allowance that in lieu of cash money, we allow you to live here. While I know that sounds brutal and unfair, I was not put on this planet to be your maid. Your dad and I are your parents and it is our job to teach you how to be actual grown-ups. Sitting on your ass playing video games all day while screaming for snacks isn’t going to cut it.  I have chores, your dad has chores, you have chores.  It’s how we function around here.

We know you really want that iPod touch. Earn it. Get up off your little behind and get to work. We give you plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond and earn a little cash. Do it, save it, buy it yourself. You’ll respect it more and see that a little bit of work isn’t going to kill you.

The Tooth Fairy doesn’t bring you a twenty or a fifty?  Tough shit. What have you done to earn that kind of money? You put your dirty fingers in your mouth and wiggled, completely grossing your mother out in the process.  You accomplished something that every single human on the planet has also done. <golf clap> Until your teeth are made of solid gold you will take your four quarters and be happy with it.  The Tooth Fairy, along with Santa and the Easter Bunny, are meant to add a touch of fun and whimsy to your childhood NOT to cater to your every desire.  Just enjoy it while it lasts.

That project is just too hard?  I tell you what, I will sit by you and give you some suggestions.  You want me to do it for you?  Not gonna happen.  I already went to school.  I busted my ass and passed all on my own (with some major prodding from my own parents).  Now it’s your turn.  You will survive, not without a few tears and frustrations, but you will do it.  I’ll be right here encouraging you, supporting you, loving you.

Your report card came and you earned all A’s? Congratulations, we are SO PROUD of you!!!!! What’s that? How much are we going to pay you? Hmmmm….here’s a dinner around the family table.  Oh look! I even made cookies!  If you would like financial compensation for doing what you are required to do, get a job. Here you get paid in praise and hugs. Dinners and cookies.  Enjoy your successes because you EARNED them, not because you are getting PAID for them.

I understand that your life is hard, but you know what else is hard?  Parenting is hard.  Being an adult is hard.  Having responsibility is hard.  Seeing your friends have stuff handed to them for doing nothing is hard. Working is hard.  Life is just really fucking hard.  That’s the entire point of all of this.  You can’t get by in life just waiting for someone to hand you what you want.  What you think you need.  I mean you can I suppose, but you won’t be doing it here.

I know this whole being a kid thing is mind-blowing.  That you think you already know everything there is to know about everything.  That competing with your friends is a tough gig.  That you are required to have moments filled with angst and anger toward your parents.  That damn it, at times your life just sucks rotten eggs.  Been there. Done that.

I also want you to know that we are right here.  Your dad and I.  While we may not shower you with the things you want, we will always be here to give you the things that you need.  To support you and love you unconditionally.  To reward you appropriately when we see fit.  To correct you when you need it and to have your back when it seems like no one else does.  We are here to dry your tears when someone hurts you or something goes wrong, and to celebrate with you when everything goes right.  To show you right from wrong and to correct you when you fuck up (and you will).

No matter how much you think we suck.  No matter how hard you stomp your feet or roll your eyes at us.  No matter how loud you yell and no matter how many times you tell us that you hate us.  We will always be here.

Because damn it, we are your parents and we love you.  Hard.

Parenting

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  1. Love this. I grew up in that, and mine will grow up in it. Some days I hated my parents, as I am sure my kid will hate me. But I am pretty sure that those houses where the tooth fairy leaves a $20 are using some form of extortion.
    Lynnette Conroy recently posted…Duck Dynasty Willies and WHERE Am I?My Profile

  2. This is just fantastic! Loved every word of it! This is how it was when I was growing up & now I am so damn glad my parents raised us this way. My husband & I are doing the same with our boys & it is so refreshing to see others parents with this mindset. Thank you!

  3. fantastic, T. I could hear your voice and you are so wise. I want you to mother my children. Too much? xoxo

  4. I love your old-school approach to parenting. You’re doing a GREAT job, Mama!!!!
    WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion recently posted…Oversharing: “I Think I Killed Her.”My Profile

  5. Thank you for writing this! My siblings and I were raised this way and I’ve always appreciated as an adult. Now that I have a son I can appreciate it even more! I am saving this for when he’s older (only 6 1/2 months now) I hope that I am able to raise him the way I was and the way you are raising your children. Keep up the good work!

  6. Wait? I thought we were the meanest, stingiest parents on the planet? When my son heard about allowance, he asked, “What do I get for doing chores?” Response: “You get to keep living here.” Thank you for confirming that we aren’t the only ones raising our kids this way!
    HouseTalkN recently posted…“Finding The Funny” is Baaaaack!My Profile

  7. I always love what you have to say about parenting. I think your kids will thank you someday. I really do!

  8. Love Love Love…My sentiments exactly…

  9. Yup – same here on all of the above. Took my daughter’s Taylor Swift tickets this summer because she was being a brat and totally unappreciative. Bam! those are mine.

  10. I think this is amazing. While I am not a parent, I am starting to see how parents raise their children and the effects it has. I am a college student and have started seriously dating, and let me just say, that men who were babied by their parents expect their girlfriends to baby them. I am not going to do your laundry, or make you a sandwich. You are functioning and able to do that yourself.

    Thank you for posting this, because I think it really helps to read it. (Especially being a young adult and knowing my mom did the same thing as ya’ll, but I would never trade that for the money in the world. She taught me how to take care of myself and earn what I have in my life.)
    Robyn Webb recently posted…I’m a Junior in College. Weird.My Profile

  11. Perfect. It’s nice to know I am not the only mom that says no and expects work. The other day I was talking to a mom and they said something about packing their kid’s lunch and I was like WTF? They have two hands and a brain, unless you keep the bread on the roof they can handle it…

  12. I have truly loved reading your blogs. I appreciate the fact that u say it as it is. thank you for making me feel like I am not the only mother who has frustrating, loving exciting, even terrible days. I love nothing more than being a mother and I have never loved like I love my babys.
    you are truly an inspiration to me. I look forward to reading more from you and again thank you for being you, you inspire me.

  13. Well said, mama!!! Mine are only 2 & 5 and, hell, I’m saying the same things!! I love that you wrote this all out as a reference I will shamelessly “borrow” in years to come. (Providing full site credit, of course!!)

    Sharing…. oxox.
    Kristi recently posted…Grieving With Some Sweet HelpMy Profile

  14. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that my husband and I are not alone.
    My own mother thinks we are being totally cheap because we will not give the kids more than a dollar per tooth. I got a quarter when I was a kid. I think a dollar is fine.

    Love this post. Glad I found your blog.

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