This year, my son’s father and I came to an agreement and signed the papers for our custodial arrangements. With our son starting kindergarten this year, I truly believe he, and every kindergartener, should have a set schedule so that he can be as successful as possible in school while still participating in extracurriculars. Therefore, I was granted primary custody and I have my son all but every other weekend when he sees his dad.
While most of our time spent together is a blast (my five-year-old really is my best friend,) I inevitably have become the mean parent. You know, “brush your teeth, put your clothes in the hamper, flush the toilet, grab your soccer bag, eat dinner first, let’s do homework, thats enough videos-grab a book,” etc. Well, mean is the term my son used to refer to it, but little does he know it’s all tough love.
I only really found out because in an effort to hurt me during a disagreement, my son’s father enlightened me on a comment my son had made to him, about how I’m “mean.” Initially I was a bit taken back; I did a quick run-through of our most recent conversations and encounters, and I thought about it.
Yeah, I suppose I am the mean parent. I’m the parent that battles the 7am grumpies to ensure he’s clothed, fed and prepared for school; I’m the parent that bargains to drop off at before school care so I can work to pay for soccer, Spanish, swim and school break camps; I’m the parent that enforces brushed teeth, shoes off the bed, and dirty clothes in the hamper while being the constant reminder of
please, thank you and excuse me because manners matter; And I’m the mean parent because I hold the tough conversations about what made us angry or sad because emotional and mental health is important.
Most importantly, because I’m the mean parent I get to be the proud parent too. I get to hear the positive feedback from teachers and soccer coaches, I get to see how strong and healthy he’s growing, I get to watch him practice Spanish and use his manners without a reminder.
Im sure it’ll get tougher as he gets older, especially into his teens, but I am okay with being the mean parent in 2019. If you’re the mean parent too, cheers! Cheers to love and pride in being the mean parent in 2020, 20021, 2022, and so on…