My daughter has a lot of qualities I wish I had. She's whip smart, independent as hell, and has a strong sense of who she is. I know I'm hard on her, but it's to (hopefully) keep her away from trouble. There are many times I could probably take it a little easier on her. Afterall, I was the oldest with a younger brother, too. But we've had a few incidents where what she needed was more guidance and direction, not less. If my daughter ever reads this, I hope you'll understand why I could've been your friend, but I chose to be your mom instead.
Along with those aforementioned amazing qualities comes a girl determined to do things on her own, a certain way, no matter what. This, of course, just can't work. She's almost 11 years old — not a child, but not yet a woman — and as experience has proven, she's not ready to make some decisions on her own (and why would she be at 10?). Unfortunately, that fierce determination to do whatever she wants creates a lot more friction than need be, and a few times, puts more of a divider between us.
Over recent years, we had many incidents — mostly revolving around technology, her right to use it, and infringement of the rules we have set regarding technology — but even still, she continues to do her own thing. It makes me both proud and infuriated all at once because, while I'm happy to know she'll be able to fend for herself once on her own, I'd rather she didn't try to fend for herself on my turf (so often). During the times you test me, dear daughter of mine, here are just a few of the reasons I choose to be your mom instead of your friend.
You Don't Need Another Friend (Right Now)
Someday, when you're all grown up, and you've lived through things that mature you and humble you, we'll be friends. For now, you have friends — peers who are going through the same things you are. If I were just your friend when you made a mistake, you'd never know how to grow and learn from it. You don't need another friend. You need me to be your mom.
I Want You To Respect Me
Respect is so hard to come by already. I struggle with wanting you to like me; I want to feel secure in our relationship. However, being a friend sometimes means the line of authority gets blurred. If I want to be respected as the guardian, I can't afford to be a friend when something goes awry.
You Need Boundaries
It may feel like I'm the worst when I'm ordering you to your room, or doling out consequences as the result of choices you've made, but if I don't lay down the law — if I don't set boundaries — you'll free-fall into a void and won't know what's right, what's wrong, and how the hell you're supposed to find your way back. Boundaries feel awful at the time, I promise you they serve a greater purpose. As your mom, it's my duty to enforce the rules to help you become the young woman I know you can be.
And Also Guidance
I'm at a loss every now and then — especially when it comes to those "teachable moments" when you've done something less than desirable. But I know one thing: No matter what you do, it's my job to provide guidance, security, and insight so that you understand your decisions and the impact they may have on not just you, but those around you. A friend may do that, sure, but as your mom, I can do it better. Because I've already been there and lived to tell the tale.
Your Wellbeing Is My Responsibility
I wouldn't do what I do if I didn't think it was for the best. It may not feel like it, and to be honest, I doubt myself every now and then, but everything I do, is for you. If you're grounded from technology because you weren't responsible with it, trust that I know the dangers of the internet and want to keep you safe. If you lose privileges because of the way you spoke to me, please believe it's because I want you to respect me and trust that all my choices are in your best interest. At least, that's my intention.
My Love Is Unconditional
I've had a lot of friends come and go, and I know you will, too. But I'm not going anywhere — even when you hate me with every breath you take. If I remained your friend when you needed more, what am I teaching you?
I'm Your Only Mom
Some have more than one mom, but you only have me. Regardless of how you feel in the moments I'm angry or disappointed in something you've done, I'm here for you. Always.