When we become parents, we dream of all the wonderful things we’ll do for our kids. We think about how we’ll give them the perfect organic lunches every day, and we swear that we’ll never, ever lose our tempers around them. But then, reality humbles us pretty quickly. I never in a million years expected myself to be a pushover parent, but here I am, eight years into motherhood, and I'm letting my kiddos walk all over me — because they know they can. I’m a pushover parent and it’s probably never going to change.
Being a pushover mom means that my mind can be easily changed. It means that I often throw caution to the wind and exchange what we’re “supposed” to be doing for a more fun and unstructured activity. It means that there are many nights when I give into my family's demands that we have Chinese food for dinner instead of the nutritious, organic meal I had planned, just because I don't feel like arguing (or cooking, if we’re being honest). It means that despite my "no sugar" rule, I trudged all over New York City this past weekend to try to get my son that damn unicorn frappuccino at Starbucks. (Unfortunately, it was sold out everywhere.) And it means bending the rules from time to time, just because I don't have the energy to enforce them.
I will always be that mom who gets their kids ice cream after playing at the park and the hugely expensive commemorative cup from the zoo. I will let my son stay up later than he should, or let him finish that game he’s “right in the middle of” on xbox when it’s time for dinner. I will also let him stay late wherever we are, as long as he’s having fun — even if it means being late for something important. I feel that my kids will only be kids once, and I would rather give them memories filled with fun than memories filled with dreariness because they're so used to following rules.
I blame a lot of my pushover parent tendencies on the fact that I work so often. I work from home, and more often than not my kids can find me behind my computer, writing. That's where I’m truly the most assertive and confident in all of my decisions. I always know what I want with my clients, and I always leave a paper trail so I know I’m on top of my game.
Because I work so much, I always have my game face on, so I try my hardest to distinguish between work time and the time I spend with my kids. When I'm with my family, I want to be more relaxed than I am when I'm working, which has led me to develop some pushover tendencies. And I’m OK with that.
I’m the mom of a super rambunctious 8-year-old boy and an 8-month-old daughter. For the most part, the baby doesn’t understand what’s going on, so I can't really be a pushover parent to her. My son, however, is another story. He was an only child for years, so he developed something of an "only child syndrome," and I gave into his demands all the time. Now, I want to make sure that he never feels second to his sister, since she needs more of my attention right now, which means I'm probably indulging him more than ever.
All my little guy has to do is flash his handsome grin my way and say something along the lines of, “Come on, mom, you know you want to let us eat pizza for dinner," or "Come on, mom, you know you want to let us stay up late and order movies on demand." I’m wrapped around his finger. He knows it. And I know it.
I'm not a pushover parent in every respect. if my son is behind on school work or gets a poor behavior notice from school, I will not stand for that. My son’s expected to be respectful and to help out around the home and do his homework without me having to say so a million times each evening. Those things I won’t stand for.
But for the most part, my husband is the one that my son is scared of. Dad is the disciplinarian, while mom is the one he runs to when dad is finished laying down the law. I could scream at him until I go blue in the face without getting a response, but when daddy comes home he knows that he means business.
Being a mom for eight years so far has taught me one major thing: I want to have an amazing relationship with my children forever, and I really don’t want anything to stand in the way of that. I might not be the best parent in the entire world, but I would much rather have a close relationship with my kids over having a difficult one that stems from being such a disciplinarian all the time.
There are times when being a strict enforcer of rules is necessary, and I get that. If I feel like I’m being completely taken advantage of, that’s when “mean mom” will come out. But in order for her to appear, I really have to be pushed over the edge and he listens at that point, maybe even a little worried, too because he knows he had to have really done something wrong for me to get to this point.
Since for the most part, my son is on top of his shit, “mean mom” doesn’t appear too often. But she still comes out from time to time because just like I’m not the perfect parent, my son isn’t perfect either. While I understand that, I most certainly won’t turn my cheek to bad behavior and I demand respect from my kids at all times — even if I’m the pushover parent.