Good Cop, Bad Cop
Mothers get a bad rap.
At my house, I am quite frankly the most loved parent (most of the time). We've talked about how my children have all gone through big time "mommy stages". Actually, it would be more accurate to say they have gone through big "mommy YEARS" instead of stages. Just tonight, we drove as a family to dinner and then needed to pick up my hubby's car at his office on the way home. I jumped at the chance to drive the 5 minutes home ALONE (especially after spending the last 3 hours at a pumpkin patch).
I wasn't even buckled into the driver's seat before my youngest lurched out of the van, desperate at the thought of riding without me and insisted she was riding home with ME.
"I don't like Dad," she said quite plainly.
So here's the paradox: although I am the most loved parent in this home, I am also their biggest enemy sometimes.
Parent roles in accordance with the laws of the universe.
Case in point, mere moments ago I was taking a breather and checking my email. I heard the front door open and my husband called to the kids that it was time to come in and take a bath.
"Why?" I heard them say.
And with no pause, I heard him say, "because your MAMA said you have to take a bath and go to bed early".
In march three unhappy children, shooting daggers at me as they mournfully walk inside. Now to be fair, I had made this statement to my husband, but it was not made in the presence of the children. We were silent partners, equal in commitment to early bedtime. I feel I may have been thrown under the bus a little bit. Betrayed by my own spouse when the pressure got too high. Thrown to the lions as a sacrifice for the greater good of preserving Daddy's 'good cop' image.
Now to be fair, I have been guilty of doing the same thing sometimes.
"Sorry, girls, the mean policemen said you couldn't ride in the front seat."
"Bummer, kids, but your Dad doesn't want you to sleep in our bed for the 15th night in a row."
"Don't blame me. Daddy said you couldn't ride your Barbie Jeep to Nana's house at night."
I've found certain areas where I pick up the 'bad cop' badge rather frequently. These areas include (but are not limited to) such things as:
1. hair brushing (yikes. If you've seen the hair on my girls' heads you know the severity of being the bad cop when it comes to their lucious locks.)
Their Daddy (whom I adore and is a fantastic daddy...Let me just get that on the record here) has often been known to let them go to Chick-fil-A looking like THIS:
2. Teeth brushing.
Our girls are masterminds at devising new schemes to get out of this task. Their favorite is to distract us in any way possible so that we forget until they are already tucked into their beds and have exhausted us to the point that we frankly just don't care if they go to bed and their teeth decay a little bit. However, I am usually the bad cop when it comes to dental issues.
"I don't care if you're snug as a bug....out of bed and brush those teeth before I take candy away for the rest of your life!"
"You wouldn't really do that...WOULD you? I can't go on without sugar."
3. Use of drinking cups.
I know this sounds weird, but just stick with me a minute.
My girls are very thirsty. All the time. You've heard you should eat several small meals throughout the day so you're never starving and don't overeat? The kids in this home have applied that to hydrating themselves so they never get too thirsty. Every 20-30 minutes, they feel the great need to get a drink. But do they ever want to use the same cup? No way. That would be a major infraction of the kid code. And so, they saunter over to the drawer where their plastic cups are stored and get out another one. By the time 11am rolls around, there are no clean cups left in the house b/c they are all lined up on the countertop.
I am a cup Nazi. "THIS is your cup for the day, little lady. If necessary, I will tape it to your clothes."
"Come on, Mom, it's been 4 minutes. I'm SO thirsty."
"Sorry, you've used 19 cups since 8am. Now where's that tape?"
I do make exceptions. If it has been more than 6 hours, or if someone spit in your cup (it happens), or if the dog decides to sample your beverage, you are permitted a clean, fresh cup.
But I'll be watching...
4. TV watching. I am a notorious bad cop in this area. The object of intense grief for my children at times. We have a fundamental disagreement about the value of television immediately preceeding bedtime. I am aware that the Discovery channel shows all sorts of entertaining programs around 7:30pm, but really, I'm just not convinced that watching a special on snakes or hungry crocodiles or episodes of "bear attacks" is a wise way to spend the last few moments before dream time. This has earned me the title of "mean mom".
I'm considering starting a line of accessories for mothers. I would design "Bad Cop Badges" for different days of the week and in different colors to go with your outfit for the day. Need a badge regarding tv? Try my "bad cops ruin your shows" badge.
Saying no to more dessert? Sport my "sugar will give you diseases" badge. It can be flipped over to say, "if you eat this you will have to brush your teeth. TWICE." That one's particularly effective.
At $1.99 a badge, these are a steal and will easily identify you as the bad cop in your lovely home. I mean after all, if we are going to play the part (and still be the most loved since we are the mamas at the end of the day), shouldn't we have proper identification?
Off to enforce bedtime. And there won't be anybody getting out on bail.