The other day Lily and I were driving in the car after I had picked her up from school. We were talking about friends in school she had come to enjoy, play with and those that were not being so nice.
“Mom. You know you’re NOT my favorite right?” I almost slammed on my breaks for a second. Wait… say that again? Did I hear her right?
“What was that?” I had pretended to not hear what she had said only 30 seconds earlier.
She kept staring out the window.
“Nope. You’re not my favorite. Daddy is. You’re not as much FUN as he is” she stated it as a matter of fact, not as an idea she had.
I almost laughed out of frustration. Fun? Fun! I’m the one who cooks and cleans. I wash your clothes. I make you eggs or waffles in the morning. I drive and pick you up from school. I set up play dates with your friends. I make sure you’re happy and brush your tears away when you’re sad. I’m not fun?!
But wait. I don’t need to be the fun parent right now.
I need to be the strong parent for you. The one you come to when you’ve fallen down. The one you tell your big secrets too. The one you giggle and smile when I pick you from school because you know I would never leave you and I always come back.
I need to be the stern parent. Right now my daughter is only 4 and if I can’t set rules and let her learn right from wrong, I’m not setting her up to learn and know it when she’s 14. I know I need to be an authoritative figure to her so she can respect me later.
I need to be the listening parent. The one you can come to when you’re having a problem at school. I want to make sure she feels comfortable coming to me with anything starting now and hopefully to continue when she’s in middle school and high school.
It may not be easy. It may be locking myself up in the pantry for a few minutes to have a good cry out of frustration. It may be smiling and faking it while out in public when my daughter throws a tantrum. It may be taking small and deep breaths every 10 minutes.
I don’t need to be the fun parent right now. And I’m ok to not be that for her right now.