My daughter hates me. All kids go through a similar stage, I’m sure. I do everything wrong. I make her do her homework (the horrors!). I force her to brush her teeth (call social services!). I don’t tolerate rude and disrespectful behavior. I have high expectations for her.
In kid-speak, I’m mean to her.
I know I shouldn’t let it bother me. I’m her mother—not her friend. I love her more than anything in the world, and because I love her, I have a job to do. If I do it right, we’ll be friends later…much later.
It bothers me anyway.
What mother doesn’t want to be adored? Hugged and kissed when she does the school drop off in the morning? Obediently obeyed with a smile? Snuggled and told, “I love you so much Mommy!” at bedtime?
Of course, I recognize that this ideal mother-daughter relationship doesn’t really exist. I only see glimpses of relationships between other girls and their mothers, not the whole story. I can’t be the only mother that struggles with these issues. I know I’m not. Definitely.
I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not the mom of the year over here. Ignoring the fact that my house is rarely clean (and that’s with biweekly cleaning people, too) and the fact that my idea of a home-cooked meal is 90-second rice, frozen veggies (yes, I microwave them first), and chicken nuggets, there are areas I struggle with as a mother. I’m quick to frustrate. Impatient. Particular. Overcommitted. Selfish. Lazy.
Of course, I’m not all of those things at once. But they’re things I describe myself as when I’m feeling particularly crappy at this thing called, “mom.”
Last night, though, my daughter woke up sick in the middle of the night. I was ripped from my sleep by her call for, “MOM!” from her bed. It took me less than a moment to fly from my room to hers, help her to the bathroom, hold her hair back, and stroke her back as she got sick. To hold her once it was over. To sit with her and comfort her. To reassure her.
And she wanted me. Her immediate instinct when she woke up sick was to yell for me. She did it without thinking. I’m who she wanted.
Maybe she doesn’t hate me after all. On some level, I’m doing something right. She might not appreciate it all now, at eight years old. But one day she will. One day, she’ll know how much I love her and how much I do and how much I want for her.
I take it all back. I am mom of the year after all.