I don’t want to be mean and strict. I really don’t.

Is it too much to ask that when I come home from work, my kids come running to the door with hugs and kisses, saying, “Mama! We’re so glad you’re home, we missed you so much! Thank you for going to work to support us! Did you have a good day?”

Yeah. Too much.

But it seems they could at least say, “Hi Mama!”

Know what I got today? Seriously, the first words out of Anna’s mouth:

“Can I watch a show on TV?”

“Not right now, let’s have dinner, then you can watch a show after dinner.”

They do not get to watch TV every day. It’s either a reward, or it’s because I need the 30 minutes to do whatever. To be honest, I was looking forward to them watching a few shows after dinner because I had a lot on my proverbial plate and I just wanted to sit and chat with Brian for a while.

But within seconds, Anna had turned on the TV.

“Anna! I just told you not until after dinner. If you disobey me again, you won’t get to watch ANY shows today at all. Do you understand?”


I turned my back and what does she do? Turns on the TV again. I turned it off and stared at her, astonished.

“But I just…”

“I don’t care what you thought you were doing. I told you no, and you disobeyed me. You knew the consequences!”

Oh, the crying. The wailing, the excuses.

Damnit! I really wanted that time to myself later! Such a selfish mommy I am. And I really wanted a peaceful evening with my family. But truly, it never occurred to me that – faced with losing TV for the whole night – she would disobey me like that. She has shown a remarkable ability to delay immediate gratification as a trade for something bigger and better later. So what gives? I might not have made that particular threat if I thought she would force my hand.

It totally sucked to have to be all hard-core about this. Just like it totally sucks to have to say “Take your plate into the kitchen if you’re done eating!” EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL.


I know I’m doing the right thing by being strict and following through on my threats. If I don’t, they won’t respect me. If they don’t respect me, they won’t respect their teachers. And their bosses. Or any authority. I get it. It’s important work. But sometimes a mama just needs an hour to herself while the kids are entertained by Phineas and Ferb. Is that too much to ask?




Filed under Family

2 responses to “I don’t want to be mean and strict. I really don’t.

  1. Ah~ the joys of raising children…
    Hang in there cuz it gets bumpier!

  2. OMG, I’m so with you. Parenting is such hard work.

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