Being a parent really makes you view things in a totally different way. I was talking to some friends the other day about how, when we were kids, we did the whole ‘hanging out in front of the shops to ask an adult to buy us cigarettes’ thing. We were all saying that, now we’re mums, there’s no way in the WORLD that we’d buy cigarettes for a child who was underage and that when we look back, it was terrible of us to have been coercing adults into our naughtiness, but it’s a prime example of how our views have changed with our personal circumstances.
Last week was Sausage’s school disco and it’s kind of a tradition that I always go along and help out, usually on the stall which sells all the novelty neon crap that the kids absolutely lap up. I commented to another mum that there seemed to be a whole lot more make up, perfume, body glitter and skimpy clothing at this disco, which is mental given the fact that the oldest kids there would have been 9. I know they’re in the juniors now, but it seems like they’ve all suddenly taken a massive leap away from childhood and towards the hairy, scary teen years.
It got me to thinking; should I be letting Sausage experiment with these things more to help her to fit in? Obviously, my brain screamed ‘NO’ before the thought even completely formed, and here’s why: I firmly think that allowing her to wear make-up to events would be selfish of me. You see, I’m completely against it, so if I were to loosen the rules, the ONLY reason would be so that she’d think I was a “cool mum”. I’m sure she’d be thrilled if I let her leave the house in make-up, but who would ultimately benefit?
The thing is, for me, parenthood is about being the bad guy sometimes. I’m sure Sausage would think I was the best Mum ever if I suddenly became permissive and let her wear make up, skimpy clothes, forget her homework, generally get away with living the easy life. But as her mother, it’s ON ME (and Husband, obviously) to make sure she does things, no matter how much it might make her resent us or how horrible it feels to be the bad guy. And, I’ll go as far as to say that, sometimes, I really don’t give a toss how much they hate me – homework needs to be done, manners need to be remembered and some rules MUST be followed, no exceptions.
Don’t get the wrong, I’m not talking about being a hard-ass all the time; she’s a really good kid which means she often gets leniency just because we know she’s the sort of kid who won’t take a mile when given an inch. We use our judgement to decide what’s okay and what’s not and I’m sure that, sometimes, our version of okay is different to what other people might consider suitable (for instance, she’s a huge fan of Bob’s Burgers, which is probably not aimed at her age group but we know she’s mature enough to deal with the slightly more grown-up themes in some episodes).
The main thought that I can’t shake is simply that Mums aren’t supposed to be cool. Sure, there are times when mine and Sausage’s interests overlap but largely, kids are supposed to cringe at their hideously outdated parents. As a person, I’m not trying to appeal to a 7-year-olds sensibilities and I feel like it would be really weird if I did. It’s one thing to enjoy watching Harry Potter together, but it’s quite another when you realise that the parent is actually sadly immature and is trying to avoid being a grown-up!
However, the fact is, as parent, it’s our job to make the tough decisions, to be the ones to guide the girls in right or wrong and to make them do the things they don’t want to do, regardless of how much it might make them hate us, or how ‘uncool’ we seem. So, you see, I’m absolutely FINE with not being a ‘cool’ mum, because that means that I’m being a good Mum. What do you think? Is it possible to be “cool” and consistent? Do you go our of your way to be a cool Mum or would you rather be seen as a stuffy old adult if it means your kids are safe and happy? I’d love to hear what you think, so do leave me a comment below.