Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Not Hating the Haters

The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine who happens to have five children. I mentioned that I saw an adorable t-shirt at a boutique near our house. The t-shirt was cute and pink and said: “Happy Mom” on it with a little smiley face. She looked at me and said: “I can’t wear that shirt. My son hates me.” I didn’t argue with her because I knew exactly what she meant. To mother is to be hated and I have to tell you that it sucks.

When I got started in parenting, I’m sure that I stood up on a bit of a soapbox and said that I was going to discipline my children and not worry about whether they liked me or not. I can now say that I did discipline them, but I spent more than a little time worrying about whether they liked me. What I don’t know is whether I did a good job hiding that second part.

I’ve been told by my children that they hate me only a handful of times. I know, however, that I’ve been hated by my children more times than I can count. I have to tell you, it never gets easier. Every time they proclaim their distaste, I wish I could be ready with a tear-inducing speech about how they’ll regret their loathing and indifference and wish they had been more loving and caring and less self-centered. They won’t. Why, because they’re heartless? No, because they’re human and I was the exact same way.

Recently I was talking to my mom about parenting. I mentioned something about my daughter being less than crazy about me. She nodded her head and said: “Yes, I was the same way to my mother.” I was amazed. She skipped right over me and my horrible teenage years! Since my kids have become teenagers, I have attributed every tough parenting moment to big-time payback for my less-than-stellar past behavior. Yet, here was my mom, either having a major senior moment, or blessedly telling me that it’s all in the scheme of things:

“Dad, tell me about the Circle of Life.”

“Well Simba, besides being the name of a cheesy Elton John song, it’s the theory that what goes around comes around. We eat animals and poop them out. You treat your mother and I like crap and your kids will do the same. It all works out in the end.”

So although I still hate being hated, I’m slightly less panicky about it. I see a glimmer of hope for the future. Someday my kids will respect me or at least tolerate me. And one day, they’ll have their own little haters to handle. Seems fair, don’t you think?


At 12:33 PM , Anonymous Anne Glamore said...

Very fair. ALthough this counts as the 2d depressing thought of the day. I already blogged the 1st one.

At 6:44 PM , Blogger kenju said...

It is exactly what got me through my children's teenage years - and it is true! My mom told me the same thing - and she was right.

I always told me kids: You may not like what I am saying - or your punishment - but you must remember one thing: whatever your dad and I tell you is what we think is in your best interest. We may be wrong at the time, but our motives are pure. They seemed to accept that, even though they didn't like it at the time.

At 10:30 AM , Blogger Blitz Krieg said...

Nice timing. Our son has been going round and round with us about his future, causing many sleepless hours as we try to figure what we did wrong.

Now I think about me and my parents and the answer is nothing.

At 8:24 AM , Anonymous colleen said...

I'm sure they tell you they love you more than they hate you. As long as your fair, they will have a real sense of that.

At 16 my oldest said, "I don't know why I care what you think." At 16 my youngest said, " Sometimes I wish you were a mean mother so I could do anything I want to." They both turned out great!

Michele sent me over.

At 1:22 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Completely fair, Karen, and so well said, as usual. Whenever our kids grumble about how much they hate us, we remind them - gently - that it's not our job as parents to be their friend.

We're responsible for shepherding them into adulthood, to ensure they become kind and productive people. And if they hate us here and there along the way, then such is life.

And as logical as that response seems, it tears at my heart just a little every time I hear comments like that. But as you say, that's parenthood, and that's the deal we made when we decided to embark on this adventure.

I'm sorry I've been such a stranger of late, Karen. Much going on on this side...we'll chat.

At 5:59 PM , Blogger Dara said... *that's* the meaning of the circle of life!
michele says hi

At 9:18 AM , Blogger The Turmanators said...

Thanks for stopping by my site; it's nice to hear from someone who has similar parenting philosphies and has also survived the little kid phase.

As a therapist who works with adolescents I can safely say that if your teens don't hate you a little bit it's likely you aren't doing a good job! That said, I'm sure it will be heartbreaking the first time I hear those three little words...

Enjoyed your site and I will be back!

At 7:56 AM , Blogger Manic Mom said...

THis sounds really bad, but I think I need to get my kids to hate me a little bit. I am too freaking nice to them. But, they're good kids, and they know how to work the system (me, being the system).

I suck.


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