I love my kids… but they are not the center of my universe. I don’t think that makes me a bad mom, either. In fact… I think in some ways I think my kids are better for it.
When my son was a teenager he came to me once wanting a ride to see a movie with friends. But I had made a commitment to be somewhere else during that same time. I explained to my son that just because he didn’t plan ahead didn’t mean I was going to drop everything so he could have fun. That was a tough lesson… but the next week came and I got the request earlier in the week to escort friends to a movie. Not a problem, I was able to plan for that and everything went off without a hitch.
I have several friends that have blown off their plans with me because their kids made last-minute plans and needed to be shuttled around. Not only did this frustrate me, but I feel it was a signal to those kids that mom will drop anything and everything to cater to their needs.
My kids have learned at an early age that I have a life of my own. I will make sure they are cared for, their needs are met, and will do my best to meet their requests… but once I have made a commitment, I hold to it. That’s not to say if a child breaks an arm or is otherwise injured that I won’t rush them to the hospital (that has happened multiple times!), but it does mean that they learn the difference between what a real emergency is and when it is appropriate to break a commitment.
The biggest difference I have noticed though, is in the way my daughter looks at me. Since I started living my life, taking risks, being adventurous… I have seen my daughter embrace and, dare I say, respect this about me. Not only does she know that I have plans… she makes her own plans! Sometimes we have to make compromises. But I love how she understands and appreciates that I have my own life and how she is starting to take charge of her own life.