..but do you LIKE them

Anyone out there reading this have kids? If you do, I’m sure you love them with all your hearts. Of course you do.I’m sure that everytime you look into their eyes your heart fills with all the hopes and dreams that you have for them and you’re overwhelmed with emotion. You want to  grab them, pull them close and remind them how absolutely precious they are.You want to tell them that being their parent is the single best thing that EVER happened to you. Like ,EVER. In life.

Yea. Right.

And then, when you’re ready to be REALLY honest with yourself, I’m sure there are also times in which you look in the little hellions’ eyes and admit ( to yourself of course) that if you weren’t responsible for feeding them, you’d do everything in your power to avoid being in the same ROOM with them. Yes. You might LOVE them, but do you always LIKE them?

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has three BEAUTIFUL children. Two boys aged 8 and 3 and one gorgeous girl, aged 7. The three year old…I attribute two of my three gray strings to him. The 8 year old, is “all boy” and I’m sure a smidgen of Ritalin would do him good. Like REALLY good and I totally don’t even BELIEVE in medicating children. The girl. WOW. She is GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. She’s smart as a whip but even more impressive to me -she’s CLEVER. She is the wittiest seven year old I’ve ever come across. She’s just hilarious and I love her and I don’t even feel ashamed to admit that I love her so much because she reminds me so much of myself.

Anyway, I was talking to their mom and she sounded particularly…well she sounded awful. Tired/angry/frustrated- she just sounded really sad. ( I secretly said a silent thank you that my baby is almost 13 and I don’t have to sound like that ever again ever. I hope). I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her daughter was really getting on her nerves. She’s been moody, pouty, whiny. When asked what is bothering her, she’d let out a dramatic sigh ( love her) and say “oooo nothing I suppose”. No amount of coaxing and coddling ever manages to produce a different response. My friend at this point is convinced her child does this to torture her. LOL. Her words “…I just really don’t LIKE her right now….”. I was taken aback, not because what she said was so horrible. I was just shocked to hear someone ADMIT it. Seriously, who says that. “I don’t like my kid”. It just sounds so wrong…right?

The minute she said that, she went on about all the little things that annoy the crap out of her, and I could HEAR her mood soften a bit just at being able to get it off her chest. She and I came up with some solutions that would probably help and she ended up feeling much better about the situation and before we got off the phone, I was convinced that she liked the poor child again.

How bad is it really to not like your kid? Its ok to not like everyone else. Hell, some of us don’t like our parents. Why does admitting we don’t like our spawn from time to time automatically qualify us for monster status. I’m a realist and I admit to having a mean streak. I see kids sometimes who are just so annoying that all I can think to myself is ” there is no way her mom REALLY likes her”. Am I really saying that there is no way that I would like her if I were her mom? Probably. And I don’t care what you think about my saying that.

The truth is, I’ve had numerous conversations with folks who either have kids or have relationships that put them around other people’s kids and underneath the thinly veiled layer of frustration, I’m sensing this need to have their feelings validated. Whenever I notice this, I offer a gentle nudge by way of a “you know you’re ALLOWED to feel frustrated…and you’re allowed to maybe not even like him right now”. I think whats important is to realize its ok to FEEL that way but you can’t ever BE that way. You can’t let your child know what you’re feeling. Admitting that its ok to feel that way is admitting you’re human and I think that realizing that you’re only human  makes parenting a whole lot easier.

Although I don’t have the same types of problems that my friend does, my soon to be 13 year old with the full grown woman’s body is starting to present her own set of problems. We’re very open at this point so she knows that while she’s allowed to express herself, her mom is allowed to go completely off and act the fool. Its up to her if she wants to deal with that. I will always love her. I will love her more than life, more than I love myself. But I will never, ever forfeit my right to not like her whenever the need arises. Don’t worry, we’ve talked about it. She understands. And that makes it even easier to like her.

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