Good Cop, Bad Cop

There are some days I lay my head down so exhausted.  I’ve felt like my entire day was filled of me saying “No!  Don’t!  Stop it!  Go to your room!”  Do you ever have days like that? … where you feel like all you’ve done all day is discipline?

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As homemakers, we sometimes deal with the stigma of being “the mean one” or the “bad cop”.  We spend the day disciplining and teaching, making sure that our children grow up to be successful, responsible, respectful human beings, and some days require more of that than others.  What can make it difficult sometimes, is it seems the moment Dad walks through the door, all the bad behavior of the day is forgotten, and Daddy is home to save the day.  He’s the hero.  The children are so excited to see him, they drop whatever is in hand and run to the door with excitement.  And of course, daddy is beyond excited to see them as well after a long, hard day at work.  Meanwhile, we may be standing in the background exhausted and at our wit’s end.  And now that dad is home, the children only want to be with him, and we immediately become the bad guy.  All we’ve done all day is discipline.

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It can feel really draining sometimes.  It can feel so unfair at times!  Why do I always have to be the bad guy?  Why must I be the one to constantly say no?!  Why don’t the children seem as excited to see me?

It took a long time for me to deal with this problem.  For a very long time it really wore me down, it made me feel like an awful mother, it made me want to give up on things.  It made me question everything.  Then one day I realized, somebody has to do it.  Do I want to be my children’s friend or their mother?  Do I care more about them liking me or about them growing up to be good people?  This, along with so many other things, comes along as part of the sacrifice.  They might think I’m the “mean one”, and that is okay.  I can deal with that because I know at the end of the day, I am doing the right thing, I am doing what is necessary.  I’m doing what I need to do as a mother and wife.

For some time this whole thing actually caused me to resent my husband at times.  I was mad at him, and for what?  I was being so unfair to him, and it was causing tension.  It was really awful.  Eventually I sat down and looked at the big picture.  How many hours a day do I spend with them, compared to the time he spends with them?  By the time he gets home sometimes they are already in their pajamas and getting ready for bed.  So guess what, if that one hour of that day he gets to spend with them he gets to be the good guy, he deserves it.  He shouldn’t have to spend his limited time with the children disciplining them.  That is my job.  That is the responsibility I hold by being a homemaker.  It’s one more thing to add to the list of what truly makes this job difficult sometimes, one of the things other people don’t even think about.

If you are currently in the situation I was once in, I encourage you to take a step back.  Take a deep breath and look at the big picture.  Realize that this is all part of being a stay at home mother, it comes along with the job.  Besides that, things will get better!  Children will get older and things will change.  Make sure you are taking at least a little time out of your day to do something for yourself.  Keep your head up and stay positive!

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My thoughts on our drastic changes in behavior.

Let’s start by thinking about one simple concept.  Could you imagine talking or acting towards your parents the way your children do to you?

Really, take a few minutes to think about that.

Hopefully you can own up to the fact that the answer to that question is no.  Never in a million years would it be ok.  I’m not saying that your children or mine are horrible, but my goodness how times have changed.  The manners and etiquette of children is nothing like it use to be.  In today’s day and age most kids spend their time with their eyes glued to a TV, tablet, or smartphone.  And it seems to be happening at a younger age.

How often do you see a young boy holding a door open for a woman or girl, taking of his hat when he goes into a building or speaks to a lady, or even pull out a chair for her at a meal?  How many times a day do you see a child talking back, arguing, and being downright disrespectful to their parents?

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Perhaps one major thing that has changed is the way we view our families.  Today, children seem to be the complete center of our universe.  Our lives revolve around them.  And in many families the children’s needs even come before a spouses.  In the 1950’s, this was not the case.  I’m not saying they didn’t love or care for their children, that wasn’t the case at all.  But the family dynamic was different.  Mom and Dad were the King and Queen, the rulers, they were in charge and questioning them was not considered.  More than anything, they were treated with respect.  Never did they have to ask their children to put their phone or ipad down and help bring in the groceries.  Children did this because it was expected of them.

We’ve all heard the expression “speak when you are spoken to”.  I admit my children most definitely do not follow this rule.  Children of the 1950’s however did.  They had this respect for their parents and other adults that I feel has been completely lost in our modern times.

I hope you don’t think I sound like a broken record, but I think there is one very obvious thing that has changed in the lives of children since the 1950’s.  The role of women.  I’m not saying we should go back in time when women weren’t allowed to vote, drive, or have a voice.  I don’t believe that and I believe the original idea of feminism has done wonders for women all over the world.  But a major change is that the majority of women are not at home, they are not the ones raising their children.  The majority of children today are raised by teachers in day care centers, after school programs, or a nanny.  Mother’s are not the woman raising their own children.

And these care takers cannot be blamed.  They are not the parents.  Sadly, when you see a child that continuously misbehaves, say at your child’s school, have you noticed their family dynamic?  Is the mother there dropping her child off at school and picking them up?  Is there a father in the picture?

That’s another thing that I believe has contributed to the downfall in children’s behavior.  Divorce rates are higher than ever and continue to rise.  Do you know what the divorce rate in the 1950’s was?  It ranged between 20-25%.  Today it is 50%.  It has doubled!  There is no question that divorce has a negative affect on children, and perhaps their decline in behavior is a result of this.

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The “golden age” is lost, and it seems as though things are only getting worse.  We are at the point now where we can’t even let our children walk to the store to get a candy bar, or ride their bikes up and down the street in the neighborhood.  It’s no longer safe.  I think of what a drastic change just the last 20 years have been, what is in store for us in the next 20?