My toddler refused to hold my hand as we were walking in to a crowded parking lot. I tried to give him a chance to walk right by me, but he was too unpredictable. He started to take off.
I chased him and picked him up. Boy, was he mad. He kicked and screamed and tried to hit me as I carried him to the car.
These words came out of my mouth as I struggled to contain him, “It is my job to keep you safe, buddy. It is not my job for you to like me.”
My response got me thinking, “What is my job as a mother?” I came up with this job description as if talking to children:
It is my job to be your parent. It is not my job to be your friend.
It is my job to help you become independent. It is not my job to do everything for you.
It is my job to teach you right from wrong. It is not my job to be popular.
It is my job to do what is best for your long term growth. It is not my job to do what is convenient.
It is my job to give you everything you need. It is not my job to give you everything you want.
It is my job to equip you with tools, skills and confidence to solve problems. It is not my job to solve your problems.
It is my job to support you. It is not my job to take over.
It is my job to nurture you. It is not my job to entertain you.
It is my job to love you unconditionally. It is not my job judge you.
Sometimes we lose focus on what our “job” really is. The parenting lines get blurry, peer pressure mounts, energy decreases, the desire to be liked takes over, and we tend to shift the job description to an easier, short term fast fix. It takes much courage and resolve to understand a parent’s true responsibility.
(Can you think of anything else for our job description?)