Good Morning! Please welcome Andrea Bates from Good Girl Gone Redneck. She and I virtually met in 2011 before I really got this blogging thing. We then had the chance to meet face to face at Type A Parent Conference in North Carolina the next year, and we’ve been good friends since. Here she is this morning, explaining why she’s okay with identifying as her daughter’s friend.
Andrea is a native New Yorker living in NC who has become accustomed to wearing flip flops year-round. An LCSW, she spends much of her free time volunteering to support women in various stages of motherhood.
Andrea blogs at Good Girl Gone Redneck (http://goodgirlgoneredneck.com), where she shares the ins and outs of parenting, family and relationships all while juggling life with her husband, daughter, dogs, cats and trillions of dust bunnies. She is an avid reader, necklace collector and self-proclaimed queen of all the selfies. She truly hopes to find a clear surface in her house in the coming decade.
My daughter is eight years old.
She’s intelligent. She’s adventurous. She’s inspiring.
She’s got an amazing laugh.
She’s got a serious twinkle in her eyes, especially when she’s doing something she’s trying to get away with.
She’s often motivated, though sometimes she’s lazy.
She’s got a stubborn streak a mile long. (I wonder where that comes from?)
She listens to us. She challenges us.
She wants what she wants when she wants it.
But she knows that doesn’t always happen.
Frequently doesn’t happen.
Might happen once in a while – but mostly won’t.
And yet …
Every now and then she tells me, ‘Mommy, you’re the best’.
And I reply that she’s the best, too.
And we squeeze hands.
For all the stressful mornings. For all the ‘get your socks and shoes on’ and all the ‘brush your teeth now” shouts. For all of the raised voices saying ‘GO TO BED!’ and for all of the times I’ve shouted NO! or screamed WHY? So so many times.
With all of that she still thinks I’m the best.
She still thinks I’m her friend.
And I am.
I always will be.
Is it confusing? I don’t think so.
Do I, as mom and friend, find myself feeling guilty when I have to raise my voice? When I need to reprimand? Sure. But not because I find myself in a friend “role” but because I, as a mom, find it hard to hear myself yelling. And because I, as a mom, love my daughter more than I could have ever imagined pre-motherhood. And when you yell at someone you love it chips away at you inside a little. Because you don’t want to. Even if you know why you’re doing it. Or you think you do.
It’s hard. It’s rough being a parent.
Ask any mother out there if they’ve ever yelled at their child and wanted to take it back instantly. Or if they’ve ever welled up with tears because of something they, themselves, said or simply while reflecting back at the tone in their voice.
If they say no? Don’t believe them. Because it’s probably not true. We’re human. We all experience things we wish we could fix, adjust, change. Even when it comes to our children.
Discipline and education, rules and understanding? All of that is a part of parenting. I can do all of that to keep my child safe. Even if I do question my methods now and then. Even if I wish I took a few deep breaths before yelling. I’m a grown enough woman and mother to apologize if I feel I need to. To be sure that I get the point I meant to say across. To ensure that she understands right from wrong.
But all of that? that’s not the stuff I do when I’m her friend.
Friends have your back. Friends support you. Friends listen. Friends hear. Friends open their hearts and hold you in them tightly.
These are just a touch of the things I do and will continue to do for my daughter. I ca do them as her parent, sure, but if she sees me doing them and recognizes a friend in there, too? Who am I to take that away from her?
Because I will ALWAYS have her back. I will ALWAYS support her. I’ll listen and I’ll hear.
She’s in my heart and I’ll never let her go.
So while many a mother out there explains that they’re their child’s parent, I’m over here in my own little bubble parenting my child, and also being their friend. And I think we’re going to be friends forever. Because she says we are.