As of late, my almost 5 year old, Harrison, has been asking me, "Mommy, are you my friend?"
He's been asking this... a lot. Incessantly. At weird random times during the day, not always when he wants something or I'm fussing at him.
So when he asks this, my mind wanders for a second...is he going to be this needy, whiney little child who needs constant gratification and praise? Will he be 40 and running off his third wife because he can't stop asking her if she really does love him?
I only ponder these things for a bit and then I reply, "Yes, honey, Mommy loves you and is your friend, but I'll always be your Mommy more." Sometimes we continue and talk about how mommies are teachers and our jobs are to teach our children how to be healthy, happy people.
Sometimes we don't.
What is my point? My point is, although I'm satisfying his growing need to understand family relationships, at this point, I will have to teach him at some point that mommies are parents first, friends second.
Why is this important? Because I really do feel that too many parents are too worried about being a friend to their child, than a parent. My mother always tried to be my friend first so when she wanted to slip into the parent role and lay down the law, I scoffed at the idea.
I am constantly reminding myself that his few minutes of happiness if I give in to something he does not need, or I backtrack on a consequence, are not worth the years of heartache it could lead to down the road. He is slowly learning that Mommy and Daddy are the parents, the 'bosses' as he says. :) We take the time to explain the hierarchy of families and WHY we believe in them, using the Bible and our religious beliefs as our base of understanding---explaining it in kid terms of course.
Pretty soon, Harrison will start Kindergarten and although he's been in preschool for two years, alas, public school is a whole new ballgame. He will learn the ropes of real friendships, enemies, fun and heartache. Hopefully he'll find those few good true friends who will stand the test of time like I have, and hopefully he'll continue to learn that although Mommy is always there for him, my role is not as a friend per say but a role model, teacher and "boss".
But for right now....I'm happy giving him a hug and saying, "Of course I'm your friend buddy....but you still have to eat your peas!"