like most parents, i sometimes doubt my abilities to comfort and care for my children. i wonder if i have the skills and patience necessary to handle all the major and minor events in my kids' lives that they will need help coping with.
what i'd like to talk about now is not one of those times.
since we moved into our new house, my boys have made friends in the neighborhood that they go and play with. in all of the places we've lived before, they didn't get much contact with other kids beyond school and scouts, so this is all new to them and to me. we never really had ground rules about how late they could stay out, how far down the block they could go, and into who's house they could enter. we also never had to worry about other kids randomly ringing our doorbell, asking if my boys could come out and play. or my boys randomly bringing other kids into our house.
and because we never had to have these discussions on rules and boundaries, i never really thought about my stance on such topics. and i definitely wasn't prepared to have these talks with my boys, especially with an audience of their friends right in front of me. it's all kind of thrown me for a loop.
the other thing about being totally unprepared is that sometimes i make rules, we set boundaries, we talk about what the protocol is for certain activities, and then i find that it doesn't work. so we need to change how we do things. honestly, i think that as kids grow, rules will constantly be changing because kids are constantly different. as they grow they want more freedom to explore. and sometimes the easiest punishment is to revoke some of that freedom they previously earned.
the thing is, my boys don't deal with change well. like at all. routines are their favorite. they like to know what to expect and what will happen next. so to change things on them is to stress them out. which, according to them, makes me a bad mom. and to punish them by not letting them play with their friends as much as they'd like also makes me extremely uncool. but the fact that, even on their best behaved days, they have less freedom then the rest of the kids in the whole neighborhood makes me the worst mom ever.
but i can handle their hate, because i know it's not universal. they're kids, testing their boundaries, seeing what they can get away with, hoping for all fun and no work. and as their mom, i know that they need to do their homework first before they go and play. and that it's not safe to run around after dark or to go into everyone and anyone's house, especially if i don't know where they're going to be. so even though they might not understand now that i really have their best interests in mind when i make these rules, one day, they'll see.
and until then, we still have to get through high school years. and at that point their sister will be a teenager. may the fates be kind for the next ten years.