Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Being the Parent Isn't Always Fun

It was a rough Monday at our house this week. We are dealing with the issue of "lying." Man, do I hate this one. It really makes my heart ache having to be the parent.

My father told me the same thing years ago when I went through my short stint as a hardened criminal. I never understood. Unfortunately, the only experiences that count are our own. At that time, mine were utter embarrassment and a lot of pain in my buns.

I was four, in preschool, and I went on a stealing - and lying - spree. I stole money from the cash register in the play area at school, and then, having seemingly got off scott-free, went professional and stole balloons from the local grocery store when my mom took me shopping there later that same day.

Yes, I had definitely gone over to the dark side. I even lied about the balloons, saying I'd gotten them from someone.

I thought I was clear and free. I hid the balloons in my little kitchen at home, and the quarters and pennies in my shoe.

It didn't last long. My parents managed to put two and two together the very night of my heists. I got the spanking of a lifetime, but that wasn't the worst part. I had to return the things I'd stolen and apologize for what I'd done. That was painfully embarrassing. Fortunately, both my teacher and the manager at the grocery store were firm but friendly. Still, I cried A LOT.

And then tried to forget about it for the rest of my life, although the lesson stuck. I didn't ever want to have to own up to something that mortifying ever again.

What I wasn't counting on was my youngest daughter taking after her mother. On Monday, most desperate after a sticker at gymnastics, she lied to her babysitter that she'd done the required exercises for said sticker. The babysitter signed off on the form my daughter turns in each week for this fitness regimen they are doing. Then, she lied to her teacher saying she'd done them. She got the sticker. And she must have been feeling pretty secure in the lie because then she tried it on me, the person who had been with her and would have known whether she'd done the exercises.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

I found myself in much the same situation as my parents some 35 years ago. And man, was it hard. My heart hurt to got hrough with the steps that needed doing. First, she admit to her lying to both her teacher and her babysitter and apologize to each of them. My heart ached like I was four all over again and it was my fault. I mean, I'm the parent. I'm responsible for this little being. I felt raw mortification all over again as I stood next to her. Second, as punishment, she got three swats on her buns and is no longer a part of the fitness program as far as rewards go. She still has to do it, but she gets no more stickers. Ugh, I feel like an evil mother as I write this, and my heart hurts, but I keep thinking, today stickers, tomorrow, at fifteen, what will it be?

I haven't enjoyed being the grown-up this week, and honestly, when my parents said, "This hurts me more than it does you," I never understood. Until now. Is it okay to say that growing up sucks sometimes??


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

OH man. It is so hard. But what you're doing, nipping it in the bud right away, makes it a lot easier over the long haul. Trust me.

PJ Hoover said...

My son is so honest, but I can already see I need to work on this with my daughter. Sigh.

Stacy Nyikos said...

I hope it does. This being responsible stuff is soooooo hard. Like you PJ, my oldest is really honest too. No worries there. It's the second born that's giving me worries. The Dutch have this great saying: "Children keep you young while making you old." If only I knew what that meant...

Rena said...

Awww, that is hard, but good for you for teaching her right from wrong, even if it makes you feel like the bad guy.

adrienne said...

Oh, I have the hardest time with this one too. I dealt with something similar and thought the same thing about that phrase "It hurts me more..." Now I get it.

Stacy Nyikos said...

Yeah, who thought it'd take growing up to become the "bad guy" to get that one???

Barrie said...

It's also okay to say that parenting sucks sometimes.