Kate Meyers: How do you know if you're being too much "friend" and not enough "mom"? My 12-year-old helped me figure it out.
I feel like I've read many articles and heard myriad experts discuss how important it is to be your child's parent and not their friend. Thankfully, while I was having a long-distance conversation with my friend Kelli, a mom of 10-year-old twin girls, she totally rejected that idea. Times have changed and relationships have changed, she said. "Who better to be your daughter's best friend than you?" she wanted to know. "You should be the person they want to talk to when they have questions, or need advice or get into trouble -- the absolute go-to person in their world."
My girls listen to me when I'm in "mom" mode -- "Clean your room, do your homework, don't maul your sister" -- but they also enjoy our friendship. It's rare that a dinner goes by without uncontrollable laughter. We often dance in the living room, and they're my favorite date on a Saturday night. Yet although Kelli gave me permission, I still worried if I was doing right by them.
As if to answer my mental grappling, my 12-year-old (who's definitely the wisest person I know) wrote the following on my homemade Mother's Day card: "Whenever a girl comes up and asks me, 'Who is your best friend?' I always say it's my mom. And even though Dad tells you to be my mom and not my 'best friend,' you really are both. You always give great advice and homework help and you're there to comfort me and drive me to my activities. And when I need a girl's night, you're there for that, too. Because you are that AMAZING!" I write this with a melted heart.
I also rest my case.