You ask why your sister got to watch television while doing her homework, because I can count on you to recognize any disparity, but can I? It’s not because your sister gets all A’s or does the majority of her homework without complaints while you struggled with grades and all but refused to do your homework. It’s not that I favor your sister and think she should never have to experience anything the least bit boring or intolerable. We both know my parenting style incorporates necessary evils like periods of boredom and some tough love, because I am not sending you out into the world unprepared.
When you notice that your sister is plopped at the table in front of the tv, where are you and I? We are right there. When you were her age, you didn’t have a little sister watching tv while you worked and you definitely didn’t have a mother that did. Guess where I was. I was right next to you, ass planted in the chair sharing your grief, because you hated homework. You had a treasure chest and got rewarded almost daily for finishing, which in retrospect, probably was a bad idea. When you weren’t doing homework, you had my undivided attention while we painted, played games or went to the park, and then Annie was born.
At that point I did divide my attention, but you were not slighted. In fact I made sure we had our one on one time, outside of all life’s mundane tasks. We went for sushi almost weekly and caught up. Still, it is often you that gets the majority of my undivided attention. Unfortunately, it is not always positive. Every time you are punished, in trouble, arguing, you are taking up the time that could otherwise be split between your sister and you, and sadly, that is often. I don’t know if it is a teenage thing, or just the dynamic that has developed over time between us, but it needs to end.
So yes, yesterday, your 7 year old sister, gasp, got to watch tv while doing her homework. Here’s the truth. I am tired. The stress of working full time, at ungodly hours and then putting in a full time parent role at home is exhausting. The parenting part is easy. It is playing referee, it is playing the defendant on trial, it is playing the part of the enemy on defense that is overwhelming. So excuse me when I agree with you that is is unfair. It is unfair that as a parent, we give so much and it will never be enough, not for you, but for us. Every decision you question, I probably already pondered over endlessly in my head, because as a parent I want what’s best and need to figure out what that is given the circumstances. And it is tiring.
I barely have the energy to make decisions sometimes, but then to act like a PhD candidate trying to defend my dissertation every time I do, is ridiculous. So no more. Now, I will not be considering your arguments on every single decision I make. Probably on none for now. It’s not because I don’t respect you, but the fact is, I respect my time more. The more time I free of debate and arguing, the more time we have for other things. Fun things. So excuse me when I say, “because I said so,” and take it as a sign of love. I love you too much to argue.