The Mommy vs. The Parent: Which Hat Do You Wear the Most?
I am a wearer of many hats, especially in my role at work where I’m part of a four-person team. I am the Director of Operations, team leader, head of IT, head of HR, executive assistant, boss’s right-hand…you get the idea.
In my personal life I also wear many hats as a wife, friend, sister, daughter, and so on. But my most treasured hat is my “Mommy hat.” It is the hat I wear the proudest and that truly never comes off. Well, that’s actually a lie. The only time my beloved Mommy hat comes off is when I have to put my Parent hat on. You might be asking yourself, aren’t those the same thing? Not in my book they aren’t!
When I’m Mommy I get to soothe, comfort, play, laugh, smooch, sing, tickle, dance, and do all of the things I love doing with my son. But all of that comes to a screeching halt when I need to teach my toddler a lesson. You know, when you go from laughing and playing one second to a screaming toddler tantrum the next that you have to address.
The Parent hat is reserved for the tough times when your actions may result in playtime being over, a stern tone of voice, a threat that you know you will have to follow through on, or maybe your actions even cause tears.
As the Parent I am trying to help my son by not always giving him what he wants or teaching him right from wrong, good behavior and bad. I’m making him “cry it out” or breaking him of his pacifier when he doesn’t understand why it has to go. For me, this is hard.
I know I am the mature one in this relationship and I have to set the boundaries and be the one in charge but I hate seeing my son upset. All I keep thinking about is how this type of parenting, the toddler years, is probably a drop in the pan compared to what lies ahead. When my son is growing up and really needs help with life lessons and the discipline is a far cry from timeouts and no dessert.
That will be tough. I always say the care giving is easy, relatively speaking, of course. Keeping your baby fed, clean, clothed, etc is something that comes naturally and even when there are bumps in the road we have the common sense and at least the resources to call upon to resolve any situation.
But parenting? That can get tricky. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to parenting and half the time I’m only hoping that I’m doing any of it right! Did we do the right thing by letting him cry it out? Should we have just caved and let him have more cheese instead of making him finish his chicken? Did we jump the gun on ridding him of the paci? And these are all minor things!!
I know it is what I signed up for and I’m not shying away from my responsibilities I’m just shocked at how much harder this aspect of motherhood has been then I ever thought. I’m trying to figure out my parenting style and I work with my husband to ensure we don’t have the “good cop, bad cop” routine going. We both want a united front and even achieving that can have its own blog post entirely!
As a full-time working mom I also have to work with daycare to make sure we are in line with how they handle discipline situations and make sure they understand how we handle them at home to ensure our little guy has a sense of consistency.
The Parent role has been my most challenging one to date and I know it will continue to challenge and shape me over the years. But the silver lining is that my Mommy hat is never too far behind. No matter how frustrating a situation can get or how difficult making good decisions for my son can be, once the dust settles I’m back to being Mommy and all is right in the world.
Kendra is a full-time working mom to a precocious toddler and wife to her long-time sweetheart. They are expecting their second baby in January. At “My Full-Thyme Life” she writes about the attempts at balancing her cherished roles as wife, mom and key employee.