Tonight while I was cleaning up after dinner, Mr. 5-year-old told me that I’m not the boss. My first instinct was to tell him that I’m the adult, which means that I get to be the boss and that Daddy will probably back me up on that.
And I’d like to say that I immediately thought differently. And I’d like to say that I didn’t immediately feel prideful when Daddy did, indeed, tell Mr. 5-year-old that he has to listen to me, too.
But I can’t.
It’s actually taken me a good hour to come back to the realization that I don’t always get to be the boss even when I’m in the position to be and that “what I say, goes” is not a phrase that will get me anywhere when the receiving party is confused about why I’m saying it.
And, let’s be real: It’s not like I’m armed with a knack for parenting or have any experience with it at all except for with all of my college students who behave like children. All I’ve got is a graduate-level course on childhood development and a ridiculous love for cartoons and coloring to help me through this adventure.
So what made me believe that I could respond to Mr. 5-year-old so matter-of-factly in disagreement about being the boss? I mean, I can easily recognize that I can’t (always) be the boss at my job or in “every day adult life,” so why would I believe that that’s how it would work with the kiddos?
Maybe it’s because every day is a challenge for me to not have to always be right or in control. And maybe it’s because I often find myself looking at kids as tiny adults who I should be able to reason with about why they need to finish eating their dinner. Or maybe I had a lapse of judgement as I was trying to clean up after myself so I can continue to be on someone’s good side.
Either way I look at it, though, it’s time to set myself straight:
You can relinquish control sometimes. You don’t have to be the boss. It’s going to be okay.