I Hate Being the Bad Guy...

Do you ever have a day that you feel like all you did was enforce rules, put kids in time out and take away privileges? Ugh. Sometimes it's like that, right Moms? I am more drained at the end of those days. Sometimes it's not just a day - sometimes... it's a phase. A training phase. A time of great trial. Not fun- and it kind of makes you question your character. Like, am I warped? Do I enjoy punishing small humans? Of course, the answer is no. I do not like being the bad guy, I would rather ignore and avoid conflict - but the nagging truth is... it's my job.

The worst part about it is the follow through. Sometimes I issue empty threats to get an immediate reaction from my kid, but I also know that the more I do this, the weaker my threats become. I only have so many bluffs before I become the Mom who cried wolf - and the day will come when I tell them to do something or else and they just stare right back at me, unflinching. Or worse, they turn the tables and start trying to manipulate me! Thus, the follow through. We must be Moms of our word - for our own good and theirs.

But Moms, let me tell you, I hate actually withholding a treat or privilege when the time comes. That is a test for me personally - it's that "out of sight out of mind" thing. When the time of offense has passed, I think... was it really that bad? It's just one little treat...life is short! But it comes back to keeping my word. I'm learning that when I keep my word, I'm teaching my child to have integrity also. Integrity! That's a big one. Another hard concept they are learning is consequence - one that comes in handy later when making life decisions and "adulting" in general. Finally, and most imminently, it's reinforcing whatever principle I am trying to teach them in the moment - for example, the next time they play with their sister, they might remember that it's important to keep their hands to themselves when they feel frustrated.

Side Note: As I am typing this out, I had to put my two year old in time out for stabbing her sister in the eye with a toy on purpose. Just keeping it real here. "Ok Google, set a timer for 5 minutes" is my time out mantra.

 Moms (or anyone in the torrents of parenting), the good part of our job is that we get hugs and kisses from these little people in our lives who adore us. The hard part of our job is that we are responsible to raise them into adults with life skills. I heard a great piece of advice about picking your parenting battles - when picking a battle, ask yourself "do I want to die on this hill?" What a great perspective- Do I really want to sit at the dinner table all night with my kid until they eat all their peas? It helps me focus on things that are worth fighting for: good manners, respect for others and yourself, general kindness and consideration for others, integrity and responsibility. Good manners will get you places in life...just saying.

Full disclosure: I don't always follow through when I should. I get tired of placing my children in time out. I get tired of enforcing the rules. It's a thankless job in the moment - but it is my job nonetheless. Parenting is no fun sometimes, but it is my responsibility to correct and teach my children what is good and right. I apologize to my kids when I don't handle a situation well - Mommy isn't always right or fair. There is no playbook - we are writing the playbook as we go. We do the best we can with what we have and then we pray for wisdom. I just wanted to check in here on MBP and encourage all you Moms out there like me who hate being the bad guy to keep on fighting the good fight!


  1. It is so hard being the "bad guy", but our kids need someone holding them accountable so that they can learn to do it themselves when they are older.


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