After all these years all my work was finally appreciated. I always knew that the day my son appreciates all I’ve done would come, and it did. Everything I did was worth it.
“Mother knows best.” Have you ever heard of this saying? You did. Everybody did. And don’t dare to argue with that!
Unfortunately, not everybody understands that. Our kids tend not to listen to our advice and pay their own dues. And I am not trying to say that every disagreement leads to terrible mistakes or that parents physically can’t be wrong. No, I am just saying that there are just too many occasions in any every mother’s life when she says “I told you so” to her children.
My first son is now 23. He graduated from college recently, has a great job, and makes me a proud mom. I divorced long ago, so I was raising him by myself. And It was not an easy task. I can’t describe all the trouble he caused, all the fights, and so on.
Last week, we had a dinner party. A lot of our friends and relatives were there. While we were all eating, drinking, and chatting, my son stood up and made a toast.
“I cannot thank my mother enough for all the love she gave me and apologize enough for all that she had to suffer with me. I was never the kind of kid any mother dreams of but rather a nightmare. I did not show enough appreciation for all that she’d done for me. Today, I want you to know that I am truly sorry for all the times I didn’t understand how much you gave me. I would never achieve what I’ve achieved if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for all you’ve done.”
That was the moment when I started crying. I was waiting for those words since the moment he first shouted at me for not letting him play with my ex-husband’s razor. And finally, I heard them.
What was he so thankful about? For a lot of things, I guess. Too bad he didn’t understand them back then.
1. Making him attend music classes
It is a fact that all grownups who didn’t learn how to play musical instruments wish they did. My son is not one of them. I forced him to attend piano lessons, even though he didn’t want to. He is a talented musician, and I understood that. He tried to skip classes, so I had to control it. He even fought with his teacher once -- luckily nobody was injured. It seemed almost too hard to make him do this, but nevertheless, he started to love playing music.
He met his fiancé at some party where he played with his band. They are together for seven years already and plan to marry this summer. He now believes that his piano skills are the reason they got to know each other.
2. Not letting him spend too much time in front of the computer screen
A few years back, my son seemed to be a gaming addict. He used to spend days playing. I tried to set passwords on our family computer, but he always found ways to outwit me and do what he wanted. Back then, I had no idea about parental controls that I use now to limit my daughter’s time spent in front of the screen. So I had to come up with more “old-school” methods. At some point, I just put that machine in our bedroom and always took a cord with me when I wasn’t home. It still makes me cringe when I recall all the words he said to me that day. It was an incredibly hard fight, but it was worth it.
My son now realizes that his addiction could lead to horrible consequences. He could skip school because of gaming, or even not take a shower for up to five days! It was a nightmare. We rarely talk about it, but when this topic slips into conversation, he often blushes and feels embarrassed.
3. Not letting him hang out with that “one” friend
Teenagers are often not the smartest people, and it is totally normal. They are only starting to live, and it can’t go smoothly without mistakes or bad decisions.
My son had a friend in middle school who was kind of a rebel, but not a kind of rebel you would want your kid to spend time with. He smoked, ran away from home even though his parents were amazing people, drank alcohol, etc. Typical bad influence. Still, he was considered to be a “cool guy,” and kids wanted to hang out with him. My son wasn’t allowed to do that. I didn’t let him visit parties where that boy was invited and even called his parents to make sure he wasn’t somewhere near my child.
That boy never went to college, and that is the only thing I know about him. When I meet his mother (she works near me), she changes the subject when I mention her son. I feel bad for that poor woman, but at the same time, I feel happy that my child has no connection with hers.
4. Making him eat healthy
He was always a picky eater. He would rather stay hungry than put vegetables on a platter. Instead, my boy would rather eat chips and drink soda. It’s a rare occasion when a mother doesn’t need to deal with that. I had to be brutal. At times, I didn’t even give him any pocket money, so he couldn’t buy junk.
But once again, it was worth it. My boy is now a healthy grown man who has no problems with digestion and does not suffer from stomach pains. He even started cooking for himself and his fiancé. It was a long time since they ate any junk food.
5. Forcing him to read books
I am a big fan of books. Unfortunately, this does not pass through genes. As a teen, my son believed books to be a waste of time. He would rather watch TV or play video games. So I had to force him to read. I applied different sanctions, like limiting his allowance or time spent in front of screens. He was screaming, crying, slamming doors, and so on.
But, you know, what was the first thing he bought for his own house? A bookshelf. He became a reader and always quotes Hugo, Remark, and Hemingway.
6. Checking his home tasks
I was never a fan of homeschooling; however, my involvement in the education process of my children is out of the question. I stopped checking his assignments only when he became a straight-A student in high school. He was never stupid, but really lazy, and thus needed my help. I don’t think that his enrollment in college is my merit. It is solely his. But the control that I provided had its point.
After all these years all my work was finally appreciated. I always knew that the day my son appreciates all I’ve done would come, and it did. Everything I did was worth it. All the fights, shouting, breaking things -- it helped my son become a man any mother would be proud of.
Parenting is not an easy task, but you should never give up. Mother always knows best.