When Your Kid Questions Your Parenting

“Mom, should I be watching this show?”

We were on our fourth episode of Spongebob Squarepants. It had been a long day of work and I was exhausted. After ordering and serving pizza for dinner, I became one with the couch. I turned my brain off and stared into space, thankful that the kids were quietly immersed in the television. I retreated so deeply into my own head I was almost startled by Anders’ question.

“Sure. Why not?” I asked.

“Brody at school says that his mom thinks Spongebob is a bad influence. Is he?” He searched my face for answers.

“Everyone parents differently, Anders. I think this show is fine for you. Brody’s mom decides what is appropriate for Brody,” I replied.

“But who is right, mom?”

I briefly considered explaining the mommy wars to my 5-year-old, but decided I would rather jump into a tank of hungry sharks, which, come to think of it, is actually quite like entering into a discussion on mommy wars. Only the shark tank is safer and less messy.

“Everyone is right, because each mother knows what is best for their child,” I said.

We left it at that. Anders returned his attention to the television screen while I sat marveling at how quickly this day had come — the day when my child became old enough, aware enough to question my parenting. The thought was terrifying. I like to be the one who constantly frets over whether I’m scarring my children forever around our home. Next thing you know he’ll be asking me if happy meals are healthy and, if not, why are we having them for dinner. He might even wonder aloud why we’ve been wearing our pajamas all day.

“Why do you spend so little time wearing pants, mom?” I imagined him asking.

I peeled myself from the couch, I put on my stretchiest pants, I turned off the television, and I made a promise to myself to prepare a balanced meal for dinner tomorrow. I also took a deep breath and reminded myself that sometimes we all need a break. Today was one of those days for me.

Is Spongebob a bad influence? I can’t be sure, but today? He is a means of survival.

Photo credit: iStock

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