We’ve all seen the recent headlines about Madonna and ex-husband Guy Ritchie arguing over the custody of their 15-year-old son, Rocco. According to the press, Madonna allegedly wanted Rocco to come home to New York for Christmas but he refused and has carried on living with his dad. It’s also been reported that Madonna thinks Guy’s parenting is too lax and has hired private detectives to spy on Rocco.
Now this celebrity mom must be at her wit’s end to do something that drastic (if indeed she has), but you can’t help but feel for Madonna when she’s posting pics on Instagram of her with Rocco as a baby, entitled ‘”Tu me manqué,” which is French for “I miss you.” Much has been made of how strict Madonna is as a parent and articles have been devoted to that being one of the reasons her teenage son seemingly prefers to stay with his dad.
Why is it so often that us moms have to be the bad guy?
Lately I have noticed that I am beyond stressed with trying to get my son to do his endless homework. Does this stress out my husband? Nope. But I literally wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “Has he done his spelling?” My son is 9, soon to be 10, and although in a year he will go to high school in the U.K. and will be responsible himself for all of his homework being done on time, at the moment the buck currently stops with me.
Because my son is involved in so many sports, there seems to be barely any time for schoolwork. Often he eats a late dinner, showers, and then it’s 8:15 PM by the time he’s sitting down with his books spread out across the table.
Last night, I had enough. Tired from a long day of parenting, my temper flared when he still hadn’t finished his spelling homework by 8:30 PM, leaving no reading time. I forced my husband to look away from the soccer game he was watching on TV and told him, “Something has got to give. Our son has to give up some sport in order to facilitate doing his homework.”
My husband replied, “But he can’t give up that — he’s on the top soccer team.”
So then my next battle began — insisting that our kid forsake one of his favorite pastimes, otherwise where would we find the time for him to read? Reading is more important, surely.
My husband relented and then said, “Fine, you can tell him.”
Great. So now I’m the bad guy.
I’m also the bad guy who insists the kids polish their shoes, enforces strict bedtimes, won’t let them play on devices all day (even though it would give me a break), and won’t let them leave the table until at least two broccoli spears are eaten.
Meanwhile, my husband gets to be Mr. Fun.
“Let’s all go for ice cream,” he shouts as he comes in from work at 5 PM — just as I reply, “Not before dinner!”
My husband’s untidy, so for him a messy room isn’t a big deal. For me, it’s torture. How can anyone relax in a room so messy they can’t see the floor? I have shades of OCD, so I insist that the kids’ rooms are always tidy, and I am the only parent who enforces this.
Do I think my husband’s parenting style is too lax? Yeah, sometimes.
When my husband fancies lying on the sofa watching sports on a Sunday afternoon with our son, rather than forcing him to do his math homework, I think to myself, “Come 7 PM, I’ll have to be the bad guy who makes him do it …”
It isn’t a role I want or cherish. I want to be The Fun Mom, but my first duty is to parent well, and for me, schoolwork is important.
The only time my husband is the bad guy is in the morning, when he hassles the kids to finish their breakfast, get dressed, and brush their teeth. Otherwise, his bad guy only comes out when I’m plain exhausted. The kids know that when dad shouts or is angry, they have to JUMP TO IT. They are more afraid of him than me, which also works against me because my shouts and threats often go over their heads. They are so used to me being the screaming bad guy that they don’t fear it — or even (most annoyingly of all) heed it.
My husband frequently tells me I need to chill out, relax more, “destress” — and I would if I wasn’t having to worry about and juggle so much: deadlines at work; the kids’ homework, activities, and behavior; keeping the house clean and refrigerator stocked. I don’t have the time for things to go wrong. Who does? If I’m going to get my scripts and articles written, food on the table, and clean clothes in the wardrobes — all while raising kids who are well-behaved and understand the importance of schoolwork — I am going to need everyone in the family to pull their weight.
So if I’m the bad guy, then so be it; I want my kids to have respect for themselves and others. I just wish sometimes, it wasn’t all on me.More On