I Indulge my kid…A LOT…and I won’t apologize for it.
Some may say I spoil my child. And you know what? I’ll own it. I absolutely do. And guess what…I’m not sorry.
Most times she comes with me to run errands, I let her pick out a little something wherever we are – Target, Publix, whatever. It’s equal parts spoiling and hush money to keep her quiet so I can get through the store.
Not only do I indulge the shit out of her, she’s also accustomed to my mom (the apple doesn’t fall far folks) walking in the house with some sort of little gift for her every time she sees her.
“Mom, can you get me a napkin?”
“Mommy, can I please have some milk?”
“Mom, can you change this episode of Sophia to a different one?”
“Mama, can you get me a cheese stick?”
That’s like a brief little snapshot into the inner workings of any given day. And my resounding answer is YES! Yes to all of it.
Can it be a pain in the ass? Yes! Do I sometimes say, “C’mon, you can get up and get your own cheese stick!” Yes. Does that work? Eh.
And you know what? I don’t care and I’ll tell you exactly why. I would move heaven and earth for that child, so her requests for milk, cheese sticks or to change the channel are small potatoes in my mind. I grew up with a mom who, when we were sick, brought tea and toast cut into bite size pieces on a tray with a doily…every time.
But the indulging goes far beyond material things.
I’m the mom that goes all out when the tooth fairy comes. I’m talking toothpaste footprints on the sink, notes and I even bought a little “fairy door” off etsy. The same goes for the Mensch on the Bench during Hanukkah. And all of my Pinterest research pays off when I see the look on her little face as she hunts for the note and accompanying goodies. She eats it up and I live for it.
I volunteer in her class whenever I can, doing things like mystery reader. I’m the first to sign up for chaperoning field trips. I start shopping for the holidays the second she shouts about something she sees on a commercial…in July.
And you know what? If she asked me to, I’d probably chew her food like a mama bird. I just want to do everything for her. Not in a creepy way that hampers her development, but I will never stop being that mom who stops what I’m doing to do something for her.
In my mind, these days are numbered. She’s already growing more and more independent with daily tasks. She wants to pour her own cereal and pick out her own clothes. That list is going to continue to grow and the truth is I revel in the moments that she needs me. Because I know, as she gets closer to the teenage years, she is going to ask to be dropped off and dart out of the car to be with her friends. She’ll spend more time in her room giggling with girlfriends than cuddling with me on the couch.
This indulgence, material and otherwise, is not a way to show affection. Trust me, there is no shortage of affection between us. We are always attached somehow – hugging, snuggling, holding hands. That kid would climb back into my birth canal if she could. And I love EVERY second of it.
And here’s where I see the difference between a kid being spoiled and entitled. I never stop teaching her to appreciate what she gets. I am always telling her how very lucky she is and to never take anything for granted. And I’m pretty sure it’s working because no matter how much “stuff” is gifted to this child, she has the sweetest soul I’ve ever seen. She has a piggy bank filled with change and will say to me, “Mom, can we donate this to children who need shoes? Or animals who have no home?” She loves her friends and is kind and good to them. I say that not only as her mother, but based on the feedback I get from her teachers regularly.
While I definitely indulge my kid and she is used to this treatment. Let me tell you what she isn’t. She isn’t and will never be a mean girl. And I know because we talk openly about this all the time. She has had her own run ins with a couple of mean girls and it blows her mind and she’s quick to point out that if they don’t turn it around “nobody is going to want to be their friend.”
And ironically, the moms who have given me the most shit about giving into my child’s every desire are the same ones who then compliment her behavior at a restaurant while their child is throwing spoons at the server and having a back-arching tantrum.
We are not a perfect mother-daughter combo, but I know that I am raising a sweet, confident and compassionate little girl. She just doesn’t want to get her own cheese sticks or turn down the volume on the TV. And I’m ok with that.