Fayetteville, N.C. — One of my most important jobs as a parent is to constantly demonstrate to my children how the world isn’t fair.
Not really, but my kids sure do think so.
It does seem as though I am forever explaining to them how just because one of their friends got a cell phone in 4th grade doesn’t mean they are now due one themselves.
Or yes, I realize that ALL THE OTHER MOTHERS let their kids stay up until 10, big old meanie me sets 9 p.m. as lights out.
I realized early on my big mistake, at least when it comes to explaining why other families follow different rules. I can't explain it in any rational way. When they’re whining and complaining, kids don’t listen to reason, so I just sum it up with a shrug, “Life isn’t fair.”
Really, this part of the job is so fun! I love crushing their dreams!
What I particularly relish is when my children complain about things that their sibling gets and they don’t, especially when it is out of my hands altogether.
My daughter’s best friend invited her on her family’s trip to Disney World. (I know! Sibling rivalry aside, I just want to high five her and squee!).
It’s an incredibly generous invitation, and one that I wouldn’t dream of asking Emma to turn down. She is so excited, and I am excited for her.
But her poor brother.
I can tell how crushing it is to him because of how little he has said about it so far, almost as if he’s in denial. Sure his refusal to accept reality is making my life more peaceful for now, but boy, am I bracing for impact as the trip approaches.
And it’s not like I could make it up to him, even if I believed in trying to make things “even steven” between the two of them.
The simple truth is there is no great equalizer in life. Each kid is going to have cool opportunities that the other kid wishes they had, and that’s just preparing them for the inequities in life we must all accept from time to time.
She’ll have a great time. And he’ll get over it, eventually.
In the meantime, I’m stocking up on aspirin and earplugs.
Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. She writes about motherhood and family-friendly events in Fayetteville here on Go Ask Mom.