I read something the other day that has been very valuable to me. Another mom wrote on her blog that "a lot of people can be your friend, but only I can be your mommy" (I'm paraphrasing, unfortunately I don't remember where I read it).
I wish I could always be Natalie's friend. There's nothing better than when we get to cuddle up and have a great time reading books, drawing with crayons, or emptying the dishwasher.
Unfortunately, there are times when I can't be her friend. Sometimes, we can't empty the dishwasher because the dishes aren't clean. Sometimes we can't go outside because it's too cold. And sometimes I have to put her down for a nap even when she doesn't want to stop having fun just so she can get the sleep she needs.
Sometimes I have to be "Mean Mommy" and tell Natalie "no", so that she can stay healthy and safe and have reasonable, predictable limits. And most times, being "Mean Mommy" feels pretty bad. At least until I read the comment above.
You see, after all "Mean Mommy" isn't really about being mean, it's about being Mommy. Most of the time "Mommy" and "friend" is the same thing to Natalie. Some day, I hope to be both friend and Mommy on a full time basis. But for now, when I have to, I choose to be Mommy. After all, no-one else can be just that for Natalie.