Second-Best Mommy. A title I wear proudly. I managed to earn this one warm, sunny afternoon in the Spring of 2019. I was having a conversation with my sweet 9-year-old when I jokingly said, “I’m the best Mommy ever, right?”
“No, you’re the Second-Best Mommy,” he quickly replied.
Stunned, I looked at him and thought that surely I had heard incorrectly. “Second-best? So, who is the best then?” I asked. “Miss Sally,” he replied.
Now, I definitely blame the snarkiness in his voice on my excellent parenting, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sting. And when I learned that I had lost my title to the next-door neighbor, I’m not quite sure what was harder to stomach – the blow to my ego or the fact that, up until that point, my little boy had always thought that his own Mommy was the best mommy ever. Or so he had told me. I kind of felt like he was breaking up with me and not letting me down very easily.
After taking a second to process what he said and seeing my stunned look and open mouth, he tried to smooth things over by saying, “Well… she lets us play video games.”
“Yeah, I know. But it’s because I tell her it’s ok,” I replied. “So, I’m still pretty cool.”
He shrugged his shoulders as if to say “sure” and our conversation ended there.
Ahhhhhh, video games. My fate was sealed. I will never hold the title of Best Mommy Ever because I am not ready to succumb to the screen. Up until this point, the screen had been used as a strategic tool. PBS shows like Wild Kratts and Word World appeared on the screen as a tactic to keep everyone in one place so that I could take a shower without a WWE match erupting in the living room. But as of late, screen time has been a hot topic in my house.
My 9-year-old makes arguments like, “everybody plays it” and “you never let me have anything” to try and get me to budge. I assure him that while it may feel like everybody but you has a cell phone or is playing video games, that is not the case. We rehash the same conversation over and over again about how every parent is different and that every parent makes the best choice for their child. While those choices are not the same, it certainly doesn’t mean that any parent is any less loving or any child is loved more than another. I remind him that he is not deprived in any way and that when his Daddy and I feel that it is the right time for video games in our home, we will let him know.
Sometimes we parents have to be the bad guys and earn the title of second-best.
I know that this is certainly not the end of the video game conversation. I also know that harder conversations are around the corner and bigger emotions are going to come with them. My future ranking may be in jeopardy and might even drop. But, for now, I’ll wear my medal proudly and tell the world that I am the Second-Best Mommy.