I am well-aware that my children were doing something elicit. I could bust them. But I don’t. I’m not up to the scuffle tonight. Tonight I’m tired. Their father has been traveling for two weeks a continent away. I don’t have it in me to confront them, wiggle out the truth, and deal out the consequences. Not that watching a little illegal television drivel is so bad. Still.
Later I tuck them in to bed and I say nothing about their earlier actions. They are more obedient than usual, kind of like how everyone on the highway slows down when they receive a pass from the cop with the radar detector. Count the blessings, and be very careful. At least for a little while.
When I tucked my own self in to bed, I lay awake worrying. This isn’t the first time I’ve pretended not to catch them. There’s the missing chocolate chips and jello mix obviously eaten by the child with the sugar addiction. There’s the crumbs left on my desk right next to my open laptop that is still warm. And what about my dead phone battery run dry by Rat on a Scooter?
I cut them a break on a regular basis, but is this the best parenting? Are they learning bad behavior is OK as long as they don’t get caught? This seems to be a universal condition. I’m just as guilty. I speed, turn illegally, park where I shouldn’t. When I do get a ticket, I hide it from my husband and appease myself by thinking I owe the state this fine since I’ve gotten away so many other times.
There is a guilty pleasure in getting away with something. We’ve all felt it. Does it make us bad? I think that twinge of guilt, that moment of heat on our neck, proves that we are decent human beings.
Calling my kids on their violation of the house TV rules tonight may have taught them something. Or it may have just reinforced that they need a better look out. I’ve resolved to bust them next time. If for no other reason than they need to be reminded that their mama always knows what they’re up to – eyes in the back of the head, as they say.
Better they learn that now, so when they are 17 and tempted to host that keg party on an evening I’m out, they’ll make the smart decision.