Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Good Cop, Bad Cop

If you've ever read one of those pieces, praising the work of mothers, they tend to include a list of unpaid professions. Cook, maid, chauffeur, secretary, therapist, nurse, etc.

But there's one profession they leave out: Law Enforcement Officer.

And trust me, I am a cop, too. I'm not only the one who catches people committing crimes and takes them into custody, sometimes I'm the detective who has to figure out who has done what.

I'm also have to teach my kids that crime doesn't pay.

Take for example, our pantry. I bought a bag of cereal on Friday. Over the weekend, they don't eat cereal for breakfast. So, Monday morning, the bag shouldn't have been opened. But it was. Not only was it opened, it was empty. Gone. An entire bag of cereal.

How's a mom to figure out who has committed this theft? There are lots of ways, but the easiest is often to press on the weak one in the gang. The one who can't lie. The one who will point the finger at his or her co-conspirators.

There is always one.

Bridget got caught eating something she shouldn't have been, and when I called her out on it, she tried to deny it.

"Bridget!" I explained, "You are one of seven children. There will always be someone who rats you out. There will always be someone to tell me when you've done something! Anything at all!"

I have also learned that my children should never go into a life of crime. They can't keep secrets, and they'll totally roll over on each other to save their own skin.

I sometimes find myself playing both good cop and bad cop, trying to put the fear of Mom in one, while promising another a reduced sentence if he or she will just 'fess up.

Of course, my ultimate goal is often learning, as sometimes they're doing something wrong because they don't understand. And I can't educate and explain until I know who did something and why.

But sometimes they're just doing something they think they can get away with. And, no, there will be no getting away with things around here.

I'm a really good detective. At least with people whose internet and privileges I control and who leave a crapload of clues at every crime scene. CSI it isn't. But it is a necessary part of this whole Mom job.

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