Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Not enough mean parents

Lord help me but I think only one of us will remain standing at the end of the teenage years. On the verge of turning 12 and already my daughter has become the archetypal teen, attitude and all. About two years ago I started noticing small signs. The occasional eye rolling and the flippant comments. But then just as quick as it came, it would disappear.

For those of you with teens, who have been teens, who know teens or even exist in this world, you know what I am talking about. The rolling of the eyes, the sassy mouth, the I-can-do-what-I-want attitude. It leaves me to wonder where I went wrong? I mean, I just knew that my sweet child would never act like those obnoxious gum smacking, eye rolling, teeny boppers. Apparently, either I was wrong, or the devil has taken possession of her body.

No really, it isn't that bad, she is mostly a good kid with a kind heart but well, let's just say today was not a good day. Haley and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to cleanliness. I am right up there with the cleanliness comes next to godliness group. She is well, right down there with the it's okay to live in a pig sty group. So there have been many, many arguments about this. I expect that she make her bed every morning before school and keep her room relatively inhabitable. At one point, I just gave up and started closing her door because I just couldn't even stand to look at it. I figured she would get tired of living that way and eventually clean it. Never happened. Her grandmother came up to visit one weekend and cleaned Haley's room for her. I thought it would embarass Haley to have her grandmother see the mess but it didn't phase her. And did she keep it clean? Nope. A couple of weeks ago, her father helped her clean the room. Did it stay clean? Nope.

So the new rule was that she would make sure her room was clean when she went to bed and then she would make her bed each morning. If she did not do these things, the next morning she would be awakened 10 minutes earlier.

Since her bed was left unmade yesterday, David woke her 10 minutes earlier than her usual. Ten minutes later, I came upstairs and she was still sitting in the bed. When she finally got up and dressed, she came in our bedroom and David asked had she made her bed. She said no and made no effort to go and do it. He asked her what she was waiting on and she rolled her eyes and mumbled something. Then she stomped into her room. I went in there a few minutes later only to find her laying on her UNMADE bed reading a book. Okay, so now is when I had to bite my tongue because what I really wanted to do was yell at her but I didn't. In a calm voice, I just merely asked her had she lost her mind? She did get up and make her bed at that point but then proceeded to tell me that if we woke her up early again she would just lay in bed until she was ready to get up. WRONG answer sweet cheeks.

So the new ploy is to make her life as miserable as she is making ours until she gets it. So the next time her bed is left unmade and she has to get up early, if she doesn't pop out of bed, on come the lights, then the loud music and if necessary cold water. She thinks we are bluffing. And if that doesn't work, we'll have to tighten that leash even further. But, as much as Haley loves her sleep, I suspect that she will come around sooner rather than later. And in the long run, the discipline she learns now will benefit her. She just doesn't realize it yet.

And on that note, I am not sure who wrote this but I love this about "Mean Moms". I only hope that my kids think I am one. That means I am doing something right.

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes. (See ?)

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too. And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.Was your Mom mean? I know mine was.

We had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have everbeen caught shoplifting, vandalizing othersproperty or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was. I think that is what's wrong with the world today. It just doesn't have enough mean moms!


Leah said...

I was just fighting with Griffin tonight about his lack of remembering DEODERANT!!! He was trying to tell me it doesn't matter if you don't put it on every day! He's becoming such a know-it-all, and I'm getting so sick of arguing with him....part of me wants him to go to school stinking to high heaven and let some other kid ask him "when's the last time you took a shower?".....but the other part of me would rather he heard that question from his nagging mother.

And by the way, he has NEVER.....EVER made his own bed. I'll be lucky if I can get him to wear a Speedstick.

Pauline said...

Teenagers are a rare bread! They make up a population all by themselves. I never had the making the bed problem, but tim's oldest son thought that sleeping fully clothed was okay ... see his reasoning he could sleep longer because he didn't have to put on clothes ....