Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lots of Friends, but Only One Mother

Situation:  4 year old Gem wants to eat her breakfast in front of the TV.  My line in the sand:  we eat at the table together and have conversation.
Gem:  "Adrian gets to eat in front of the tv.  I want to too."
Me:  "Well, breakfast is on the dining room table.  If you want to eat, you need to sit here."
Gem:  "But I want to watch Dragon Tales."
Me:  "Then you're making a choice not to eat breakfast."
Gem:  "But I'm hungry!"
Me:  "Then come to the table."
Gem:  "But I want to watch Dragon Tales."

Around some more until it's time to brush teeth and go to preschool.  Kicking and screaming.  (her, not me)  I went on to teach my classes, waiting for a call from Child Welfare for starving my daughter.

Situation:  14 year old (high school freshman) Gem wants to go to Chloe's with a group of girls after school, then on to Andrew's for a party that evening.  My line in the sand:  I need to go to the party, meet the parents, and make sure it's a situation I approve of.

Gem:  "You don't trust me.  Chloe's mom will bring us and meet the parents."
Me:  "You are 14.  Papa and I are responsible for you.  Chloe's parents are responsible for Chloe."
Gem:  "How ridiculous to go home with Chloe, then to have you pick me up from there to go to the party. Why even go to Chloe's?!"
Me:  "OK, just come home after school.  All the girls can come home with you after school.  I'm happy to bring everyone to the party."
Gem:  "I am so embarrassed to tell Chloe that you don't trust her mom to see that she is supervised."
Me:  "Chloe's mom will understand that I have to see for myself.  I'm sure she feels the same way.  Do you want me to call her?"
Gem:  "Please no!  This is so embarrassing!  I'll probably just come home after exams tomorrow and skip Chloe's house and the party and LIFE IN GENERAL!  I bet you didn't have this kind of micromanagement as a teenager!  Memaw is so nice!"
Me:  "I'll tell you exactly what Memaw told me:  I am not your friend.  I'm your mother.  You'll have lots of friends throughout your life, but only one mother."

Blah blah more drama on Gem's part.  She even squeezes out a few tears.

20 minutes later, she comes back into the living room with a big smile:  "Chloe's mom says could you please bring half the girls?  It's too many for her car anyway and she wants to go in too.  She knows Andrew's parents and said Andrew's mom will probably like having more adults there anyway.  Afterward, can Chloe and Eva and Maylynn sleep over?  Can you make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and take us to the movies to see Tangled on Saturday?"

Who is this kid and what did she do with my drama queen?


  1. Salaam and peace. :-) We have non-negotiables too. No tv during dinner, all at the table. Kids really do love boundaries; it doesn't mean they won't test them however. lol

    I've had to be a little more strict than I prefer with my step-kids just to get a sense of order in the house. I look forward to being able to be a little more flexible in the future insha'Allah. :-)

  2. Umm Aami, so true. It's the universal mama experience. I just think it's hilarious how the drama switches on and off so fast.

    Keeping you and your family in my heart and prayers. It's a tough balancing act to be a stepmother, requiring all the love and patience you have.

  3. Oooh what happened! That was a total teenage switch. I love how grounded you are and it makes me feel better knowing I'm not just being mean. I hope as my kids get older, I'll be as grounded as you are.

  4. Uh, Collette, I may have exaggerated the switch a little... Of course you're not mean. Any meaner than it's your job to be. They'll thank us when they're older.


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