There are tons of little tips for this motherhood thing that you can only pick up and add to your bag of tricks from experience. My latest one is a gift from Ma Bell herself: my daughter, even in all of her stealthy teen know-it-all-ness, has the volume on the cordless phone cranked up so high, I can hear every word the person on the other line is saying.
Of course, I play like I’m completely oblivious as I walk to and fro in my mom duties — cooking dinner, putting away groceries, plucking hair balls off the carpet — but if I think something’s a-brewing, I’ve got one ear to the phone, just like she does.
So I had to chuckle to myself the other day when the friend she was talking to suggested Girl Child, who was going to be staying home by herself the following evening, have a few people over in my absence.
“Your mom won’t know. We’ll be gone way before she gets home,” Heathen Pal coaxed.
Now it should be duly noted here that I don’t like this girl, and I’ve told my kid as much. I welcome all of her friends with open arms — I chauffeur them to the mall, cook extra food for dinner, and host their impromptu sleepovers, especially because my daughter is an only child and I know firsthand how lonely that can be. So friends are a staple in our house.
But this chick is too fast and too grown. Plus she’s always hugging on me in these big, elaborate shows of super fake affection, which, combined with my intuition, make me think she’s trying to convince me that’s she’s really just a wholesome, sweet-tempered gal. Hmph. I’m onto her like a pack of drug dogs.
So it didn’t surprise me that she would be at the root of a plot to lead Teen Girl down the low road. Thankfully, my kid didn’t budge. “Ohhh no,” said Smart Skylar, trying to whisper. “My mom would kill me.”
Darn straight. I slapped her a mental high-five for knowing better and gave myself a little one too for being that mom.
There are some parents whose kids automatically know they can run all over them. I don’t fault them for their personalities. There may have been an incident or a reason behind their softiness that’s perfectly justifiable and understandable. Maybe they were mistreated themselves as children and vowed to be easier on their own, or maybe their kids have endured some pretty big hardships already and their moms and dads are determined not to make their young lives any harder than they have to be, or maybe they just don’t feel right disciplining their kids.
Not I, said the big brown woman. In fact, I think it’s worked in my favor that my daughter thinks I’m a little crazy.
I’m not talking hatchet-job, headline-making crazy. Just capable of doing the unexpected, the off-the-wall, and — most horrifying to a kid just entering their ohmygosh teen years — the totally embarrassing. Because she knows I’m liable to haul off and do just about anything, she’ll at least stop and think before she gets involved in a plan that could very well end up in a lecture, a socially crippling punishment, or worse, a combination of the two.
Last year, por ejemplo, she seemed to be under the impression that school was one big ol’ extended social hour, that I was paying good money in tuition for her to go flit around her classes and talk to her friends and maybe, if she had time, fit a little homework into her schedule after she got done working the room.
I remedied that by packing up my laptop, making myself a little lunch, and sitting in the desk right next to her in school. All day. I even passed her a note and gave her a little wave to show my enthusiasm about being there. She was mortified.
“Your mom is crazy,” I heard one kid tell her on their way out to gym.
“Yeah, I know,” she sighed, doing her best Eeyore impression.
I haven’t had a problem like that out of her since.
Crazy is underrated and grossly misconstrued. Every once in a while, I think it’s perfectly healthy to shock the crap out of your kids and show them that you still have a few tricks left in your bag that they haven’t seen yet. It keeps them on their toes and shows them that, no matter how much they sit and plot and plan and whisper and connive, they’ll never be smarter than their parents.
Have you shocked your kids recently?
Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr