If you are anything like me, the words “Mommy can I…” make your skin crawl. The older children get the more outrageous (and expensive) the requests. At least when they were younger, I could promise them a pet dinosaur “tomorrow” and make them forget about it with a scoop of ice cream.
Now, as a general practice, I pretty much just say “no” before my older girls get the actual request out. I just go ahead and set them up for disappointment before they get too excited. They think I’m crazy (which is by design) so they always ignore the first “no” and finish asking for whatever they want at that moment. When the answer is still a “no” I don’t say it again. I just keep doing whatever I’m doing while they say, “Can I Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”
The reality is that we absolutely hate to really tell our children they can’t do something or have something they want. That’s the hardest part about being a parent. But make no mistake about it. When my gut, common sense or experience guide me against it…I will shut it down. Every now and then they will try to plead their case to get us to reconsider. Sometimes we do if the argument is good enough. Other times, they will throw in what “everybody else’s parents” allow them to do. Um….wrong move.
The first time I heard that term from my children, I immediately responded, “I ain’t everybody’s momma and you ain’t evvvv-rybody!” As soon as it came out of my mouth, I turned around really fast and looked around the room. That wasn’t my momma, it was ME! Those were the exact words my mother used with me and by the time that chick was done with me I never said it again.
When I was young, I wanted “everybody else’s parents” to be my parents, too. I get where my children are coming from. I remember thinking my momma was evil when she would tell me no. The emotional scars “that woman” left on my little spirit were deep. They were so deep that I promised myself I would never ever ever be so mean and heartless to my own children. I mean, why was I the only one who couldn’t do certain stuff?
Okay. Well…I’m “that woman” now and I’m a kinda proud. I’m not completely heartless, though. Almost all of the time, I’m alright with discussing the question of “Why?” because it is sometimes necessary. I don’t want my girls to mindlessly follow and I do want them to understand why we make certain decisions. But I will, without hesitation, reach in my back pocket and slam that “because I said so” card on the table, throw my hands in the air, twirl and walk away. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day and what the topic is. They will definitely get the twirl if they come with that stuff about “everybody else” and their parents.
I ain’t everybody’s momma and you ain’t evvvv-rybody!”
Half of the time, I think that kids see things on television, social media, or simply from their friends that lead them to believe that they should be doing so much more than is appropriate for their age. Yes, there are some parents who have children who “freestyle” (do whatever and go wherever), but there are tons of things that “everybody” is doing that I won’t knowingly allow my children to do.
- NO! You can’t be on the phone or the interweb at all hours of the night. Everybody can brief you on what you missed during the night after you wake up in the morning.
- NO! You aren’t getting “dropped off” at the mall unless you are going shopping. You have no money so that means we have to be with you anyway. The mall is not a club, nor is it a daycare for teenagers. Everybody using the mall as a place to hang out are sitting ducks for being accused of shoplifting and other foolishness. That’s a negative.
- NO! You can’t go to the “kick back.” I don’t know what that is, for the first thing. For the second thing, if it is anything like the house parties from back in the day, you ain’t going.
- NO! You can’t spend the night! I don’t know them! Just because you see someone at school and they seem cool DOES NOT mean that I’m going to allow you to “spend the night”. If “everybody else’s parents” allow them to spend the night at someone’s house that they don’t “know” know…that works for them. FaceTime them. It will be just like you’re there. Promise. Just make sure you’re done by 10 p.m..
- NO! I’m not dropping you off at a party and driving off. We are getting out of the car together. I’m walking you in. I’m going to check out the place and introduce myself to the parents. I don’t care if “everybody else’s parents” just dropped them off and you are embarrassed that I insist on walking you in. You can go back home with me. I mean…I’m good with not having the come back and pick you up. Oh. Now my walking you in is not such a big deal, huh?
- NO! You cannot go to a party and I haven’t seen an invitation. Don’t try to make one either. I need a parent name and phone number. I WILL call.
- NO! I can’t give you a list of all the stuff you can and cannot do. Why? Because there is no way for me to predict how stupid “everybody else’s parents” will get. I’m sure it will get worse and you will keep asking in hopes that you will catch me at a weak, stupid moment.
- NO! You won’t die if you don’t do this stuff. Trust me! I had more rules than that and I lived! You will, too! One day, if I do my job right, YOU will be “that woman”.
There’s a quote a brother a church said one day and it made soooooo much sense…
All the boys want THAT GIRL to have fun and party with but no man wants THAT GIRL to be his wife. Don’t be THAT GIRL.”
There’s my trump card. We’re trying to raise wives…not girlfriends or “side pieces.”
I’m Joslyn Jackson. I have so many kids that I have to stop and take a headcount sometimes. This is my blog. That guy is my husband and he runs the circus. I am also a lawyer who loves to write about the absolute insanity that is my life. I started this blog to embarrass my children. That is my number one goal. If you are entertained in the meantime…great.
Today, my goal as a mother is to break it down. I’m not my kids’ friend; I’m their mother. I’m the only person in that world with that title. That said, I have to be willing to do for them what no one else will.
That’s it! Love, Peace and Souuuuuuuuuuullllllll!