Have ever met someone and thought man what an asshole? How did they grow up to be this arrogant, entitled jerk? Then one day I realized I was raising an army of assholes. OH man…they were needy, and expectant of me, and literally sat around doing nothing while waiting for me to entertain them. And I did for a while.
When my oldest was born, I did all the things Pinterest moms do. I held her incessantly and tried everything I could to make sure she NEVER cried. She did anyway. A lot actually. But I held her and cuddled and soothed trying to make her life so easy. I made sure she slept in my bed right next to me so that I could monitor her breathe all night long and so that she could always feel safe and loved in my arms. Then number two came and I did the same things with her. It was much harder, but I moved over and had one on each arm. And then number three. I was at their beckon call…..sandwich, milk, wipe me, change me, I need a toy, I need shoes, my rooms a mess, my toys are everywhere and I can’t find the one I adore, the dog ate my favorite blankie…etc. etc. I gave them huge birthday parties and Christmases and went all out for holidays. I was bound and determined to be the perfect mother. I’d never let them go without or feel heartache.
Fast forward to now. I’ve recently acquired a teenage son who I assume was raised the same way I raised my three. I’m alone with these children most of the time, so I carry on bending over backwards and being the taxi, maid, doctor/nurse, secretary, and whatever else they need. It became one of the biggest arguments in my marriage…you do way too much for them and you’re killing yourself was his point. He was right, but I couldn’t see anyway around it. I never wanted them to fall or want or need.
Then one day it clicked. I needed them to be at the shop for 10 minutes until their dad could come pick them up. TEN FREAKING MINUTES. We went in, I gave the spiel of mommy is working please help me and behave. As soon as I started my client they went completely apeshit. Sam and Lexi were sliding a chair and chasing it up and down the middle of the aisle, Reagan and Cody sitting on their devices completely oblivious to the chaos, and Liam….sweet little butthole Liam…crying for attention and eating things off the floor. Brett walked in to save them. When I got home I walked in the door and there they are, watching tv, playing on phones that cost me a car payment every month, the house destroyed, laundry still sitting in baskets, dog hasn’t been out since probably the morning. And it finally clicked. I shut the door, and calmly but forcefully spoke “Everything off, put your devices in a pile.” The look of terror on their faces was pretty epic. The speech carried on “By law, I’m FORCED to make sure you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food in your belly, power, water, and school. I have done all of those things since you came into my life. Everything outside of that…after school activities, trips to the ice cream shop, new toys, electronic devices…those are all what is called a privilege. There is no law that says I have to provide a single one of those things. What’s disappointing to me is you couldn’t even hold your shit together for TEN MINUTES so that I could work to make sure we afford those things. You didn’t even consider coming home and picking up the mess that YOU made or putting away the laundry that YOU wore. Not one of you deserves a single extra thing I do for you. So now you may leave all of your extra things here on the couch, put your pajamas on and go to bed. No tv, no radio, no phone, no nightlight. It is all to be shut off. And at this point you don’t even have the privilege to speak, so I better not hear a single word from any of you. Tomorrow you will come home and write an apology note to my client for being completely psycho and you will go upstairs and clean your rooms. Goodnight.”
That talk has forever altered our lives in this house. I no longer sugar coat. I no longer protect them from the bullies of the world. I no longer pretend like the ugly doesn’t exist. If I continue bending over backwards and giving them everything they ever want, how will they ever survive on their own??? No boss is going to baby them. Lenders aren’t going to give them a house just because they asked. Life doesn’t work that way. Now, if you want something, you earn it. Period. You want to go to the dance, pick a chore and earn the ticket. You want me to take you to the park, better help me knock out this laundry so we can go. No one in this house is going to be out having a great time while I’m sitting here being the maid. God didn’t make moms for that. And life doesn’t work that way. We have to teach them initiative, responsibility, and that bullies are out there so how are you going to cope??? We have to stop handing them everything on a silver platter. Let them live and teach them reality. I have no problem sitting down and showing them how our check book works. Ya know I’m sorry you wanted Jordan’s and got plain old Nikes…this is how much money I have for shoes after bills are paid. And you know what happened? He used his OWN money to pay the difference of the Jordans. And now he appreciates them and takes care of them. You want a new iPhone? Cool, your chore will be laundry…it needs to be done daily.
Every kid in this house has a chore. And nine times out of ten, I’m doing a chore with them. They’re seeing me work hard with them so we can play harder later. Sam loves soccer…ok feed the dog and play with Liam while I start dinner and then we will play soccer until dinner is done. Nothing in this world is free…..why are we teaching them that???
It’s a learning process for us, but I’m finding I don’t lose my cool nearly as often. If you can’t help me out, go sit on your bed. There’s nothing worse than having to sit on our bed. Now I have the older three helping out without being asked most days and being a mom who’s home alone with them isn’t nearly as bad. I love being their mom again because they’re not assholes nearly as often and we all get to do the crap work together. But we also get to have fun together too. Recently my children were asked where they feel most at home….they all answered “With mom because she actually does stuff with us and spends time with us.” I couldn’t do that before when I was raising spoiled, entitled, jerks that expected me to be their personal assistant all day. Give it a try…your sanity is worth it!