Tag Archives: Listen to your Mother Boston

Young Love: View From the Back Seat

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When I was in high school I remember doing whatever I could to get my boyfriend’s mother to like me.  I tried everything.  But despite my always cheerful and ever valiant attempts she always remained, I’ll say, cool towards me.  When I finally reached the brink of my adolescent insecurities I unloaded on my beau with a frustrated, what the hell?

He just shrugged.  “She likes you,” he offered lamely, “but she knows it’s not like we’re gonna get married or anything.”

Um, say what? You can imagine: at seventeen, that stung.  She knew.  Heck, deep down we both probably knew, too.  But she put it out there and there it stayed.  And I’ve never forgotten.

I can’t be certain, but maybe because of my early experience, I’ve grown into a mom lacking enthusiasm for adolescent romance.   For me, it’s always been a great source of curiosity when anyone else did.

Like my sister, for instance.  I’ve forever marveled at her unaffected exuberance of really, truly basking in teenage love.  She’d fawn over her kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends, buy them super nice presents at Christmas, happily accept their friend requests on Facebook and exude genuine excitement over anything about them.  Every high school relationship was treated as The One and it was utterly fascinating to me. Consequently (and alas, one by one), every high school break-up consumed her with incredible sadness — for a really long time.  It all seemed crazy to me.

I guess I never bought into the hype because well, adolescence is (pick one) silly, volatile, melodramatic and (most of all) fickle.  Let’s be real.  Is there a more ridiculous time in any life cycle?  When my daughter was in middle school (before it was the norm for third graders to carry cell phones) a young boy called our house and left a very detailed message on our home answering machine asking her to go on a date to the movies.  I listened to it, rolled my eyes towards the heavens, promptly deleted it and told my daughter about it – many, many years later at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Why?  Because it made for a great family laugh and — like Carrie Bradshaw being broken up via Post-it note — there are some dating behaviors that are beyond reproach.  Rest assured:  no daughter of mine was ever going to the movies with any kid without a clue.

That was all well and good (and, okay, somewhat controllable) in middle school, but it seems before I could throw in another load of laundry – and despite my inclination to ignore them — I’ve acquired a slew of significant others in my life.   And it’s become harder to remain, I’ll say, cool towards them.

My eldest son, a young adult so not-sharing of information I couldn’t tell you his favorite color, suddenly started showing up with a stunning girlfriend.  Turns out they’ve been together for months.  She is well-spoken and personable and bright and — dayum! —  pre-med.  She possesses such exceptional attributes it  is impossible not to enjoy her.  She’s a darling.  Dang.

My high school senior has been with his girlfriend for quite some time, too.  As much as I tried to remain aloof and indifferent towards them, her ability to get him to do homework and come in before his curfew has broken down my tough demeanor.  She is an absolute delight to be around and I completely adore them together so of course it worries me. Again, 17.  Double dang.

My youngest, teetering on 16, might trouble me the most.  He’s been spending his time with such a sweet and charming young lady I find myself lamenting, this – they — would be perfect …. in about ten years….

Good grief, what is happening here?  Of late I’ve been wondering which is worse:  that these kids’ impeccable choices are turning me soft, or that maybe my sister was onto something.

It’s a tough seat to sit in for sure.  And because moms were once teenagers too, we know with assured wisdom that as much as young love blossoms with ferocity, it will also (more often than not) fade with some sadness.  Being invested in our kids’ relationships carries weighty fallout when a happily ever after doesn’t happen.

My little girl, now an extraordinary and beautiful young woman, is experiencing her first real break-up and – I have to be honest – my whole family is feeling the strain of her sorrow.  (Truth:  her grace and reflection while deep within heartache far surpasses her mother’s 1980s coping method of Diet Coke and cigarettes.  Geeze.  I thank God those DNA strands didn’t swim too strongly.)

We liked him.  We Sally-Field-really-REALLY liked him.  They shared a lengthy time together and we were all a part of it in some small way.  But it just wasn’t meant to be.  So now we’re all sad.

And my heart is hurting having to watch her go through this tough time.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten him that bathrobe for Christmas.

I should’ve known better than to think my sister was smarter than me.

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

 

A Million Dollar Marriage: Apparently, Not for Everyone

moneymarriage

A little while back we had some fun with friends reading from one of those silly books about things a person would do for a million dollars.  First of all, it was eye-opening (to the point of appalling) how different the male responses were from the females.  Gain 100 pounds for a million dollars?  In a heartbeat, said the guys.  Whaaaat?  From the low-to-middle-aged (and fighting it every step of the way) group of women (all moms, I might add), a resounding:  Never.

Secondly, it was interesting how vastly conflicting my answers were from my husband’s.  “BUT IT’S A MILLION DOLLARS!” he cried, clearly seeing his dreams of a state-of-the-art-man-cave fade into dust.  “YOU COULD HIRE A TRAINER AFTERWARDS!”  I simply shook my head.  Nope; not interested.  But it continued.

Send a naked picture of yourself to everyone you know?  (Again, no shocker: most men would do this for far less money.)  Chop off a finger?  Live in a room full of mosquitoes without any repellant for 24 hours?  Never again cut your toenails?  Apparently there are few body parts my husband wouldn’t maim for the money.  I, on the other hand, held firm: nope, nope, nope.  I’m certain I saw real tears escape his eyes.

It’s not that I don’t want to bask in the decadence of buying Jimmy Choos with cash, or venturing out of Target for a new shirt, or spending carelessly, without any worries (“Come on kids, whaddya say we get you those braces AND splurge on new eyeglasses?”) but I imagine it comes down to being truly content.  I guess I am.

Sure there are things I want (shamefully, I might consider trading one of my children for an unbelievable pair of leather boots) but most of my wants aren’t very material things.  I don’t want a maid to do the laundry but – come on — who wouldn’t want someone to come in and simply put it away?  I don’t care about the newest gadgets or latest technology but I’d sure be happy with an electronic buzzer that zapped a kid’s ankle every time a towel is dropped on the floor.  I don’t even think a gourmet chef preparing my meals would be all that helpful to me – I’d be quietly thrilled if my own cooked meals were eaten without fuss or commotion.  Imagine that.

It’s a good thing my husband and I are a good match.  He keeps playing the lottery and I keep clipping coupons.  He dreams big and I find subtle elation in a great haircut or a pair of jeans feeling a wee bit looser than the previous month.  And in the spirit of a happy marriage, every once in a while we meet in the middle.  Rather, I cave just a little:  I did agree that yes, for a million dollars I would sleep in the Amityville Horror house for a week.  With wine.  But that’s it.

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

You Should Never Argue with a Crazy Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, You Ought to Know By Now…

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I had four kids in seven years and right about now’s the time when that little stroke of brilliant timing (or lack thereof) is kicking me in the ass.   My youngest is 13 (I just watched him eat twice since dinner ended.  No.  Wait.  He here comes again…) and my oldest will be 21 in a few weeks (he believes that anything in the ballpark of that number gives him the green light to crack open beers in his room. Then throw the empties under his bed.  Yeah.  I may be down to three kids soon.  I  digress…).  Throw in a 15-year-old (who spends more time grooming himself than his five family members combined) and a free-your-mind, what’s-the-big-deal, 19-year-old college sophomore (who has yet to meet a house rule that “makes sense” to her) and you can see why I’ve gotten a bit testy this summer.

 

In a nutshell, I’ve got a crew of kids coming and going at all hours, eating incessantly and displaying less-than-favorable teenage behavior, all while leaving a trail of clothes-dishes-wrappers-towels-slop in their wake.  It’s making me see a shade of red which far surpasses the sunburn on my side boob (because really, isn’t there always that one spot you miss?).

 

Eventually though, somewhere in the dog days of summer (like now), when I have tripped over my final straw of strewn sneakers, my testiness turns into rage.

 

When my good nature is taken advantage of – I won’t sugarcoat – I get pissed.  I start to reflect on the good life I provide for them.  Then I think about all the cooking and cleaning I do, as if I’m running on some sort of masochistic hamster wheel.  Then I begin to fixate on all the things they don’t do (if only that damn dog didn’t don his invisibility fur all summer maybe, just maybe they would know he’s here!).  Then, finally, when I realize my simple house rules are broken to the point of parental ridicule, well then I become incensed.

 

Psycho Mom used to make an appearance during times like these.  She’d rant and rave and carry on like a crazy woman and take away electronics and ground any kid in her peripheral and maybe in time she’d regain control for a little while longer. These tactics still work for the teens; I’ve duly hidden my boys’ X-box until their summer reading is finished and one kid’s already lost his phone for the entire summer for being a dum-dum.  But as kids become older sometimes the game rules have to change.  If you’re raising your young adults like I am (see my 5 tips from an earlier post), your kids are already making financial contributions to your household.   It’s hard to ground a kid who’s driving around in his own car that’s insured by his own dollars.  Tricky indeed.

 

So now Ball-Buster Mom pops by instead to take over the disciplinary reins.  Example:

 

My husband and I recently took our two youngest away for the weekend, leaving the two young adults at home to proceed with their employment obligations, take care of the invisible dog and well, act like responsible young adults.  Left behind with them was a litany of clear (VERY clear) instructions and expectations.

About that…

 

I won’t bore with the details (hell, I’ve already been to this rodeo and have written about it here) but let’s just say that within six seconds of entering my home upon our return, the young adults were busted.

 

Friends staying over without our knowledge, approval or consent?  Check.  Partying like it was 1999?  (Despite your insistence to the contrary, that one little bottle cap under the toaster oven screams otherwise, so…again) Check.

 

 

So the guilty were charged accordingly.  Since they both used my home like a hotel room, they were each made to ante up the cost of one: $125 a piece.

 

As a receipt for their weekend play, they were given full disclosure and sage advice:  Should it ever happen again they’d likely be charged quadruple that amount and would find themselves on the needy side of some pretty hefty finances.  Last I checked, those student loans had co-signers on them.  Just sayin’.

 

 

So Ball-Buster Mom made $250.

 

She’s probably going to put it aside and use it to get to Long Island in September when her high school reunion takes place.  Then she’ll tell everyone this story and yuk it up with all her old friends who did the exact same thing back in the day.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular, 1984” first on her list of achievements.  She takes on cyberspace @Eyerollingmom  and Eyerollingmom.

One Year

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My mom died a year ago today.

 

I’ve written – briefly — about some of that journey but have mostly focused on all the beautiful friends   that buoyed me afloat during that time.  But to write about the experience as it affected my core?  No.  To quote a colleague who went through a similar ordeal just a few years before me, “Nope, can’t even go there yet.  Cannot go there.”  I understood it completely and still do.  There are no words yet.

 

A lot can happen in a year’s time.  Hell, a lot can happen in half a year’s time, as witnessed by the soul splintering timeline of my mom’s final six months.

 

To honor this subdued – yet utterly important and significant – anniversary I can reveal what I’ve learned about calendar years.

 

In one whole year you can witness your 17-year-old son become 18 by making a conscious and physical decision to leave behind the poor choices that saddened his mother so.  You can watch him become a responsible man right before your very eyes and question why you ever doubted him.

 

In a year’s time you can watch your 16-year-old daughter become 17 by navigating relationships (relationships that seem to desperately define adolescence) with the grace and maturity of a woman far beyond her years.  You can think that she couldn’t possibly become any more beautiful with each passing month.  But you would be wrong.

 

In 365 days you would believe it is a devilish trick of the eye that has caused your 12-year-old’s shoe size to surpass that of his father as he reaches 13 years old.  To share this fact with him, you could look up to tell him, for he now leans down to kiss you.  This will make you amused.  And melancholy.

 

In a calendar year you can observe your baby – for he will always be your baby – blossom from 10-years-old into an even more likable, adored, and sought-after pain in the butt 11-year-old (have I mentioned he’s the youngest?).  You will realize that his personality is emblazoned from seeing – and hearing – more than his siblings did at this age.  For this, you will continue to shield him from their merciless taunts, so that forever they will think you are favoring him.

 

Throughout the 52 weeks you can ascertain that life most definitely is NOT fair, nor is it supposed to be.  My sister and I now shoulder the responsibility of caring for our 90-year-old step-father.  That he has survived four strokes, emphysema, open heart surgery, a pig valve AND was 20 years senior to my mom will only bolster this concept.

 

In twelve months you can gain immeasurable wisdom about what is important in life.  You can evaluate friendships with a keen eye:  assess which ones are fulfilling, which are frivolous, and which are insufficient.

 

You can – and will – enjoy simpler things, and quiet moments,

 

You can – and will – laugh (please see above mentioned reference to 90-year-old man).

 

I used to pray.  Now I just speak directly to my mom and I know she hears me.  I am convinced that last month, before my little leaguer hit his very first home run of his life, it was my incessant and silent pleas to her that helped this ball over the fence.  “Come-on-mom, come-on-mom, help-him-out-mom, come-on-mom, help-him-do-this mom …”

 

She did.  And I think she’s done a lot for us this year.  Jobs, health, happiness, you name it.  I’ve named it:  mom.

 

I miss her.

I miss just talking to her.

And she missed some pretty great things this year.

 

Of course she really didn’t miss them.  We just missed her joyful reaction to them.

 

 

So as we’ve gotten through our calendar year of firsts — her birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, her anniversary, and – the worst — her 10 grandchildren’s birthdays, when their customary $25 arrived with only one signature on the card – we’ve always toasted her.

 

And we will today, too.

 

Because no one is laughing more than her right now at the three-ring circus she’s left behind (please see above reference to 90-year-old man).  Without a doubt in my mind, she is laughing her ass off right now.

 

Love you, Mom.

 

Keeping the Peace: 5 Things Your High School Graduate Needs to Hear

Teenagers hands playing tug-of-war with used rope

 

 

Nothing screams middle age like having high school graduates for kids.  And nothing screams may-not-make-it-to-old-age like the arguments that ensue with these kids once they’ve tossed a tasseled mortarboard into the air.  If you have the pleasure of living with young adults under your roof, pour a glass and make sure there’s ink in your printer.  Remember seeing your mom’s yellowed Dear Abby column taped to the fridge?  You may want to start up that tradition.

 

If living harmoniously is your goal, then without question, these 5 things need to be said to your young adult:

 

 

You will contribute financially to this household.

You can call it rent, or room and board or even living fees.  But the truth is, something’s got to get coughed up each week and it has little to do with the obvious fact that everything increases with every warm body that is planted in a home.  Food, water, electric, cable, everything.  That’s a no-brainer.  The more important reason for pitching into the household is because you should, that’s why.   If you’re not working hard enough to fork over money each week, then you’re not working hard enough.  Period.  Throw in a few home cooked meals and access to laundry and you’d be up a creek if you had to REALLY pay for all this stuff outside of this home.  Be happy to hand over a minimal yet reasonable amount.  You don’t see it now but this absurd and unfair demand is building character and an appreciation for what things cost, of which you truly have no idea.

 

This is my house, therefore it is MY bedroom.  You get to sleep in it.

You are welcome to enjoy continued privacy in this space that is covered under my mortgage payment, so long as you respect this space.  Foul smells coming out of it render your privacy null and void.  The detection of wet towels, food items or ANY suspicion of conduct unbecoming also nullifies the terms of your privacy.

 

We are your family, not your room mates.

Picking up after yourself is a sign of respect for those who live among you.  Not doing so is a blatant sign of immaturity which indicates you simply do not understand this.  No one wants to see hairs in a sink, step on toenail clippings or find food, utensils, blood, body parts or schmegma in the bathroom.  If people can figure out what you’ve eaten for breakfast based on the remains left on the kitchen counter, you are being rude. The maid is far too busy pruning the money tree out back.  Put stuff away and get rid of your own mess. Common courtesy, that’s all.

 

Rules are in place for respect, not ridicule.

We get it.  We were there once, too.  You’re not the first kid to return from college only to shriek about all the humiliating injustices of your parents.  But if you’ve been given a curfew, it’s likely because you’ve given us reason to give one.  If you’ve been given limits on the car you’re driving, the same holds true.  The easiest fix for this is to start doing what’s requested of you, understand the importance of proving your maturity through actions over words and earn OUR respect.  Want to come and go at your own leisure? Simply buy your own car and pay your own insurance.

 

 

Being over 18 doesn’t make you a grown up. 

Please.  Stop stomping your feet, diploma in hand, and screaming that you’re an adult now.  It only makes us giggle.  The only thing you’ve accomplished to date is getting through high school.  Big whoop.  It’s the 21st century, filled with technology that practically reads the books for you.  You’re supposed to finish high school.   Whatever path you’re on right now doesn’t detract from the reality that you are presently living with your mommy and daddy and you will not – cannot – be considered a grown up under these amusing circumstances.  Until you are financially independent you are decidedly NOT a grown up.   Don’t be mad.  Don’t sulk.  And don’t ever be foolish enough to think the grass is greener elsewhere.  I defy you to find a living situation better than here (yet if you do, I will most certainly help you pack your things).     My motivation is solely love.  I am doing my part in preparing you to be a good wife, mother, or husband, a stellar employee, an upstanding citizen or an under-the-radar inmate.

You.  Are.  Welcome.

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

.

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore)   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. –

Look Away Kids, Grandma’s Naked on the Internet. On Purpose.

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I own four children between the ages of 13 and 20.  Two college age and two teenagers (good times at that supermarket checkout, eh?) so I consider myself a bit well, seasoned.  While little sends me into a complete tailspin, I have to admit, keeping up the façade of a hipster mom is tough work.  There are some things I just do not get.

 

Crazy, controversial pop stars?  I totally get them.  Hard as she tries, little Miley and her rebel tongue can’t hold a candle to my generation’s Sinead O’Connor and her moment of blasphemy … or our Michael Jackson and his evolution of weird … even the evil Madonna and her hairy armpits (and hey! those unruly pits are back – and she’s like,  60!  You go gurl!). So I get the nutty need for spotlight and notoriety.  Twerk away, you silly, silly children.

 

But what I don’t get is Chris Brown.  Specifically that he takes a stage and is greeted by tens of thousands of adoring fans and is publicly embraced by his famous colleagues. For real?  I don’t get that. At all.  Never will.

 

I get the craze of do-it-yourself projects (says the – cough – reality TV has-been) … but I don’t get Pinterest.  I see it as a junk drawer of activities and recipes that will never see the light of day, kinda like a failure cupcake frosted with optimism.

 

I get helicopter parents (because I personally know a boatload of teenagers that couldn’t place a coffee order correctly let alone apply to college without help) … but I don’t get “affluenza” as a legitimate means of defense for murder.  Popular theory says entitlement is a pretty big problem with generation x, y and zzzz-ers but – good God –if parents are raising children without any modicum of remorse or accountability, perhaps then the parents should do some time.

 

I get that the internet has become this gigantic billboard for personal achievement and in-your-face braggadocio and (shrug) I think that’s fine.  I’ve been known to post some good fortune — or better, the elusive I-don’t-look-fatin-this photo once or twice (cue in collective eyeroll from spouse).  Over the top bragging isn’t a crime  (and some days it’s downright hilarious, thanks to all the folks who haven’t yet realized their kids aren’t as cute as they imagine) so I’m a fan.

 

But.

 

And this is a might big but.

 

I do not – and can not – and will not – ever understand the act of average people using the internet to post unbelievably awful and (wait for it …) NAKED pictures of themselves.

 

Funny story about how I might know this:

 

Being of a certain age, I’ll be the first to admit social media is a herculean task.  The tweets, the shares, the posts, the blog, the tumbles, the hashtags, the pictures, the OhMyFreakingGod, staying visible and relevant on the damn inter-web is a full-time freaking job.  For a generation that wasn’t born sucking on an I-Pad, mastering all this crap is really the pits.

 

Still, I trudge on, every month or so tackling another little tidbit of cyber success.  I get myself on Twitter or set up a Tumblr account, whatever I can learn on my own (because hello, there’s only so much once can ask her kids before losing massive amounts of street cred).  So yay me.

 

But the problem is, I’ll do all this techno trailblazing and then sorta forget about it all for awhile.  So I basically have no idea what’s going on with any of this stuff.  My hipster-O-meter drops into the danger zone during these times.

 

But every now and then I’ll become inspired and will check on all my accounts.  At first I’d simply chuckle at my X-rated Twitter followers.  Why HotCumDelight would want to follow Eyerollingmom is a mystery to me, but hey, a follower’s a follower.  Why should I care?  Woo Hoo, my 49 fans just jumped to 50!  Yay me AGAIN!

 

One day (out of boredom?  curiosity?  a bathroom break?  can’t remember) I actually clicked on a follower from one of my accounts and was shocked to the point of revulsion.  Porn site, you ask?   Nope.   Worse.

 

It was a place where average women posted naked selfies of themselves.  I’m talking naked and knowing – as in smiling at the camera – in all states of lewd poses.  Women of all ages (shudder, Golden Girls included) happily allowing another person to take their nasty naked picture.  Then posting it onto the world wide web.

 

It was sickening.  I kept expecting to look over my shoulder and spy Rod Serling.

 

It scarred me so deeply I had to stay off my laptop for almost 30 minutes.

 

If seeing granny’s gems or Aunt Sylvia’s stretch marks is going to keep me hip, sorry folks, it’s back to Nerdville I go.

Ick, ick, ick.

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore)   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. –

When it Comes to this Mothering Thing, Who’s Better at it: You or Your Mom?

okay mom

I never talked back to my parents.  Yet my own kids talk back to me. A lot.

 

My children also raise their voices to me when they’re angry. Think back: would you ever?

 

Worse still, I often have to tell my spawn to do something multiple times — multiple times —because my continuous requests are repeatedly ignored.  Can you even imagine?

 

As another Mother’s Day approaches I can’t help but reflect on how remarkably different I parent than my mother did.  When I dig deep I have to admit:  there are times I feel completely overrun by the people in my home that are less than half my age.  I don’t think my own mother ever felt that way one day of her life.  In fact, she wouldn’t put up with one minute of what I tolerate from my children.

 

Does that make me a worse mom than her?

 

In all fairness I should throw it out there that my kids are not rotten.  Not in the least.  And never have been.  They were never the tantrum-throwing toddlers in the restaurant, or the give-a-pinch-when-a-grown-up’s-not-looking schoolyard brat or the current topic of conversation in the teachers’ lunchroom (didn’t know about that? oops, spillin’ secrets here).  They happen to be the epitome of respectful individuals when out in the real world and are quite well liked.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest I’d have to say they are, in fact, fairly boast-worthy children.

 

So why do they shit on me?

 

Usually after a particularly bad display of disrespect from one (or two, or three, or all four) of our kids, my husband and I will have conversations about this, scratching our heads (okay, maybe while downing beers).  We question how in the world we got to be parents of children who easily display behavior that would’ve resulted in a swift backhand from any – and all – of our own parents.

 

We think back and remember the fear in our homes and the physical repercussions of any type of conduct unbecoming.  It certainly wasn’t unusual back then.  Actually, it was very, very typical.  We all did what we were told – the first time – because it far surpassed the alternative of NOT doing so.

 

But there is no fear in my own home today.  There is no apprehension for questioning or stating opinion or disagreeing.  It gets loud, sure, and at times inappropriate, but no one’s ever hesitant about speaking up.

 

There are other blatant differences in my home now that speak volumes to how very different my parenting style is from my mom’s.

 

For instance, my kids talk to me way more than I ever talked to my mother at their ages – about cringe-worthy topics that would zap the frost straight out of my mom’s bouffant.  Eighth grade girls doing decidedly un-eighth grade things in the way back of a bus on a school trip?  Sixth grade classmates experimenting with drugs?  You name it.  Details are anted up without pause, over nightly bowls of pasta or during car rides to practice.  Like, nothing.  No big deal.

 

Also, my kids tell me they love me – all the time and for no particular reason.  My first distinct memory of saying “I love you”— out loud — to my mom was from a payphone in the middle of a dormitory hallway during my freshman year in college.  As I am forced to go through my third Mother’s Day without her, my heart still gets heavy when I think of this and my regret pains me.  It was way, way too late in life to have started that.

 

No doubt about it, my kids are being raised in a different world entirely.  My mother didn’t socialize with my friends’ parents. I would venture she didn’t know most of their names at all.  She didn’t come to many school events and never checked to see if I was doing homework.

 

If I had to make a list, I’m pretty sure I’m involved in a gazillion more things with my four than my mom ever was for me.

 

Yet the loves of my loins – all of them – have moments of intolerable selfishness, insufferable self-absorption, whininess, rudeness and petulance.  And – why hold back now — they occasionally swear.

 

So I do wonder:  Who’s done a better job at this mothering thing, me or mine?

 

What do you think?

 

With all her failings, my mother’s love for me was ferocious and I knew that every day of my life.  She raised kind, smart and capable children.

 

With my own failings, my love for my children is ferocious and they, too, know it every day of their lives..  I am raising kind, smart and capable children.

 

I’d say we both win this one.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us – the successful ones, the failing ones and the holding-on-for-dear-life ones.   We got this.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” She takes on the cyberspace @Eyerollingmom  and Eyerollingmom.