Monday, August 29, 2016

Confessions of a Slacker Mom

It's weird when your kids get older and you start to have more time to yourself and develop friendships that aren't based around toddler play dates.  Which is why it was so weird when I was asked a question by someone who only knows me as an individual, not a mother, if I was a helicopter mom.   And I had to laugh.  Because really?   I'm the ultimate slacker mom.

I don't coddle my kids.  

I've always thought of my job as their mother to be teaching them how to be independent, self-supporting free thinkers.  And now that they're teenagers, I do see a flaw in this plan.  I never thought they'd consciously choose to listen to country music.  But sometimes they do.  How could this happen?  I guess it just proves they're more open minded than me.  So, I'm going to put this in the win column, even though I completely disagree with the validity of the entire genre.  Except for Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.

I'll confess right now that I don't know who my kids' teachers are.  (I did know when they were in elementary school, but now they each have at least 6 teachers, x 4 kids, so I gave up.)   I also don't routinely check my kids grades and missing school assignments on-line.  And I don't drive them to or pick them up from school.  So, you'd better make it to the bus stop on time.  And if you walk to school, look up the weather in the morning and dress for it, packing an umbrella, snow boots or a jacket.

I haven't been shopping for and arranging college visits for my high school senior.  In fact, I haven't done anything.  His plan is to live at home and go to community college and figure out what he wants to do before transferring to a four year college.  Which feels like winning the lottery in so many ways.  Although, I do understand his plan is subject to change at any time.  My junior in high school doesn't even want to go to college.  Which I've come to accept, however, taking the SAT and the ACT is still mandatory.  Because, again, I do understand his plan is also subject to change at any time.

I won't buy my kids a cell phone until high school and it will be an inexpensive one thus, diminishing their social status.  If they want a flashier phone, they'll have to buy it with their own money.  Same with a car.  Licensed drivers can share the use of my car for absolutely free, the only cost is the inconvenience and of course the shame, humiliation and embarrassment of driving a minivan.  But, if they want their own, they'll need to buy it and pay for the gas.  While payment plans are available, you better keep up payments because the repo man doesn't mess around.

To afford a car they'll need a job.  Working a moderate amount of hours so that the job doesn't interfere with getting school work done, of course.  Because if their grades fall, they'll be on restriction.  Which means I confiscate their fancy, expensive phone and they live like a pauper without a car.  But they won't need the phone or the car because they'll have to quit their job and their social life will be nonexistent.  So it all works out.

I know what you're thinking, wow, you're a bitch.  But after that, you're thinking what about sports?  Sports are highly encouraged around here.  However, club sports that would require a huge commitment of time and gas money to schlepp our Olympic hopefuls all over Colorado are highly discouraged.  My motto:  Think globally, act (by playing sports) locally.  The kids can earn double fitness points if my kids can ride their bikes to and from practice.  But, it doesn't earn them a trophy or a monetary reward.  Just a good feeling in their hearts knowing they're reducing their risk of heart disease and not polluting the earth.

Don't even get me started on food.  I make one homemade, healthy dinner per day, and I don't allow for substitutions.  My kids know they always have the choice not to eat.  (I think one of my kids made this choice one dinner several years ago, but I can't say I really remember.)   And I don't make them breakfast.  And I haven't packed a school lunch in years.  Those are on them to make and clean up afterwards.

For all these rules and expectations, my kids get a free place to call home with a room that they don't have to keep clean.  Because some battles just aren't worth fighting.  However, good personal hygiene and brushing their teeth has always been mandatory.  Because,  I do have some standards.  And even with all these conditions, my kids always get the unconditional love of a bona fide slacker mom.


Joy Page Manuel said...

Sounds like good parenting to me! :-)

Sine said...

Love this! I'm not as good as you in the car department as our kids have a car of their own to share, but that doesn't keep them from being ashamed of it, as it is an electric car and totally uncool, perhaps even more so than a minivan. You should hear my 18 year old's complaints about all his friends with Jeeps and BMWs.
Have you seen "Bad Moms"? Sort of in the same vein:)

Sine said...

You know, I just read a thoughtful article by David Brooks about why today's kids are so fragile, not only because they are over-helicoptered but also because they are perhaps lacking real passion and purpose in life. I wonder if it's all connected. Maybe you have more time to think about passions while you are pedaling furiously to your sports practice and cursing your mom for not driving you like all the other kids. At the least it may give you the passion to get away from that house as fast as possible and stand on your own two feet!


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