Ok so maybe we’re not really all that cool because I just had to dig to find a 3 year old photo of us doing something other than a home improvement project but all in all I think my husband and I consider ourselves to be in the “cool parent” category. We still stay up too late, we still have parties, we still dress a little funky, still dye our hair… we’re not letting the fact that we’re in our um… mid forties make us grow all the way up just yet. I like to think we have a pretty elastic parenting style, we’re not too tight but there are boundaries. We’re usually on the same page so that’s helpful… our kids a more sassy toned than we would like, they are definitely sarcastic (which we have to let slide because we are a household fully drenched in snark and sarcasm), they are stubborn and like to beg and push more than we like but overall they’re pretty well behaved and let’s just say they have some spunk with a little attitude, so basically they do take after their parents.
So now we’ve raised these little beings and they’re growing up, they’re leaving the nest and staying away more and more hours of the day and you pretty much have to throw up your hands and hope for the best. I mean you can’t follow them around all day telling them to remember to say “Thank You” and “Please”, be nice to friends, respectful of teachers, wary of the weird guys who offer you money to look at your feet (yes this did happen to my 13yo). So you send them away and they start to come back with way more information then you wanted them to have (like explaining why some weird guy would want to look at your feet) and a huge case of the “blah blah blah’s parents let her”. I really fucking hate blah blah blah’s parents sometimes… what are they fucking thinking letting their kid watch American Horror Story, stay up until 12 on a school night, skip school because blah blah blah feels like it, eat mini brownie bites for breakfast, etc, etc. Why am I suddenly the strict parent? I’m sure blah blah blah’s parent do let her do some of these things, I’m sure some of it is pure bullshit blah blah blah tells her friends to be cool too. So here I am on a Saturday in a full day feud with the 13 year old on why she cannot watch American Horror Story…
“because it’s too sexual and has rape scenes”
“I know about sex Mom I’m not stupid”
“Obviously you’re not stupid and you know everything but you haven’t seen everything, seeing a woman performing oral sex is different then knowing about it”… (yes I actually got this far in this fight)
“I’ll just close my eyes when they’re having sex”
“No because you won’t be watching it”
“Mom, you always shut me down, what if it’s a reward for being good?”
“Starbucks money is a reward for being good, not letting you watch a show you’re not ready to watch and that shows graphic sex, that’s you getting what you want, which I’m assuming is the only answer you’re going to take or you’re going to be a shit head to me all the rest of the day”
and then it came, the phrase I had been waiting to hear…
“but you’re supposed to be the cool parents!”
It slayed me, in hindsight it was a well placed blow in her battle, my kid is a very strategic player and we have thought she should be a lawyer since she could talk because her arguments are usually so well thought out and damn she’s convincing, but damn this one was a clear punch in the face. So I did what any other parent would do after a day long stupid battle, I cried. She looked at me startled. In that moment I had to truly look at myself as a parent from her side. In the eyes of my daughter I am nothing but rules, do this, not that, do this, be nice to your sister, be a better friend, get good grades, go to bed, rule, rule, rule, follow, follow, blah, blah blah. So for her me being the cool parent is never going to happen, it’s impossible to have boundaries for a teen and be the cool parent in their eyes. My only hope is to keep true to myself and hope when she’s older and has kids of her own she realizes that because I stuck to my guns and had rules but still allowed her to be as much herself as I could, that I was a cool parent. I mean I let my kid go out of the house dressed like a hooker… because I’m not the parent who will control her style, I allow her to wear what she wants and I trust her to be where she says she’s going because so far she hasn’t blown my trust. So blah blah blah’s parents can say “I don’t care what her parents let her wear to school” and “just because her parents let their 13 year old go to a Rave doesn’t mean you get to”… so really I’m just another “she gets to” person for some other parent who wonders what the hell I’m doing and thinks I’m a bad parent.
But I have the proof that I’m doing something right because as the tears rolled down my face my daughter leaned forward gave me a long hug and said “I’m sorry Mommy I didn’t mean to make you cry.”