Rude: A Four Letter Word

I have three children and I’m painfully aware of their behavior at all times: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I have a face for every moment: a look, a sigh, an exasperation and a few exclamations.  Lately I feel like a soldier alone on the battlefield.  While I’m running for cover, intercepting my children’s barrage of ills, I see other moms and dads detached and disinterested; no beads of sweat, just a cool look of apathy.

What are these parents thinking?  Are they too tired to care, or are they just as rude as their children?  After careful observation, I think the latter.  Most parents these days feel entitled, and then pass that on to their children.  Why should little Janie conform to the rules, if mom and dad don’t?  Little Janie can run around the bookstore like an animal, because her mom lets her, showing total disregard for the people around them.

Mr. Rude by Adam Hargreaves

Mr. Rude by Adam Hargreaves

As if the public display of naughtiness is not enough, have you noticed the way these children are speaking to adults? Call me old fashioned but fresh talk, and back talk, irk the crap out of me.

When an eight year old feels free to question my authority with the tone of a ruler swinging nun, I’m speechless.  I once said to a guest, “Susie, please don’t run on the stairs”, her reply, with attitude, “Why? My mom let’s me run on the stairs at my house!”  There’s something to be said for not talking back to your elders.  It’s at that moment I’d like to respond, “I don’t give a F- what your mom lets you do, this is my house, my rules (you little shit)“, but that’s a bit harsh, so I smile, and in my best ‘Leave It To Beaver’ tone of voice, say “Well Susie, in this house we don’t run on the stairs.”  Five minutes later Susie’s running on my stairs, and I’m ready to stick my foot out, trip her and end the play date early.

Instead I take a deep breath, pray for an early parent pickup and continue to wonder:  Is it me, or are children getting ruder?

Reposted by Jean James courtesy of:  http://www.inthepowderroom.com

Will the Real Mrs. James Please Stand Up?

Anne-Taintor

Anne-Taintor

Have you ever noticed that there are women out there who were born to be grown ups.  They always seem to know what they’re doing; they know everything that’s going on in the neighborhood, or at school.  They usually volunteer for everything, like class mom, cafeteria monitor, or field trip volunteer.  Everyone knows them as Mrs. So and So.  They seem to have it all together.  Well I’m embarrassed to admit that I am not one of those women.  I’m not sure if I ever will be. But I find the older I get, the more I covet the skills required to fill those shoes.

When I was younger, my mother, and all the mothers I knew seemed to possess those skills.  It was what they did.  They got married, had kids, became moms, stayed at home, and became Mrs. So and So’s.  Their roles were so clearly defined; they didn’t think outside the box.  But then came the next generation of mom’s; the working mom, and roles changed, identities changed, and women didn’t want to wear aprons over their carefully pressed dresses, while pouring their husbands an evening cocktail.  Women wanted to be independent, liberal, divorced (if need be).  They didn’t want to Mrs. Anybody, they wanted to be Ms. Somebody, or better yet, just call me by my first name.

Somehow the formality of being a mom shifted into an unknown gear, and expectations were as out of fashion as that evening cocktail with the hubby.  When I was growing up, I didn’t think much about calling my friends moms by their last name, but when I entered my twenties, it seemed a little too formal.  What was the big deal calling someone by their first name?  And as I partied my way through my twenties and into my thirties I grew into a much more relaxed person (maybe a little too relaxed).

As my friends started to have children, I insisted they call me by my first name.  I knew when I had children I wanted to be the ‘cool mom’.  I thought I would be the kind of mom that would have lots of boys, and have all the children at my house.  I wanted to pull my kids out of school, and travel the globe with them.  I used to roll my eyes when my sister wanted her kids in bed by a certain time.  And why can’t you have ice cream for dinner?

Then I had kids…I could probably stop here, but I won’t.  I ended up having two boys, and a girl.  Let’s just say, if they could bottle the energy of boys, we would have no need for fossil fuels.  As for all those extra children in my house,  No Way!  And bedtime, well that’s just the nectar of the gods, and ice cream is for dessert, on special occasions, not including a school night.  I would still like to take my children around the globe, but only if I can be properly medicated.

As I’m learning the do’s and don’ts of motherhood, I still don’t feel like one of ‘those’ mom’s.  I hear my kids calling their friends parents by their first name, and I cringe.  I’m not the class mom, the cafeteria mom, or even the field trip mom.  I have, however, mastered: the disorganized mom, the late mom, and the non-showered look mom.  And when I forget to wear that apron, I then become the food stained mom.  When my husband gets home from work, I’m asking him to pour me that cocktail, and I’m guzzling it down while throwing together some kind of meat paste disguised as dinner.

I have these fantasies of the future where I’m in my sons school helping out and everybody knows my name, and I’m always the first to arrive.  My hair is neat, my clothes are clean, and I’m carrying freshly baked goods, that I made myself.  My children are well behaved, and their manners are impeccable.  And by 7pm, all three wee ones are soundly tucked in their beds, while I’m pouring my husband that long overdue evening cocktail, and we sit together in our his and hers chairs and discuss our day like two real adults would…

Anne Taintor

Anne Taintor

Then, off in the distance, I’m pulled from my reverie, back into reality and I  hear this loud question ringing in my head, “Will the real Mrs. James please stand up?”  I look left, I look right, then I look straight ahead.  Where is the real Mrs. James?

She’s still stuck somewhere between being almost on time, and just about out of cocktail mix.

by Jean James Reposted courtesy of   http://www.inthepowderroom.com

To Spank Or Not To Spank

Zen-and-the-Art-of-Child-Discipline

Zen-and-the-Art-of-Child-Discipline

A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics stated 3 year olds who were spanked were more likely to become bullies by the age of 5. Researches from Tulane University studied 2500 children and their mothers and determined that those children spanked frequently, were more likely to show aggressive behavior.  In lieu of spankings, researchers have determined we should be giving our children positive reinforcement and praise.

The researchers at the Yale Parenting Ccenter and Child Conduct Clinic, out of Yale University, have been studying behavioral influences on children for the past several decades.  What encourages a child to behave well vs. the motivation for malcontent?  Time honored research has determined that praise, not punishment is the key to well mannered children.

But not just any old praise will do.  When our children complete a task, or do as they‘re told, we as parents must extol them with all the pomp and circumstance of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.  When they bring home an A on their report card, heck, even a B+, we must eulogize them as if they were the second coming of Albert Einstein.

As far as going into raptures every time my kid does something he’s supposed to do, I can see the short term benefits; he feels loved and satisfied that he’s not just doing a good job, but that he’s AWESOME and doing a FABULOUS job.  He can also be secure in the fact that he’s not just smart, but his work is BRILLIANT, it shows INTELLIGENCE beyond belief.

I however, have one problem with the long term effects.  When he’s in his twenties, and has his first big job and his boss comes along and pats him on the back and says, ‘nice work son’, will he be satisfied or suicidal?  Will a smack on the ass once in awhile keep him grounded enough to handle his future or turn him into a serial killer?

Is it really smart to overstuff a child’s ego, then send him out into the real world where private cheerleaders don’t exist?

Reposted courtesy of:   http://www.inthepowderroom.com