This may be the single most common question I have asked since becoming a mother. This one, and “Do you have any dirty laundry?” But, the “How will I know when she’s ready?” questions start earlier and become more complex as the stakes go up, especially with the first-born. For example:
- How will I know when she’s ready to stop nursing?
- How will I know when she’s ready to stop napping?
- How will I know when she’s ready for a sleep-over?
- How will I know when she’s ready to shave her legs–use make-up–have a FB account–go on a date–go to Mongolia–etc. (How did all of those come so closely together?!)
- How will I know when she’s ready to leave the nest?
This morning, as I prepared to take my younger daughter to her enrichment program, her older sister, who attends a different program on Fridays, posted this status on her Facebook page:
A is about to go to school and mom has lunch at 11! I can’t wait for a little time alone!
It’s a benign status; a simple statement of fact expressed by my darling 17-year-old looking forward to some solitude. It led to a very snarky debate that played out in public, all while sitting less than 7 feet apart. I share:
Me: Ohhhhh, really? 🙂 I do what I can to be a good mom.
C: Most of the time.
C: That’s the best you can do?
Me: Oh, and no more stew until you say, “I’m the best mom–ever!!”
C: Well that is proof that you are not the best mom ever mommy dearest.
Me: OK, that’s it…NO MORE LOGIC CLASS FOR YOU!
Me: Trump–I won–you laughed. Out loud!
C: It does not work that way seeing as how I was laughing at your incompetence.
Me: Brought ya’ into this world… Oh, and I still control your transcripts. A mama’s gotta find power where she can.
C: This is blackmail and proof that you have no logical comeback.
Me: If it comes from mama’s mouth, it doesn’t have to be logical. ‘Cuz I said so! I’ll remind you when you become a mama….just wait!
C: I do not think your father would approve of that argument any more than I do.
C: And he was the lawer so you know that it is inapplicable to this debate.
Me: Bringing Grandpa into this–low! And he wasn’t a lawer–he was a lawYer– and a psychologist who clearly left me unprepared to deal with “teen logic!”
Me: And since A needs to get to school, you can Google MY spelling all you want!
Me: Oh, and SNAP!!
C: If you are incapable of this degree of logic then you should not be debating with those younger than your age. And you may not blame others for your problems. You have had 17 years to learn how to debate with me and 4 to learn how to debate “teen logic”. The fact that you can not is proof that you have lost your ability to adapt.
Me: I’m licking my wounds…I’ll get back to you…with a consequence of some sort…because that’s all I’ve got.
C: You can not punish me for making a good argument in a debate as long as I have a valid point.
Me: Ya, I can, ‘cuz I’m the mom, the mom, the mom…Ta da!
C: If you intend to use quotes please site the original author as to avoid plagiarism.
Me: I’m sure Anita Renfroe would understand. She’s a mom!
Now one thing you need to know about me is that in all my years as a mother, I have rarely used the “Because I said so” card. It’s not that I’m Super-mom. (Far from!) It’s something I picked up when I was a nanny; explain your decison once (maybe twice, rarely more than three times) and move on. Prior to the teen years, discussions rarely went beyond three retorts when I had made an “executive decision.”
Enter the teen years. After only 4 years in this arena, I’ve been reduced to “‘cuz I said so” and “‘cuz I’m the mom.” And, both came in the same morning. She had outplayed me. Placed in check-mate by my little grasshopper, even after 2 cups of coffee. In public. On Facebook. I could have claimed I was distracted. (I had been checking blog stats, and email, and maybe blog stats, again.) I could have crafted a rebuttal post. I could have challenged her to a verbal duel. But, that wouldn’t change the fact my final argument was, “‘cuz I’m the mom.”
Just as she always has, she gave me the answer to the “How will I know…”question that’s been gnawing at my heart this year. Through a fun snarky debate, she showed me she is ready–or at least getting ready– to leave the nest. “She’ll be OK,” I thought, “She knows how to think.”
Followed by my mature, “But, I’m still the mom!” I chuckled as I walked away, because laughter is what keeps this mama’s head from exploding.
What made you laugh today, or at least kept your head from exploding?