Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mean Mom

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a if not, the, "mean mom."

We live in an awesome neighborhood--and when I say awesome...I mean everyone knows everyone, and everyone is friends with everyone.  It goes way beyond, borrowing a cup of sugar.  And, it is not uncommon to be at the neighbors house or gathering for neighborhood get-togethers every weekend.  We love it, and are lucky to have found such a great group of people to literally, surround ourselves with.

We have neighbors who love to visit with us as well as our children--and a nice mix of children in the neighborhood to keep our 2 kiddos in play-time heaven.   It is when they are playing with the other neighborhood kids, I have realized that I can come across like...oh, I don't know...my own mother?  My kids don't get to run to their hearts content all thru the neighborhood, they have to ask before they do anything, stay out of the street, ALWAYS use manners--you know...Be Perfect ;).

Physical limits of distance were easy to explain to the kids, although not always fun to enforce.  For example,  Jaxen went chasing his 2 little buddies down thru the backyards, I warned him to stop at his, "border."  He stopped, and looked at me, and then looked at his friends, still running ahead--and then hung his head and started to head towards me.  He was heart-broken to say the least.  You could see it written all over his cute little face--and I am pretty sure he was thinking--"oh, man-I never get to do anything!"  Afterall, that's what I would have said when I was age.  However, he didn't throw a fit, and he listened and came back immediately.  I may have been the mean mom--but, I was proud of my son, and I was keeping him safe.

My daughter knows her distance limits as well but, time limits were a little harder to explain. I know my parents, used to say--play til it gets dark, but it gets dark too late around here, and darkness is relative.  So, I had to think of something else. .  It seemed natural to me, that when she went to a neighbors house to play--that I set a time limit, or else she would be there ALL day!!  However, since she is only 4, and we are still working on telling time, it made sense to send her with a kitchen timer.  I would set it for 33 minutes-- 3 minutes for travel time, and 30 minutes to visit/play at a neighbors house.

The first time we tried this out--she went back out, with her timer in hand--looking for her friends.  But, they had moved locations--so, she frantically started searching for them, asking anyone she ran into--if they had seen them.  All the while, her time was ticking away and she was getting more and more frantic.  No one seemed to know where they went--but everyone took note of the mean mom's timer ;).  Time did run out, and we never found the other girls....so, Alexis didn't have a good first experience with the timer-but, I liked it.  And, the neighbors got a good laugh!

So, the next time, I watched as she went, with timer in hand to 2 houses over.  She and her brother had 30 minutes, to play at their house.  Just like clockwork, when that timer went off, the both started to head home -
The timer was a SUCCESS.

Now, I have been teased a little about the timer- and I have noticed that I seem to be the only one sometimes that makes her kids follow rules,  sit down to dinner, and so on.  I know this is not really true, but it does feel lonely sometimes to be the, "mean mom."  I have had to field a few questions of, "why can't we do this if they do this?  but, so and so is allowed to..."  But, they aren't anything I can't handle.  I just hope the questions don't get too much harder--because I don't know how long this, "mean-mom" attitude can last-- I guess when it starts to break, I can always say...


Thanks to my parents for not letting me do EVERYTHING I wanted, even though my friends did...thanks for being tough, when you had to- to keep me safe, and make me the SWEET GIRL I was, and the MEAN MOM, I am today.   I love you.

Boundaries and Limits = Love and Safety


Monika said...

Good for you Sarah -- your children will thank you one day for it as well.
I very much enjoy reading your posts, and I especially love the story about Alexis using the timer for the first time :)

S-MOM said...

Thank you Monika for taking the time to sit down and read about our little family. It is nice to be able to share a little glimpse into our world, for those loved ones who are too far away to share in person. :)