Popularity. Teens want it – bad. But guess what? So do I.
It sounds juvenile I know, but my house ain’t so different from high school. The truth is, having my kids’ love is not enough. I want them to like me, too. I want to pass them in the halls of our home and get the modern day equivalent of the high-five, whether that’s a fist pump, a smile, or even just a nod.
Who doesn’t love being the Good Guy? Say Yes, get Hugs, get Laughs, and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, get Confided In. But there’s a sad truth about that Good Guy feeling: it’s fleeting. It’s forgotten by tomorrow when the 16-year-old gets a Nope to borrowing the car. Or Miss13 gets a Not Happening to the unsupervised jam that all her friends are toting vodka-filled water bottles to on Saturday night.
Being the Bad Guy sucks. That’s when you can get slammed with hurtful words, like You’re like a cop! Or the dreaded I hate you mumble. The worst part is that when you say No, the stigma sticks. You’re the Bad Guy for a good, long time.
I consider myself a pretty cool mom. My kids can have friends over till all hours. For the most part, I trust their judgment and respect their right to privacy. No one hates dousing their Facebook flames, cramping their styles or hurting their feelings more than I do. I’m not going to lie: It’s tough telling my teens No.
But there are limits in life, and just as I don’t get to fly down a street at 220 miles per hour swigging bubbly from the bottle, my teens can’t go to unsupervised house parties. Because that environment is not safe.
What really gets me, though, is not how hard it is for me to say No but the fact that other parents seem to find it impossible. Which makes my job harder. Because if everyone else avoids the door-slamming reaction by saying Go have fun, just don’t get alcohol poisoning at that house party with no parents around, then I’m not just the Bad Guy when I say Are you freaking kidding me, kid? Now I’m the Bitch.
But I’ll take it. Just like when my toddlers reached for the stove and I said, No! Danger! I still have their best interests at heart. I’m sorry that everyone else will be there, living on the edge. And I do realize that my popularity is at stake but I refuse to give in just to be liked.
Still, my mom judgment is out in full force when other parents’ actions make me look downright evil. I just can’t help but shake my head at those who give the green light because, well, ‘it’s better than them hanging out in a park.’ Really? Is it?
When it comes to parenting, there are Good Guys and Bad Guys and call me Bitch all you want, but sometimes I’m just not sure which is worse.