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Monday, October 28, 2013

When Did I Become...My Parents?

As far as my son’s generation goes, I’m a fairly young mother. Whenever I go to his PTA or other school meetings, I always appear to be a decade younger than the parents of his peers. Perhaps it’s just my DNA and supple skin that makes me look younger, but I suspect it’s because I simply *am* younger. He was born when I was 24, and while my mother was 20 years older than me, a lot has happened since my generation was born. For one, more career-oriented women in the workforce meant more couples began having children at an older age, and so the truth is – I really am about a decade younger than most of the other parents.

Foolishly, I thought that would make me the “cool” mom. I mean, I’m closer in age to these kids than any of the other parents, right? Honestly though, I was never “cool” even when I was their age. I never partied. I never got into trouble. I was the sports editor for the yearbook, always writing something. No one was ever mean to me – EVERYONE wants to be in the yearbook, right? – but I wasn’t part of the “cool” crowd. I wasn’t a geek or someone with no friends either. I was just somewhere in the middle, with most everyone else. There is nothing in my DNA that should have ever led me to believe I could ever be a “cool” parent.

Not my real son. He would kill me if I posted a picture of
him getting yelled at. 
My son has been spoiled his whole life, don’t get me wrong. (If “cool” parent is somehow equivalent to a parent who spoils.) He’s visited more countries than most Americans will ever see in their lives, and he’s not yet old enough to drive a car. Having been raised in a family that had very little money when I grew up, I wanted my son to have things and see things that I never would have dreamt was possible at his age. I love him and wanted to give him what I never had. But something I *did* have which seems to be lacking in him is drive and motivation. Is it my son, his gender or is it this generation?

Looking over a study-guide for his test the other day, I was floored that he wasn’t nearly as prepared as I would have been at his age. His response, “It’ll be multiple choice, so I can figure it out.” I thought my head was going to seriously explode. Then I did what I’ve rarely done. I yelled, “We can’t go through life hoping for multiple choice questions. We have to just #*@$ing know the answers!” (That’s not to say he hasn’t been reprimanded his whole life, but I’m usually very calm and explain things matter-of-factly. My blood pressure doesn’t usually rise during one of these discussions like it did that day when I actually yelled. I’m not usually a yeller, you see.)

The scariest thing for me was, I could hear those same words coming out of my parents’ mouths. (Not that I ever gave them reason to yell that particular thing…Again, I was always more prepared for tests than that.) But I may have heard something similar said to one of my brothers at one point. And while I might not be a "cool" parent, I always suspected I was "cooler" than them.

More oldies but goodies that might soon make a comeback in my household…
“As long as you’re under my roof, you’ll follow my rules.”
“If your friends were all jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?”
“When you’re an adult, you can make that decision for yourself.”
"Are your ears painted on?"
And...
“I’m not asking, I’m telling.”

All of this got me wondering, when did I become my parents? Was I always like them and just blissfully delusional to the fact until now? Or did it just happen upon me, like catching the flu or something? If the latter is true, will I go back to myself anytime soon? In short, once you've become your parents, is there a way back to yourself? Or am I lost forever?

I know I'm not the only one to experience this. It's been said time and time again by others. I just never expected it to happen to me!

So now it's your turn.  'Fess up... Is there something your parents said when you were younger, something you vowed NEVER to say, but discovered it flew out of your mouth when you were an adult anyway?

17 comments:

  1. Wow. I am so there with you on the unmotivated son. The other day I had to drive through the community college, and I thought how lucky we would be if our son even went to school there. He says he wants to go to college and he's a smart kid, but he just doesn't get that his grades will matter. He obviously isn't getting it that he can't maintain 2 Fs in core classes and graduate from HS. It truly is from lack of motivation, too. He can whip out his late homework assignments in no time if he thinks it will earn him time on his XBox. I guess if he can't pull it together, he can go to summer school. I'm sure that won't be fun for him, so maybe he will get his act together next year. And if he has to work for a year or two before he goes to college, so be it. But he won't be staying home playing video games, that's for sure. ;)

    In our area, I'm older than most of the moms, which my daughter loves to point out. But then she adds that I look better than the other moms and I'm more fun. She so knows how to stroke my ego. LOL

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    1. Yeah, I'm not the fun mom. I not a mean mom, I'm just not terribly fun. I think he thinks I'm a boring mom. But he has told me I'm nicer than the other moms. ;)

      BTW - I think our sons could have been separated at birth.

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  2. Though my mom is DEFINITELY the one to watch out for, my father has the louder mouth (no comments, please. I KNOW who I take after). Anyway, his favorite phrase to my brothers was, "Use your head for something besides a hat rack." Yeah. Don't ask. I was the goody two shoes kid as well (aside from my mouth--I've always had that vice), so I never really got those interesting motivational speeches. But I swore I would never speak to my children in such a manner. But sometimes, in order to keep that promise, I have to mentally and physically remove myself from a situation before the mouth gets started because words are weapons and I do not want to scar my kids. I hate that my best control is to leave the room rather than keep a lid on my temper. Ugh!

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    1. LOL about your father. But why is your mom the one to watch out for? What does she do?

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    2. He spouts off at the mouth all the time but really, he's a softie. My mama is like a like a snake--stealth and death in one silent body. You don't know you're dead until you are. ;)

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    3. Good to know. Warn me before she comes to town next time. ;)

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  3. Stop whining or I'll give you something to whine about. Ugh. That one came out of my mouth. A moment of total frustration.

    Gives me the shivers...

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    1. LMAO, Deb. That is a classic. I totally get why it gave you shivers, though. :)

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  4. As the mother of four boys, I thoroughly enjoyed this post and I too have fallen into the I've-become-my-mother thing. My favorite is..."The world doesn't revolve around you."

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    1. LOL I say something similar. "Everything isn't about you." I'm sure I heard that a time or two growing up. :D

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    2. Oh! Sara, I have said that!! :)

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    3. That's one I don't shiver about saying! Why do boys naturally think everything is all about them?

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  5. My mother was the most calm and mild-mannered lady ever and the worst thing she ever said was, “I hope you have ten kids just like you and don’t call me to babysit!” Of course, I knew she was kidding, but it would shock me to think I was being THAT naughty! ;-)

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  6. My current horror words from my parents is the dreaded answer to why? "Because I said so and I'm the parent." Yeah, telling me No right now when I'm sick and doing housework that the kids could help with instead of playing games is the surest way to get my blood pressure up.

    Lack of motivation worries me for my oldest. He's smart and could do loads more with his life if he'd only apply himself. Then I worry I'm pushing too hard....then maybe I'm not pushing hard enough. And OMG why do boys have to be so difficult to understand?

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    1. And then the become MEN - Beth - not any easier to understand. ;)

      Good luck!

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