Today, it happened. My own words from years ago were said to me: "When I'm a Mom, I'm going to let my kids..." This isn't the first time I have had flashbacks from my childhood, or more accurately, my teen years. But my daughter's only nine! Her words had me thinking, "Was I being unreasonable? Should I change my mind? And who is this little person standing in front of me with her hands on her hips looking just as I had many times before when standing in front of my mother?"
This eye-opening experience made me smile but also made me think of some of those "unreasonable" rules that I had as a child. I was the oldest of 8 with my youngest sibling being 16 years younger than me so, yes, for a little while, we all lived at home. Because there were so many of us, we got to split the chores. These chores included dusting, setting the table for dinner, clearing the table after dinner and washing dishes. And when the chores were divided, I had to either set, clear or wash probably 2-3 times a week, and the dusting meant that I had to dust 3 items each Saturday. The other chores we had were to vacuum our room once a week and to put away our clothes after they were washed, dried and folded for us. I know, how unreasonable!
Another "unreasonable" rule came when we started working. We had to put half of our paycheck into our savings account at the bank each week. This still left us plenty of spending money for the week, mind you, but when you're a teenager, every dollar should be spent every week, and it should be your choice on how it is spent. I know this last part to be true because it has been brought to my attention by another of my children.
And can you believe that every Sunday, following a wonderful Sunday mid-day feast, we all had to go take a nap, and if we couldn't sleep, we had to at least lie down and rest for an hour and a half. The nerve of them, right?!?
Finally, let's face it, when you are a pre-teen or a teen (or nine years old), friends are very important. Growing up, we were allowed to do something with a friend once a week and to have a sleepover (either at our house or the friend's) once a month. I am sure this had something to do with the fact that there were 8 of us, and it could get quite chaotic if we all chose to do something on the same day, or have a friend sleep over on the same night, but this rule did seem to be socially impairing at the time.
I can remember saying many times, whether aloud, or as I stormed to my room to blast my Guns 'n Roses cassette, which meant I was really mad, "When I'm a Mom, I'm not going to..." or "When I'm a Mom, I'm going to let my kids..." Well, today that was said to me as my daughter went to her 2nd sleepover OF THE WEEKEND, and promised me that she wouldn't come home with an attitude from too little sleep and that I should let her go because she promised her friend she would, and I tried to remember how I felt as I sat in my room with a puss on my face, with "Welcome to the Jungle" blaring from the speakers, and I let her go.
And while I'm thinking on the rules of my own youth, I'd like to bring back Sunday naps, I'd like to be able to put only half of my paycheck into the bank each week, I'd like to see my friends weekly, and do a monthly sleepover just to laugh and catch up, I'd love to only have to dust 3 things, and I'd also love to have my once every 8 weeks Saturday AM breakfast with my dad, just me and him, catching up on life.