Mom, can you take off from work today and take me for a physical? I have soccer tryouts and I forgot I needed the paperwork. Please? All my friends are trying out, and there’s this really cute boy there…
On most any other day, that might have been possible. But this particular Monday morning was too important to miss. A mandatory staff meeting, two interviews, and a report that was to be hand -delivered to a senior VP made any variation in this day impossible. “I’m sorry, boo, but I can’t help you today. I need advance notice for something like that,” replied her mother sadly. Her daughter whined and complained and feigned a panic attack — things that usually work, but all they did this time was make her mom feel even more guilty about not being a stay at home mother. “I have a lot of responsibility and I can’t just drop everything when you make a poor schedule decision. You should have told me about this weeks ago.”
“Oh,” the daughter fired back in her pissiest voice – the one she uses when she realizes she won’t get her way – “I have a lot of responsibility too. But at least I can make time for things that are important.”
That was enough for me. No one talks to my best friend that way — not even her daughter. I put my Wicked Stepfather hat on and off I went. “How dare you talk to your mother in that tone! Let me explain how this whole situation works, because apparently you didn’t get the memo. Sit down for a second.” She pouted and refused to sit. After all, I’m only the step-parent, so she feels she can try me. “Sit your ass down,” I said loudly as I gave her a soft little push into the soft couch to make sure she knew I meant business. No, it wasn’t a hard or abusive push, you pseudo-psychologists, stay-at-home moms, and completely useless Huffington Post parent bloggers. It was a gentle push, and you know in your heart she deserved it. I then told her something like this:
Look, sweetie, I realize this may be difficult for you to comprehend, but believe it or not, there is more going on in the world than you. Your little “responsibility” in this world is important, but compared to your mother’s, your responsibility is infinitely meaningless. Let me lay it out for you, sunshine. All you have to do is go to school, study, and get good grades. And that’s pretty important. But do you see all this? Everything all around you? The clothes on your back? The hot shower you took this morning? The blades in the razor you shaved your legs with? The couch you’re sitting on? The cool air conditioning you’re enjoying? The breakfast you just ate? The car you ride in to school? Those mindless shows you watch on my television via the cable service that I pay for? That shiny new iPhone 6 that you’re not in the least thankful for? None of that happens without your mother and I. If your mom shunned her responsibility like you just did, all this goes away and you either become homeless, or go to a foster home which I guarantee will not be anything near as great as this one. Your mother does so much for you that you completely ignore. The dishes she cleans while you’re watching The Disney Channel on your iPad. The clothes she washes and folds while you’re texting your friends. The house she cleans while you’re walking around complaining that there’s nothing to eat. The dinners she makes after a difficult day at the office while you’re sitting there impatiently waiting for dinner service. And she does all that after working 55 to 60 hours a week. When’s the last time you volunteered to help with anything around here? That’s right, you haven’t. It’s been months. Don’t lie and say you have, because I’ve been watching. So the next time you demand something from your mother, you’d better rethink your strategy. As far as your physical goes, we can’t help you today. And that’s your fault, not ours. The world won’t end if you don’t play soccer. Maybe next year you’ll be responsible enough to plan ahead.
Who the hell do these kids think they are? There’s no fear allowed in parenting today. Even the most minute repercussions have been deemed socially unacceptable by today’s parenting specialists — who are apparently Arianna Huffington’s hand-picked feminists, and now the NFL. Children have been trained to call the police or social services upon the threat of any sort of discipline. Talking only goes so far in the real world. Perhaps in Huffington’s tux and taffeta world, words may have more of an impact. But here in the trenches of reality. you’ve left parents defenseless. Today’s children are dangerously narcissistic, a trait that will undoubtedly carry forward to adulthood if not restrained and corrected. I’m not sure that’s a world you will enjoy either, Ms. Huffington.