A child adores their mommy without abandon…
….when they’re young.
They think she’s smart.
They think she’s beautiful.
She’s their bestest fwend.
They write love letters, give too-tight hugs and slobbery kisses, and pour out their adoration on the “best mommy in the whole world.”
Then the bubble bursts. The child realizes their little world is only a subset of the bigger universe. And they don’t always like how their mom fits into their newly discovered world. They measure their mommy’s intelligence against the new knowledge imparted to them, and she falls short. They compare their mommy’s beauty and fashion to the world around them, and she falls short. They wonder how in the world they got stuck with such an uncool mommy.
It happens at all different stages of life, tween and teen, and to varying degrees, but it eventually happens.
We become an embarrassment to our children.
Like the first robin indicates spring, a newly-mortified child will first try to walk a little ahead of or a little behind a parental unit. Then, they stop answering in complete, articulate sentences, ya’ know the kind our gifted kids used from about three to ten. But, at ten they’re excitedly launched into the years of double-digits and realize they’re almost a teenager, so celebrate by reverting to toddlerese, using monosyllabic grunts and nods as a form of communication.
Eye-rolling, heaving sighs, raised eyebrows, hoodie pulled over face are other incriminating signs that you have definitely crossed an invisible boundary.
Sometimes they’ll even come out and blurt the deepest, darkest secret of their tortured heart. “Mom, you’re embarrassing me!”
I greatly appreciate their willingness to communicate, but the subject still mystifies me after a few decades of parenting. What are these offenses that would render us incompetent in their minds?
Read carefully. You don’t want to commit these offenses.
Offenses Mothers Committ:
- Talk to them in public
- Look at them in public
- Hug or kiss them in public
- Smile at them in public
- Wear out-of-style jeans
- Talk to their friends
- Laugh too loud
- Talk to their friends’ parents
- Drive the wrong model of car
- Spell out words in texts
- Get a FB or Twitter account
- Wear uncool shoes or boots
- Chew gum
- Wear in-style jeans in public
- Don’t use emoticons in our social media
- Talk to their teachers or coach
- Don’t smile enough
- Complain about your uncooked food at a restaurant
- Take pictures of them at functions
- Sing in the car to music
- Ride the grocery cart to the car (OK, so they outgrew it before I did?!)
- Dance in the store (It was a REALLY good song!)
This transition from adoration to agitation is a stage, like their biting or tantrum stage. It will pass. Eventually.
Even though I threaten my teens to behave with the promise of wearing leopard stretch pants in public with them proudly by my side, I don’t usually intend to mortify my kids. They’re just so easily mortified.
After one such exasperated conversation at home with the offended child because of the way I talked to them in public, I laughed.
“You’re embarrassed of me? Really? You want to talk about embarrassment? I never climbed the library shelves. I never bit anyone at the Bounce House. (I raised my voice. Why yes, yes, I did!) I never hit anyone with a hammer at the Children’s Museum. And I still loved you and took you out in public! Do I need to go on?”
Our children never stop to think about the horrifications we have endured as mothers. The list is general so you all can feel a part of the fun justifying ourselves today and removed the blanket of shame our tweens/teens try to throw over us. (I’ve included some from best friends’ kids, nieces, and nephews so they all can squiggle and worry. Names were excluded to protect the guilty.)
Offenses Mothers Haven’t Committed:
- Sat in church with finger two-knuckle deep in nose
- Wiped a booger on your wall
- Ran naked through the house and/or yard
- Hit a friend with a belonging just. because.
- Pulled, scratched, bit, kicked, pushed, or hit a friend just. because.
- Throw food on the floor to eat later
- Shoved something up nose to play with later
- Opened four tampons and decorated the church with the pieces
- Pooped in the bathtub
- Pooped in the hotel swimming pool
- Pooped on the sidewalk
- Kicked someone in the privates because they said to stop throwing rocks
- Scanned her head at the self-check-out counter at the grocery store
- Peed in the front yard of a garage sale
- Stuck pantiliners to the church pew
- Wore your undies over hers then crawled down the church aisle – during the sermon
- Yelled from the church bathroom, “Come WIPE me!”
- Wiped her nose on your shirt
- Asked you in a crowd where babies come from
- Pitch a tantrum in the store then yell “You’re HURTING me!” when picked up
- Wore Super Hero or Princess pajamas in public (we wear our pj’s in public only when embarrassed child forgets the garbage again.)
When you look at that list and add your offspring’s childhood follies, you will feel empowered to
- wear what you want, IN PUBLIC
- say what you want, IN PUBLIC
- act any way you want IN PUBLIC.
We moms have earned the right to embarrass our children.