As a mother of a tween and a teen, I'm the maker and enforcer of many rules. I monitor my kids’ diet, television viewing, Internet usage, homework, chores, manners, activities, grooming and grammar. It’s my job as a parent, but still, it’s exhausting. So exhausting, that I tend to slack off when it comes to my own behavior. I’m doing a pretty good job managing Emma and Nick, but no one is holding me accountable to the same rules I set for them. And I’m breaking a lot of them. So I’m wondering, should I ground myself?
In the last couple of weeks, here are just a few of my infractions:
1. Excessive use of the Internet
I’m addicted to my computer. Unlike my kids, I don’t play games or chat with friends, but my activities are just as frivolous. I google acquaintances, check out gossip websites, window shop online. I check my email, watch funny videos on YouTube, download songs from itunes and plan imaginary vacations on Expedia.com. I know it isn’t good to waste so much time online. I wouldn’t let my kids do it. But no one tells me when enough is enough.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I went with friends to the House of Blues to see a really fun band called the Subdudes. We thought that they would start around 9pm, but the band didn’t take the stage until close to 11pm. By then, I’d definitely had a cocktail or two too many. By the end of the concert, I was in the front row, banging on the stage and screaming at the drummer “more tambourine!” I think he was a little scared of me. Was this appropriate behavior for a grown woman? I’d say not. But who was gonna stop me? At least we took a taxi home.
3. Late Homework
In my house, I’m in charge of the bills and administrative stuff. If I dedicated an hour or so a week to the job, it would be no big deal. But I’m not that disciplined. I stuff all the mail in a big basket and hide it in a cabinet until the last day of the month. By the time I get to the huge pile, I’ve inevitably missed deadlines or incurred fines or am rudely late in responding to things. If I were being graded on my work, I’d get a C-. If one of my kids got a rotten grade like that, I’d be calling an emergency parent-teacher conference. But no one around here has noticed my weak performance.
I break a lot of other rules too. I eat junk food, stay up too late watching trashy TV shows, forget to write thank you notes, say bad words. My closet is a mess! Nick and Emma would get in big trouble if they behaved as I do. Luckily they haven’t called me on it. And my husband isn’t the type to criticize. Looks like the only one I’m accountable to here is myself.
I guess I’m grounded.