I left my phone on my desk as I was while attending to work duties outside my office Friday afternoon, and didn’t pick it up until the end of the day. By that time, there were seven missed calls and a text from my daughter.
I was thankful for the text because I immediately knew there was no emergency. My daughter obviously thought differently as she called again while I was reading the text.
“Can I please go to the party?” she begged.
My “no” was followed by a great deal of whining and asking “why not?”
Even though I had no need to explain my decision, I am a mom and the words escaped my lips before my brain engaged. “Because.” I said.
And then I hung up.
My co-worker asked what was happening.
I explained that my 12-year old was begging to attend a sweet 16 party, and I had said no.
“You go mom,” she said.
I needed those words of encouragement because I knew what I would be facing when I got home. And I was right.
Before I even pulled into our driveway, my husband had sent me a text warning that Kendall was very, very mad. (Actually, he used slightly different words but he captured the essence of the situation.)
When I walked through the door, he gave me a brief run down. He even told me she might be more mad at me for not answering my phone when she called than by my not letting her go to the party.
“I told her that she’s just not your priority when you’re at work.” he said.
He’s right, and I’m o.k. with that. I might not get any more “You go Mom!” cheers for not creating the perfect balance of work and home, but I don’t live my life to please others. I live my life to make the world a better place – and that includes children who know the world does not revolve around them. My daughter is struggling with that reality.
I spent the first ten minutes at home listening to Kendall tell me that I am the worst mother on the world. Then I listed to her tell me there was no rational reason for her not to attend the party. Then I listened to her slam doors.
Then I listened to myself.
Kendall is 12 and in the seventh grade. She doesn’t belong at a Sweet 16 birthday party. Even though I’m not one of those moms who is trying to keep her daughter from growing up too fast, neither am I too keen on pushing her to adulthood any faster than necessary.
The consequences of that decision? My daughter was angry for a few hours.
That was it.
By 10:00, she was showing me her latest drawing and giggling about something a friend had sent her. She never mentioned the party again. She even seemed to forget that I am the meanest mom in the world and begged me to chaperone the seventh grade field trip in May.
When I said I could make that happen, I was suddenly the greatest mom in the world.
Funny how that works.