Before you have children, you think you know everything about bringing up great kids, but you never really imagine that one day you will have to say, “Get that lego out of the dogs ear!” or “You can not take the spray can of whip cream to school!” Most young mom’s today take great satisfaction in being able to bring up children without having to say, “Because I’m your mother, and I said so, that’s why!” I see it differently. I think that statement is the best defense a mom has against unruly children.
When I’m in New York I live in my daughters home with her husband and three sons. I realize bringing up children is completely different today than it was forty years ago. What you say to children is of the utmost importance. I know because I tend to get reprimanded for what I say to the boys. Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll freeze that way isn’t true and should not be said. Who knew? Eat your vegetable because people are starving in China is no longer appropriate. Don’t smoke cigarettes it will make you short; not a good comment either. If you stick your tongue out again I will cut it off. Absolutely inappropriate and not a true statement. I’ve learned to just sit quietly and reluctantly mind my own business.
My daughter and her husband take pride in their ability to raise three very well mannered, beautiful boys. They started with the first son by patiently and eloquently explaining everything to him. But after a few years, two more baby boys and the addition of a dog, I see that mom-isms are gradually slipping into the home. Swim meets, baseball and basketball games, frazzled days full of crying and brotherly spats can change a person’s perspective on parenting.
One morning as the school bus was about to arrive, little Jack refused to wear his coat. “You have to wear your coat Jack it’s cold outside,” explained my daughter. They went back and forth and I heard an “I don’t want to, I’m not going to” and at last the big whine, “But why?” Completely frustrated, my daughter sternly said to her six year old son as the bus screeched to a stop in front of the house, “Because I’m your mother and I said so, that’s why!” Oh it was a joy-filled, full circle moment for me. It was the epitome of mom statements. It’s the one that always works. I felt like a prisoner who had been found not guilty. That was the beginning of transformation in our home. Soon, “Close the door! You don’t live in a barn,” “Am I talking to a brick wall?” “I am not your maid,” and “Please, boys! This is not a trampoline. This is our living room furniture!” became commonly heard statements.
I was elated, jubilant and pleasantly surprised.
Last week my daughter was driving me to the airport accompanied by my two youngest grandsons. They were fighting over who had more space in the back seat. Joseph yelled, “You are on my side. Mom! Jack is kicking me.” Jack responded, “No I’m not. He started it. This is my side!”
She held tight to the steering wheel, clenched her teeth and said,” I swear if I hear one more word, I’m turning this car around right now.” I sat next to her with a prideful Mona Lisa smile, confident that, “Do you think I’m made of money?” “Answer me when I ask you a question!” and “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll do as I say,” are absolutely in my future.
It was the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
Yvonne Conte is a corporate culture expert, motivational humorist, professional speaker, and coach. She has Humor Advantage, Inc. offices in Warners, NY, and Fort Myers, FL, and is the founder of the Day of Joy Women’s Conference. In addition to being a radio and TV personality, Conte is the author of six books including ‘Serious Laughter’ and ‘Cry, Laugh, Cook.’ Find more information online at www.yvonneconte.com