Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, March 17, 2006

The thing about being the cool mom

Our house is THE house to hang out at after school. I'm not bragging, the fact is I wish it weren't the house that they all come to after school. Besides teens eating me out of house and home, they are loud and nutty and disturb my quiet peaceful home. But, on the other hand, I know where my kids are, who they're hanging out with, and what they are up to.

Today, the Girl brought home 5 friends. That would be 6 13-14 year old kids in the house, 2 boys, 4 girls. Screeching girls. So, I put them to work. I did. I swear it, I made them clean. Why not? My feeling is, they're only going to mess it up, so why not at least start out with a nice clean space. Ms M polished furniture and dusted. Ms A swept the floor. Ms G vacuumed. Mr G picked up all the crap laying around and crammed it into a bag to take upstairs to the Girl's room. Mr B helped empty the dishwasher and load it up with dirty dishes. I polished the glass, cleaned off my desk, directed traffic, and beamed when my house ended up clean and fresh looking. Man, why didn't I think of this before?

Then they ate cookies we baked yesterday, and all played on DDR. Once they were all nice and sweaty, they all piled into a car and went off to the JCC to go swimming. Ah, quiet again.

A couple of issues: one of the girls is nice, but she can be oh so catty. I'm not big on catty behavior as a rule, and I can't stand hearing girls dis other girls for looks, body image, etc. It makes my teeth grind. She just kept dissing girls, and I had to pull her aside and tell her that in my house we kept those comments to ourselves.

Another girl kept going on and on and on about how fat she was, how big her butt was, etc.
I finally asked, "How tall are you?"
"And how much do you weigh?"

OK, that just about killed me to hear. How does a girl get such weird ideas of what she looks like? Especially when another girl in the room is quite heavy and pretty damn happy with herself. So I had to tell Girl A privately that constantly harping on her weight in front of another girl is not nice, rude, and probably hurts her friend's feelings. I gotta ask, how come her mother hasn't told her this stuff? Why doesn't she know that she's being mean and rude? Isn't anyone teaching these kids moral behavior anymore?

Last issue... well I can't share it. I wish I could, but I can't. However, it's getting me very upset and angry because I see how it is affecting other people, including my kid. It makes my cry just to think about it. Tonight I was soooooo tempted to do something I swore I wouldn't do...get involved. Involvement would be very messy and wouldn't solve anything. But I was really very very close.

That's the thing about being the cool mom. You see the kids who are really hurting, you see the kids who are foundering and trying to put their lives in some kind of order despite parents that are way fucked up. You see kids who don't even have parents. You know more about them than you probably should. And your heart aches for them. I wish I could take a couple of these kids in and make them better. I wish I could solve the hurt and pain of their ugly lives. I know what it means to have grown up in a dysfunctional family with physical and emotional abuse. I know the ramifications of such a background, how long it lasts, and how hard it is to believe in the good that people have. I want to tell them all that it will get better, that they only have a few more years to hang in there.

But when you're 13 or 14, 4 more years is a lifetime and then some. If I could, I'd bring them all into my home and my heart and try to teach them to love and trust again. I get so frustrated that I can't. I want to know how to help them without being intrusive. Without getting involved in their dysfunctional families, and the danger that could possibly ensue. I often feel more like the helpless mom than the cool mom.

Oh, and one more thing. One of the girls has decided she's marrying the Boy. She now refers to his as her future husband. He's a bit nonplussed by this attention!
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Blogger Shane said...

well, looks like you're a pretty good sport. can i come hang out too. mmmmmm cookies.

17/3/06 9:32 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Where were you when I was 13 or 14? Moms were NEVER that cool back then!

Good on ya for caring as you so obviously do. Those kids - yours and the others - don't know how lucky they are.

17/3/06 10:54 PM  
Anonymous M said...


18/3/06 6:19 PM  

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