So, when I get upset with my kids or if they are not performing to certain standards, I often say, "You're grounded." However, I don't even think they know the real meaning of this word. Problem? Me. The Mom. I'm a pushover. I know they would not agree with me on this, but it is true. I am HORRIBLE when it comes to taking away their privileges.
Rule #1: No Toys in the Living Room. Rule #2: No Food Downstairs. Rule #3: You opened it, you close it. You got it out, you put it away. So, the other day - the day I became a Meanie Mom -I went into the Living Room to find Legos everywhere. I start in on LittleDuckling.
Me:LittleDuckling! Why are there Legos in the Living Room???
Now, I'm not shouting, per say... But I am standing at the top of the stairs, calling downstairs towards the vicinity of the family room. So, yes, my voice was magnified so LittleDuckling could hear me.
LittleDuckling: I know! You don't have to Yell. I was just playing there cuz there was no room downstairs.
No room downstairs? How can this be? So, I venture down to the family room, at my own risk mind you, and am pretty sure within the first 2 seconds, I may just blow a gasket. The family room looks like a bomb went off.
Me: Somebody please explain to me why there are dirty dishes down here, when there is not to be food of ANY KIND consumed in this room? And why, pray tell, are there empty Chip bags and candy wrappers? And, What The Freak? Who had a box of cereal down here, which 4-legged-creature has clearly helped herself to?
No Response. (And Yes. I did actually say "Pray Tell".)
Me: (continuing to rant and rave) Are we Barbaric Heathens or something? Your video games have turned you into slobs! Ok, that's it. Starting next week, you will be grounded until this room AND your bedrooms are cleaned.
Next week? Who AM I??? Glenda, The Good Witch? I know, I know. I don't know why I didn't "ground" them from their video games immediately. I guess part of me thought that it wasn't enough "fair warning".
I am bemoaning to Desperate Housewife about how I am creating my own "monsters" since I have a hard time following through with discipline. She encourages me to stick to my guns. I confide that I hate being one of those moms; the Meanie Moms. She reminds me that setting boundaries is not mean, and they will thank me for it years down the road when they are "normal, well-adjusted adults" (fingers crossed). I explain that I've tried before, but after a day, they were back to playing their video games. And I whine about how hard it is because I work till 5 or later, and by the time I come home, cook dinner, and help with homework, I've forgotten all about the "grounding" - and obviously they did too. She offers to help; I accept. (All Hail Desperate Housewife!)
I gather the portable gaming devices, the game controllers, and headsets. I place them in a basket and allow Desperate Housewife to hold them Hostage. This is sort of fun, I say to myself. I am really gonna stick to my guns this time.
Not even 24 hrs has passed. LittleDuckling is "bored" and has "nothing to do". I remind him he has an entire basement to clean. Later, when I am hanging out with Big-D, FunnyMan calls my cell.
FunnyMan: Mom, I need the controller to my XBox 360.
Me: Sorry. I can't get it for you right now. Besides you're grounded from it until the downstairs is clean.
FunnyMan: I know! See, the XBox plays CDs and I was gonna listen to music while I cleaned.
Me: Right. Likely story. Even if that were the case, I don't have access to them right now.
FunnyMan: Gosh! (in true Napolean Dynamite fashion)
He disconnects call. ...about 2 minutes later... cell phone rings again.
FunnyMan: When will Desperate Housewife be home? Can't you just go get the controllers from her? (PrettyPrettyPrincess informed the boys where the controllers were when she came upon them scouring the house, checking every nook and cranny for them.)
Me: You're not getting them back. Sorry. And even when the basement is clean, I still may not give them back. I may just have you guys prove to me you can keep the rooms clean for a while before giving them back.
FunnyMan: That is sooooo stupid!
Again, call is disconnected.
So, there you have it. I am now a Meanie Mom, thank you very much. Hey, you! Are you slouching? Sit Up! Look at me when I am talking to you!...