To My Teenage Boys:

You know that I love you, and that I am so SO very proud of you!  My life is a whole lot richer because you are in it, I consider myself so lucky that I get to be your mom.  As we go on in life, and you reach for the moon, and shoot for the stars… know that I will be your biggest supporter, and your loudest cheerleader.  I want nothing more for you than for you to fulfill your wildest dreams, and live a life that makes your heart SING on a daily basis.  As ‘Mom’ … it is my job to cultivate you from infancy into adulthood and then to set you loose on the world as one who will contribute to the betterment of society.  I take pride in that.
But, before that glorious ‘set you loose on the world as one who will contribute to the betterment of society’ day… we have a few things to sort out to ensure you actually do MAKE IT to that day. 
It seems we have been having some communication issues.  I feel that my face to face method… the one I have used for all your lives doesn’t seem to be working.  I am pretty sure that, after all these years that I must be sounding a little like Charlie Brown’s teacher to you… and hey, I can relate… I am reasonable, as I was once a kid too.  So…  here it is… my last ditch effort to reach you.  Since you spend so much time on the internet… I decided to try to get through to you via cyber space… goodness knows talking, reasoning,  yelling, freaking out, throwing things, grounding, taking away stuff and dropping the occasional ‘f’ bomb has lost its effectiveness…
This list conveys only the MINIMUM required behaviors and expectations and includes, but is not limited to issues that I have had to repeatedly remind you of over the past few months.  Learn it.  Live it.
Here goes:
1.       This list is NON-NEGOTIABLE.

2.       I, as your mother/step -mother, reserve the right to append to this list as I see fit. If you have a problem with that, see number 1.

3.       It is Homework – then video games.  No exceptions.

4.       You have a cell phone so that I can get ahold of you… whenever I need to…  It is in your best interest to answer it when I call.  Consider this: If I cannot reach you on your cell phone when I need to, then there really is no point in you having it.  Furthermore ‘it was charging in my room’ and ‘I had it on silent’ are NOT valid excuses.  If the battery is dead from the web surfing, texting and app playing, that can easily be rectified by exchanging it for a ‘Motorola flip’.  I happen to have one on hand.  No.  I am not kidding.
a.       Remember… It is never to be assumed that you no longer need to tell me where you are going because you have a cell phone.  You have it so I can reach you, NOT so I can try to track you down.

5.       When you go to the bathroom. Flush. It is simple. If you tinkle on the seat, clean it up. I guarantee you that none of your family members wishes to sit in your pee any more than you would wish to sit in theirs.  Show some respect.  You share that space.

6.       Socks and underwear NEVER belong on bathroom floors, ever. Wet towels NEVER belong on bedroom floors, ever…  and you DO NOT need a clean towel every day.

7.       You do not need a new glass every time you get a drink of water, and there should never be a need for me to round up glasses from bedrooms because there are not enough in the cupboard for dinner.  You have a water bottle.  Use it.

8.       Bedrooms are to be kept tidy.  Dishes and recycle cans removed when you are done with them.  Garbage belongs in the garbage can... NOT on the floor.  This is our home. Respect it.

9.       That thing… in the counter… next to the sink… It is called a dishwasher.  If it is full of dirty dishes, run it.  If it is full of clean dishes, empty it.  But we should NEVER come home to stacks of dirty dishes piled up on the counters.  Keep in mind, the aforementioned ‘sink’ is also a viable option for cleaning dishes.  When I come home to a full dishwasher, and stacks of dishes on the counter, I am not above emptying the dirty dishwasher, and letting you get a really good feel for how the sink works.  Perhaps that would make you appreciate how handy the dish washer actually is.

10.   Laundry in our house is done on weekends.  I wash.  I dry.  I fold.  YOU put away.  If ‘that’ shirt is missing from your closet, check the living room because chances are, it never made it to the closet after it was washed, dried and folded.   If it is dirty because it didn’t make it into the laundry on laundry day… then you have two choices…
a.       Wait until after next laundry day to wear it
b.      Run a load yourself…
PLEASE NOTE: storming around the house mad because that shirt can’t be found, or isn’t clean does not appear to be one of your choices.
11.   Our home is to be entered and exited from DOORS ONLY.  If you forget, lose, or misplace your key, you wait until one of your siblings gets home to let you in.  Climbing in windows is NOT acceptable.

12.   Cell phones, internet access, food, water and a warm bed are your payments for babysitting your sisters.  That is it.  We are a family, and we look out for each other, we help each other. End of story…  Babysitting is included in that.  IF I should decide that a little extra something is deserved for a job well done, it is at MY discretion…  Never, ever assume it is a given, because it isn’t.  If you have a problem with this, see number 1.  If you still have a problem with this, keep in mind that ‘cell phone and internet access’ CAN be revoked at any time.

13.   I am not your maid.  Your dad is not your maid.  Your Nana is not your maid.  The cleaning service that comes here once a week to clean the bathrooms… they are not your maids.  You DO NOT have a maid.  Govern yourselves accordingly…  (ie) pick up your shit.

14.   Shoveling, mowing, garbage, recycling, and taking out the refundable bottles ARE in fact YOUR jobs.  Sighing or protesting when you are reminded to do it will be met with a longer list of tasks that will include, but is not limited to:
a.       Cleaning the garage
b.      Cleaning up the doggy doo in the back yard
c.       Cleaning the fridge
d.      Cleaning the basement.

15.   You must keep in mind that the law only requires me to feed you, clothe you (and not necessarily in brand names), that I provide you with a home, and that I ensure you get an education.  It is STRONGLY advised that you DO NOT approach me with any sort of Christmas list in freaking February…  I am not above donating a whole bunch of stuff that is currently in my home to kids who would be a little more grateful to have it.

So my loves… there you have it.  Know that I too am reaching for the stars and shooting for the moon.  Your support and encouragement in the form of complying with the above list would be greatly appreciated.  I know I was put here on this earth to be your mom.  That I do not question.  Not even for a minute… but you must understand, I have other purposes too.

I love you to the moon and back.
Your mom.

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