Tough love — it’s part of the job

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Once again this morning I am being nominated “Mother of the Year.” I was able to make two out of three little girls as mad as bathed cats. One wanted to wear a sleeveless summer dress and sandals on the coldest day we’ve had since February, the other thought I was just plain mean for not letting her take corn flakes in a sandwich bag for lunch.

The other day, I heard my 11-year-old telling a family friend that I told her I was going to be off work, but she was not allowed to call from school if she needed something. This sounds really selfish of me doesn’t it? The truth is, when the girls find out I will be anywhere but my job they find it fun to come up with something “important” to call me about.

For instance, a paper left on the kitchen counter, a lunchbox (even though they have perfectly healthy and pretty darn tasty lunches provided in the cafeteria), the “right” shoes for P.E., a belt, a flower she picked for her teacher that will surely not wait for the next day, LIP GLOSS! The list goes on. I finally had to tell them unless an ambulance was being summoned, I needed to remain at the task at hand and they needed to be big girls and “deal” without the proper P.E. foot attire or lip treatment. I know, it still sounds selfish on my part.

This morning I had already had the dress discussion with one when the youngest started the “hissy fit” over the corn flakes. I told her she could certainly have them in a bowl with milk for breakfast, but I knew the ladies in the cafeteria did not want to have to clean up cereal spilled from a sandwich bag and I didn’t think flakes or any kind were adequate for lunch. She sat crying over this at the counter until the “Dress Diva” stormed through. She had on jeans, a long sleeve T-shirt and a scowl so hot you could cook on it.

I tried to explain that I would not be doing my job if I let her wear clothing that would not be warm enough. Her sister let me know that she had not heard a word I was saying because her hands were over her ears.

I lost it. I went into their bathroom snatched the toothbrush out of her mouth and proceeded to give her both barrels. It went something like this, “I don’t care what little so-in-so is wearing for ‘twin day,’ YOU are not going to school in a sleeveless dress with nothing on your legs and sandals on your feet when it’s 34 degrees outside. It is my job to have a little bit of sense and to try to take care of you! This is a stupid argument and it’s over!” I put her toothbrush back in her mouth and left the room muttering something about how I’m too old for this.

In sincerity, I have no delusions of being anyone’s mother of the year, ever. A day without a battle would be victory enough for me.

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