There I was, going along my merry little homeschool mum way. Innocently believing that I was doing a quite good job for a Thursday when out of the blue, I get a new and unexpected accusation thrown at me from my soon to be a thirteen-year-old girl. She talks about her wanting for more independence and me not delivering those opportunities.
Hmm…thinks me. Here’s a new one. Goody. I need something to keep me on my toes.
Independence. Welcome new attribute to my daughter’s existence.
Now, I needed to be clear. Were we talking ‘catching the bus home from town alone’ here? Or how about ‘making dinner without having to ask what number the oven should be on?’ Or, was it more along the lines of ‘let me throw my sails to the wind and circumnavigate the world single-handed?’ (I know she’ll do this one day)
I wasn’t sure of the correct answer but whichever one it was, I didn’t say it. Of course, I didn’t. It’s me, remember?
I made up my mind that from here on in, I would no longer be Mother Gothel. The wicked Mother, locking her poor homeschooled daughter away in the house on the hill. No. I was going to make changes. She’d see a new me. She was going to have her much needed independence whether she knew or liked it or not.
One big parenting mistake later
Fast forward to yesterday.
A trip to the doctors. Nothing serious, which makes it kind of worse. At least in England, it’s free for the nothing serious visits. If you’re going to pay $15 you at least want a bit of chicken pox or tonsillitis. Get your money’s worth.
I was late. Of course, I was late and had already been told by the receptionist when I telephoned that there’d be an hour wait.
I had to get my dependent girly to her singing lesson at 3, and it was already 2.05pm. I was well, let’s say, I was… edgy.
I pulled into the carpark. No spaces. I looked into my mirror and saw an old couple crippled over in pain heading for the sliding doors. The waiting receptionist lady sitting watching us both through the doors, over the top of her computer screen. Firstly at them and then across to me. Smiling. With her stopwatch.
You know that saying, ‘you can take the girl out of Britain, but you can’t take Britain out of the girl’? Well, I’m ashamed to say that the Brit in me decided to rear her ugly head. Leaning over, I opened the car door and practically kicked my poor dependent child out onto the pavement.
“Go and get into the queue. Now.” I hissed. all the while keeping a beady eye on the advancing appointment contenders and their walking sticks.
“I’ll go and find somewhere to park.”
I’m revving on the accelerator now.
” Nooo” Wails Miss independent “They’ll ask me what’s wrong and everything. Let me back in…”
Me: (peeling her fingers from the door) “No. They. Wont. Get in there. Now”
Miraculously, the pair of biddies started to straighten up and began to get a bit of a wiggle on. I watched. Horrified, as they glided past my stationary car through the sliding doors like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I’m sure the old woman gave me the finger.
She’s back in the car now, my girl. Back into the safety of Mummy’s cosy little cocoon.
Let’s freeze the scene for a moment.
I’m now going to tell you how NOT to behave when you are a parent. The following is what NOT to say to an already embarrassed teenage girl. Are you listening?
Me: What on earth is wrong with you that you can’t get out of the damn car, go into the doctors and tell the receptionist your NAME and that you’d like to see a doctor?”
Her: I told…
Me. Interrupting, shouting over AND wagging a finger. Always a winning combination.
“No, no, no. NO. (that’s a lot of nos) Never mind that. I don’t want to hear it. (Just as well really as you’re drowning the poor girl out). let me tell you, (please do) if you’re not careful you’ll turn into a weird, freaky kid ( I know, delightful isn’t it?) who can’t hold a conversation with someone.” (Unlike you Liz, who is quite clearly an absolute winner with words.)
There. I Said it. And it’s too late to take it back. Gone.
Silence is the worst. Silence means she’s taking it in. I try to make a funny comment about the biddies. Nothing.
I apologise. Of course, I apologise. Still, nothing. Probably too stunned. “A weird freaky kid?” It’s not what you expect from your parent, is it?
After a long deliberation, she retaliates. That’s my girl! Knew she wouldn’t be able to keep the silent treatment up forever. Too much of her mum in her. Poor sod.
Game back on.
“You are so judgemental.”
To be honest, I was almost relieved.
I was half expecting, “p*ss off you psychotic, lunatic nutter.” Hands up, I deserved it.
Judgemental. I think I can handle judgemental.
I drive down the road. Towards the singing lesson, pondering my new title and trying to work out how I always seem to get it wrong.
I want to say,’excuse me young missy, but I am NOT judgemental’. I go to open my mouth in protest but incredibly, unbelievably, manage to stop myself. There’s a first.
Back to the title of this post.
” How to avoid being labelled as ‘judgmental’ by your teenager.”
Next time your daughter has a rash on her leg, stay at home and look on the internet. You’ll save $15, and you know it will only be viral. It’s always viral. Even I can tell you that.
Either that or…
Shut your mouth. For ten years. Do not speak. Ever. The end. You’re welcome.