What should have taken about fifteen minutes tops turned into a four-hour chore for my twelve year old son...
Late last evening I stepped outside to put some pork chops on the grill when I noticed my husband pulling weeds out of a pile of pea gravel next to our sad little excuse for a garage. I noticed him and then noticed Patrick the Tweenager shooting hoops about three-feet from his working father.
"Hey, you!" I shouted, "Get over there and help your dad get those weeds out of there so we can move the gravel elsewhere."
Patrick the Tweenager stopped dribbling just long enough to toss a smirky grin my way and then flippantly replied, "Helllllo, Mom, I'm working on my lay-ups." Dribble, dribble, dribble.
Oh, no he didn't.
Heads up shout-out to all readers: This One Tough Mother doesn't "do" smirky and/or flippant. Let's just say he was pulling weeds pretty quickly after. But here's the deal, he wouldn't shut-up while doing so. It was "stupid" this and "Stupid Ricky (a/k/a his older brother) never does anything" that, and I heard myself say once, then twice, "Patrick, close your mouth and just do your job."
Sigh. He no understand One Tough Mother-ish.
So he spouted off one more time and I clearly dictated the following: "If you open your mouth one more time to say absolutely anything you will be hauling the gravel out from this spot over to the other side of the garage where your father and I want it--by yourself. One more word and Ricky won't be helping. One more word and you'll guarantee a two to three hour work day for yourself bright and early tomorrow."
He no even try to understand One Tough Mother-ish.
I believe the word, his last word, was "Ooooooo."
And so it went.
"Congratulations, you just succeeded in creating a mountain out of a mole hill and I shall be waking you up at 8:00 am to complete the remainder of this task." He sulked-- Tweenager style--to his room (i.e. slammed the back porch door, muttered incoherently, slammed his bedroom door, muttered incoherently) and I didn't see his sulky face for another nine hours. (Thank you, Jesus!)
Now, here's the moral of the story. The "Ripley's Believe it or Not" wrap-up, if you will. I awoke said Tweenager at 7:45 am the following morning. He got out of bed. Ate a bowl or two of cereal and then went outside and did the remainder of his work.
Sans snarky adolescence snit of attitude.
And while Patrick the Tween would never admit this aloud, I know it to be true: he knew exactly who he was dealing with--One Tough Mother--and decided it just wasn't worth the effort to go against her.
So too your children as you firmly step up and be the One Tough Mother your children need and your sanity requires.