For years, I’ve been waiting to hear that phrase. The one that starts with “you’re not” and ends with “my mother!” It’s inevitable, I know, for a female in my position to be assaulted with those words at least once. And so I’ve been waiting. But the words haven’t come…
Last weekend, I was cleaning up the kitchen and I heard a thud in the living room. Upon investigation, I discovered Drake picking himself up off the floor. He’d been trying to knee-balance on Boyfriend’s exercise ball and tumbled forward… toward the television.
“Please don’t do that,” I told him.
“Why?” he asked. “That’s what the ball is for.”
I sighed. “Because, I don’t want you to put your face through the TV. And I don’t want you to crack your skull on the corner of the end table…. or hurt yourself in any other manner. Your dad rolls off that thing all the time. It makes me nervous.”
I heard Boyfriend laughing from another room.
“What’s so funny?” I called to him.
“What’s the big deal?” he asked. “That is what the ball is for.”
(Why oh why oh WHY must he so often undermine my authority??)
“Fine,” I said, a tantrum rising in my throat. “Why should I care anyway? It’s not my TV. It’s not my body,” And then, turning back to Drake, “I’m not your mother.”
…Oops. Did I steal that secret weapon from the boys’ arsenal? Did I foil their plans of using it against me in a heated moment of conflict and vulnerability?
Sure, they can still say it if they want… but, I think I kinda took the “oomph” out of it.
(Nevermind the fact that this story awards power to the children and, ironically enough, validates the position “you don’t have to listen to her; she’s not your mother.” Yeah… all that aside….. it’s almost amusing.)