Dear teens, I’m sorry you got “that” mom.
I’m sorry you got that mom who will always ask where you are going—and actually expect you to be there.
I’m sorry you got that mom who wants to meet the parents of the house you want to go to, or the boy you want to date, or the friend you want to spend time with after school.
I’m sorry you got that mom who checks your screen time and your social media and your entire phone every once in awhile.
I’m sorry you got that mom who expects you to carry your weight around the house, who thinks doing things like emptying the dishwasher and washing your own clothes and making your bed are important life skills.
I’m sorry you got that mom who lets you fail sometimes. I’m sorry I don’t always bring the gym uniform you left sitting on the counter or your homework sitting on your desk to school. It hurts my heart when something bad happens to you, but I hope the consequences teach you more.
I’m sorry you got that mom who says no when all the rest of the moms are saying yes. I know that sucks for you. It sucks for me, too. Sometimes other parents don’t like it when I’m “that” mom, either.
It’s a delicate balancing act, raising you.
I want you to be independent, yet one mistake can change the trajectory of your young life. I want you to be accepted by your peers, but not at the expense of risking safety. I want you to become trustworthy, but sometimes I know—or you’ve demonstrated—you can’t yet be trusted.
So, I’m “that” mom. Just like my mom was “that” mom, too.
And I hope one day you’ll understand. I hope one day you’ll appreciate the fact that holding you accountable, setting limits, letting you learn from your mistakes—being “that” mom—is the greatest way I can show my love for you.
But until that time, I’m (kind of) sorry you got stuck with me. I know it makes you embarrassed, I know it takes away some of your fun, I know it sometimes makes your relationships contentious or difficult.
So, I’ll say yes when I can, when it comes to your style or your activities or what you want to get out of your future.
I want you to be happy and enjoy life. It’s nice when you fit in. And sometimes I don’t want a knock-down, drag-out fight about every ask, either.
But there are times when saying no is important, even when—especially when—every other parent is saying yes.
Unfortunately for you, though, I’m going to keep being “that” mom, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.