Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Because I Said So.

Why?
Why? (Photo credit: wadem)
‘Why?  But WHY?’ 

Because I said so.

Because I am your mother.

Because life is not fair.

or my favorite... “Z”

There have to be better answers that I can give. I just have not figured it out yet. I have used these above, standard, time-tested answers to “Why?”  

But we need some new ones.  

My children have been asking this question since they learned the word.  It is an information gathering word.  When they were 2, 3 and 4 they were just learning about, well, everything. Just figuring things out, they had to ask ‘Why.’  This - while annoying after the 300th ‘Why’ of the day - can be endearing in little ones.  I wanted to give them the information they needed to navigate their world.  I felt a strong responsibility to impart the correct information.

As they get older the ‘Why’ is still about gathering information.  But this information gathering is more about how they can use it to argue their point.   

Why not
Why not (Photo credit: Pete Reed)
There are countless times my children are asking to do something/ have something/ go somewhere or eat something. If I say ‘No,’  the inevitable ‘Why’ follows.  Sometimes, the real reason I say no is, I just don’t have the damn time to even think about the question they are asking me. They ask when I am doing 500 things at once or am significantly distracted  i.e. picking up the phone, sitting down to eat, paying bills, starting a conversation, writing, reading, cooking, etc.  

They have learned that if they ask for something when mom and dad (but especially dad) are busy, there is a 60/40 chance that you will get an agreeable nod or a positive sounding grunt.  

Lumberjack
Lumberjack (Photo credit: ElDave)
One day, my then 5 year old was walking out of the shed with a saw.  Yes, a real, log-cutting saw.   When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Daddy said it’s ok!”  Meanwhile my husband was in the shed wrestling to fix our ever breaking weed-whacker, while our son walked in, talked his ear off for a full 5 minutes, and then asked his dad if he could be a lumberjack.  Sometimes I believe that my boys are genius’s. Little. Evil. Genius’s.  
  
Then there are times I just don’t think that my children deserve another, blessed, fun thing for the day!  After playing with friends, swimming, ice-pops,  popcorn, impromptu baseball games and an overall fun-filled day, I may say, “Now go read for 30 mins.” If that is followed by a ‘Why,’ I want to explode.  Are they kidding me?   

My exploding brain is because, no matter what answer I give, that answer will be met with a rebuttal, counter point, followed by negotiations and pleadings.  I don’t have time for this shit!   My almost 11 year old is excellent at explaining to me why I am wrong, or why my reason is not a valid one. If he can not debate the reason he will plea and negotiate his terms for doing whatever was asked of him.  I would like to say that I do not give in.  For the most part that is true, but I must give in sometimes if they continue to use this tactic, right?  

They wear me down.  They know my weaknesses: the end of the day, their father is working late, I am hungry, I need 5 minutes alone, I Just. Want. Quiet.  

At these times I try the tactic at which - after I have asked them to do something - I ignore the ‘Why’ which is then followed by the scream..... “Maaooooommmm, are you even listening to me?!?”   

Does this get any easier?  I need to have some authority.  Remember when kids used to fear their parents?   Was it easier for them - those 70s, smoking, drinking, beat-the-shit-outta-you parents who would send the kids out at dawn and not let them back in until the streetlights came on?   It had to be easier than the negotiations.  I believe that my son could very deftly wear down any hostage situation.  He could also be the lawyer for Dracula in a murder trial and get Dracula off with time served.  

Where am I going wrong?  Please tell me I am not alone.  Let me know you experience this too.  Why?  Because life is not fair, I am your Momma O and I said so!  That’s Why!