This weekend, I got to play the role of Unpopular Mom.
There was a point where I thought I may have even been cast as:
“The Meanest and Worst, Most Unpopular Mom Ever in the History of the Whole World”
But I may have been slightly exaggerating.
So, why, you may wonder, was I so unpopular?
Well, because I wasn’t on board with a weekend long, co-ed sleepover for teens where sleeping in a giant cuddle puddle was an acceptable option.
Unreasonable, I know.
I personally don’t think co-ed sleepovers are a good idea, even if plenty of other really good parents are fine with the concept.
It’s never been my cup of tea.
We’ve been to lots of campouts and a few overnight events in homes where entire families, including teenagers crashed, but I was there and the vibe was different.
I did try to be open, and do diligent discussions, which kept being steered towards why I didn’t trust them and what I was afraid they would do. It was meant to dispel any fears, but it really just generated a whole lotta stress, and sort felt like an interrogation of my instincts.
I’ll tell you what a horrible exercise is~ coming up with bad things that “could happen” to people you like. I highly recommend NOT doing it ...for real….because it’s truly terrible and not in the least bit helpful.
My brain is quite adept at coming up with worst case scenarios, and even if I knew they weren’t going to happen, it certainly didn’t make me feel any better about the idea.
The stress and pressure of the forced discussions felt awful. I became angry and probably did most of the “What Not To Do” examples in a parental communication book.
Stay Calm (Nope)
Avoid yelling (Whoops)
Don’t lecture (Fail)
The list could go on...
The thing that was so hard to articulate was that it just didn’t friggen feel right.
I really don’t think every gut feeling needs to be dissected and analyzed to death in order to be valid.
Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts, even if you can’t explain them, and it would be nice if people would respect and honor that.
So, I went against the popular vote and went my own way. I stuck to my gut and vetoed my kid staying the night.
I tried to explain my reasoning, but it’s possible that they may have only heard “Blah, blah, blah..”
Unfortunately, lots of fast pace plans had been rapidly put in place for out of town friends to come and special dinners to be made, and all sorts of fun to be had. It was somehow assumed I would be on board, although I'd never said I would be and wasn't involved in any of it.
In fact I’d told my kid numerous times prior as well as mentioned it to the host that I was in fact not comfortable. Still, it was assumed I would or should be.
Because everyone else was.
It was a big deal for some of the young people involved, and while I don’t enjoy disappointing people, that didn’t somehow make it convincing for me.
I’m actually pretty sure that my own kid was more annoyed and embarrassed than devastated, because my kids have always been around me and my tendency to stand my ground. Poor things.
But the other kids...well they are used to way different rules, or a lack thereof. They know me mostly in fun ways and they generally seem to like me. For them, well, they couldn’t understand my problem.
And now, they might just think I’m the devil, or at least a completely lame and overprotective MOM. (I imagine this to be said with an accompanying uggh noise and facial expression, including full eye roll…”Ugggg, Pamelaaaaahhh….”)
This does make me a little sad, because I really like all the kids involved, and it’s no fun to be the bad guy.
But, the thing is, I would encourage every one of them to listen to and follow their own gut feelings always, no matter if they couldn’t explain them and other people wanted them to go against them.
Trust Your Gut Kids!
The world is full of messages that encourage people not to think, but instead to follow the herd, as though someone else knows better. Forget that ridiculousness.
We all have some internal wisdom if we can slow down long enough to quiet the outside voices and our own chattering minds in order to actually hear what our instincts are telling us.
So, that’s what I did. Stopped and got quiet, listened to my instincts, and said no.
It made me feel like a very unpopular mama, and just about took every ounce of Zesty out of me. But, at least I was true to my mama instincts.
The kids still got to get together and have fun in the day, and most likely, the ones who stayed the night didn’t commit any atrocious acts of inappropriateness.
I saw some of the other kids upon the drop off of my own, and I got a hug and smiles, so at least they’re still polite, even if they don’t like my decisions. They’re good kids after all, and the world will be a better place with them in it.
Maybe someday they will look back and see my point, or maybe they will always think I was wrong. Either way, I hope they know they are loved.
And I still don’t think it’s a good idea. :-)
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments below! (But please be gentle, whatever you may think~ this has beaten me up enough already)
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Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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