This week, our wise beyond her years intern Caitlin recounts her Mother’s staunch unwillingness to veer into Amy Poehler in Mean Girls territory.
In looking back, Caitlin is grateful for her “uncool” mom, and we are, as always, inspired.
By Caitlin Adams
Lately in the news, I have been reading a slew of stories about mothers trying to be the “fun mom” and then something going horribly wrong. While these stories make me so sad for all those involved they’ve also opened my eyes to something that I didn’t understand when I was younger.
So I want to take you on a little walk down memory lane…
During my junior high and high school years, my house was the place to be every weekend. I don’t know if it was our central location or enormous sofa, but somehow my basement was dubbed the Friday and Saturday night hang out. My friends would pile on the couch, watch movies, and play pool while my mom was upstairs in the kitchen making us the food she knew our teenage bellies craved.
One thing that was noticeably absent? Alcohol.
That’s right. My parents did not buy me alcohol when I was in high school. And when I was that age I was not happy about it. In fact I was downright mad. (Cue my teenage eye roll and sigh.)
Some of my friends’ parents bought them alcohol and let them have parties, and I wanted to be one of the cool ones. My adolescent mind could not understand why my parents had to be so old fashioned. I begged and begged my parents to just “chill out” and do what other parents were doing, but they stood their ground. My mom (and dad for that matter) just did not think a parent should get alcohol for their child.
It’s not like I had a Puritan upbringing. My mom was always very open with us and encouraged us to discuss any peer pressures we faced. She was not naïve. Alcohol was something she discussed with us, but she didn’t provide it.
And like any other kid, I got in trouble. And guess what my parents had the nerve to do? Ground me! I would sulk in my bed on a Friday night wishing my parents would stop embarrassing me with their Stone Age parenting. There was even a time I gave my mom the silent treatment and threatened to run away. (16-year-old maturity at its finest)
It took a lot of growing up for me to understand why my mom insisted I was not mature enough to make all of my own decisions, but now I get it. She was my MOM, and that’s what moms do.
Punishment can’t be fun to carry out, and those inevitable teenage trouble years would probably go so much smoother if you just gave your kids what they want. I can only imagine how incredibly hard this balance must be as a parent.
But you know what? I am glad my mom put being a parent before being my friend. It provided me with much needed structure during those pivotal years, and now I constantly thank her for giving my brothers and I a stable, safe environment.