Well my 11 year old forced me into being the "mean mom" this weekend. All week I've been nagging for the pit that is Lady Bug's bedroom to be cleaned. I've given detailed instructions, I've given second chances, I made threats.
I told her on Thursday night in no uncertain terms, "Lady Bug, if you don't go clean your room I'm not taking you and your friends to the mall on Saturday for your birthday. No mall... no dinner at Red Robin. I swear this is your very last chance" I got a call on Friday - it was a half day at school and she was home by noon.
LB - Can I go to A's house to hang out?
Mom - Is your room clean?
LB - No
Mom - Then you have to clean your room and put your dirty clothes in the washing machine before you can go. Also, your grandmother went to a lot of trouble to make you a nice dinner and dessert for your birthday so you MUST, ABSOLUTELY MUST be home no later than 5pm.
LB - Okay mom, no problem
I get off work early and drive home to get Lady Bug. She's not at home... her room isn't clean. She doesn't answer her cell phone. 4o minutes later she finally comes home. We've missed our chance to get to Grandma's for dinner (it's an hour away) and I am so flaming mad I'm seeing double.
I call her cousin, and I have her call her friends. We cancel the birthday trip to the mall. I make her go up and finish cleaning her room while I stand over her. I make her call her Grandmother and apologize. I send her to bed early. I'm so, SOOOO angry that she put me in the position to have to take away something so special. I'm pissed as hell that so many people were inconvenienced. It was inconsiderate - not to mention dangerous. I had no idea where she was, and she didn't answer her cell, or call me to tell me she was running late. She lied to me, she didn't follow through with something I had been telling her to do for a week. She just disrespected me and our house rules one too many times.
I feel horrible. She cried, she was devastated. I feel mean and wretched. But I do know that it's not my job to be her friend all the time. It's my job to teach her that there are consequences when you don't do what you're told to do. That it's rude to leave people waiting for you, that if you are allowed the privilege of going to a friends house you are required to come home when I tell you to. Five means five o'clock.... not five fifteen, and sure as heck not forty minutes late with no call to let me know you're okay.
I mean, if I don't follow through when I make a threat how will she ever know I'm serious? If I can't influence her behavior with appropriate consequences when the child is 11 how do I do it when she's 15 and horny... good lord what a scary thought.
So I followed through... even though it's hard and I feel like utter crap. We ended up going over to grandma's house tonight instead, since she's gone to so much expense and trouble to get dinner put together with all her favorite foods, and she even had a special "Twilight" themed cake baked up for her with fancy blood red roses etc.
But that shopping trip is gone until after she's done being grounded. God help me I hope she's learned a lesson!