There you have it, all the rest of you wanna be mean mommies, put away your evening gowns, talents and the like, the pageant is over and I win the crown and sash. You can sit over there in the corner and take notes from the official meanest mom. There is no first runner up and certainly no Miss Congeniality in this competition. I'm not entirely sure of the duration of my reign, could be decades, years, even simply weeks or mere days. I'll let you all know when the competition is open and you may have another shot at the title. Always be ready, never for a moment think you're not in contention for this coveted honor. Don't worry, you too can be a winner, there's always hope that one of your competitors will slip and make a fatal mistake. How, you ask, did she do it? I'll let you in on the secrets of my success: I don't care if my kids think of me as one of their friends. I use the word "No" with abandon. I don't consider it a successful day unless at least one of the kids are royally cheesed off at me a minimum of once during the course of the day. I have never felt the need to justify myself to my offspring. This, my dear friends, is how to take the title.
Andrew, the teenager (God help me) announced the other day (here's where YOU add the teenage outrage tone of voice) "I am now the ONLY person in my ENTIRE class without a cell phone, mom." He did not deem my response of "Good, then there will always be someone around that will let you use their phone to call me." as appropriate. This was followed by a rather spectacular eye roll and huffy exit from my presence. My point is this, he doesn't drive and doesn't have a job yet so I always know where he is because I've driven him there. I know his schedule and arrange my life to accomodate his busy social life...it's like he has a personal assistant that he doesn't pay or throw cell phones at (because he doesn't have one...bonus for me!). I love it when my kids are huggy and kissy and tell me I'm awesome but I don't live and die by it. I have friends aplenty and as much as I love hanging out with the boys, they (thank goodness) do not constitute the entirety of my social interaction. They don't have to like me, they do have to listen to me, period.
Charlie, not the teenager (yet), thinks sheer volume and repetition is the path to getting what you want. After nine years, he hasn't figured out that I am immune to this method of torture. He starts with the straightforward "Can we get that?" Then he moves on to "You could get that for Christmas/My Birthday." He then works his way to "My friend (insert name here)'s mom got that for him yesterday/last week and she thinks it's really cool." Rounding out his arsenal with "It would be good for me to have that, I could learn things." Nice try kiddo, I'm still not buying the semi-automatic Nerf(tm) dart gun with Nerf(tm) night vision attachments and 100 rounds of Nerf(tm)y-good ammunition. And in answer to your next question, no you can't have a cookie, it's almost supper time. I do give him credit for the attempt to slip that last bit past me. I like the word 'no' I find plenty of uses for it, it's short and to the point and can never be mistaken for its distant cousin 'yes' or even the shirttail relative 'maybe'. Sesame Street even had a whole song about it called "The Word Is No", I still remember how it goes and I sing it around the house from time time to remind my kids that some things never go out of style. My children, no appreciation for the classics.
My beloved HATES it when the kids are mad, they know this and use it to their advantage when I'm not around. He finds it easier to give in and avoid the argument. I tell him he's missing out on the eye rolling, dramatic sighs and outrage that they've been practicing in their rooms. We need to give them a chance to put all that hard work to use, we're giving them an outlet for their secret thespian dream. How are they going to win an Oscar if they can't hone their skills early in life? The high drama of a courtroom scene can be drawn directly from the sense of outrage and injustice that sprung from within them when I refused to buy a cell phone. I'm giving them fodder for the bestselling book they'll write about their sad, desolate childhoods and Oprah will make them a book club pick. This is good for them.
And I get to wear the tiara.