“Here. Put these socks on.” I say in a hurry.
“But Mommy, those socks don’t match”
“It’s fine. Just put them on.”
*stares at me not believing what I just said.
“Really, it’s fine! No one sees your socks anyway!”
*He’s still staring at me
“It’s cool to wear socks that don’t match now.”
This convinces him and he finally puts his socks on that don’t match, but I can tell he is still skeptical. He is no doubt wondering why Mom let him break this rule of sock-matching.
You see, I wrote a post once about how much of a rule-follower I am. And, how I caught my 6 year old reading rules that were posted at the local playground. What kid does that? Mine. So when he looked at me with that stare like, “Is she for real?” when I allowed him to wear two mis-matched socks to school, it was yet another eye-opening moment.
I have to chill the heck out with this mothering thing.
Is there really a rule that you have to wear socks that match? No. But, obviously I have subconsciously drilled this into my kids’ brains. Just like there is no rule that I have to wait to have my Diet Coke until I’ve already had 4 glasses of water. You see, I’m living by the 8 glasses of water a day recommendation. So I try to…..never mind.
I clearly have a problem. Breaking the rules is difficult for me. And, while I always dreamed of being that mother that would let her kids break societal norms, that is clearly NOT what is going on in my household from day to day.
My daughter has timed reading tests. They’re stupid mostly because she is reading two grade levels above the grade she is in. So, she reads them like I would read Bob Books. So, we’re supposed to track how many words she reads in one minute and how many mistakes she makes. Repeat this five times in one week. See? Stupid.
One week, she came home with a paragraph. Like, literally. One paragraph. We had to read it 5 times in the same week. So, the last time, my husband was in charge of doing it. Afterward, instead of marking down the number of times she read the paragraph and how many mistakes she made, he broke a rule. He had her repeat it to him without looking. You know, to see if she memorized it. And, apparently, she had. So, on the form, he wrote down, “memorized with only 10 mistakes”. He showed it to me and of course I said, “No!! You can’t put that. Make her read it.” But, she was already in bed, and I didn’t win that argument. He reminded me how stupid the homework was in the first place. He had a point.
So, you see, breaking rules is a hard thing for me. So, when I heard about Emily’s challengeover on her blog, I literally could think of like two times I broke a rule. I never snuck out of the house growing up, I never skipped class, never shoplifted a piece of gum, and I’ve never even tasted alcohol. Seriously. I haven’t.
But, there was that one time….
I was in middle school. I had this friend that was not exactly a good influence. She was new in town and ended up only going to my school for one year. But, in that one year, I spent the night at her house a couple of times and it was like a different world over there. First, her house was giant compared to mine. And her parents were never around. I can’t even remember what they looked like. I have a vague memory of a father like figure, but I don’t know if I ever met her mother. But, what I do remember doing at her house were things like playing with a ouija board, pretending to do seances, and the time she “accidentally”popped her dad’s porno movie in and I saw about 20 seconds of it that took me YEARS to erase from my memory. So, you see? She was a good influence.
One night, she invited me to go to the movie with her. She had a plan. One I didn’t exactly know about until it was too late. I innocently told my parents we were going to see Field of Dreams. I’m not exactly sure why that was the movie of choice at the time, and why a middle-school girl of 13 would want to see a movie about baseball, but that’s what I thought we were going to see. But, when we got there, and bought our tickets, she told me about her plan. We weren’t going to see field of dreams after all. We were going to see Pet Cemetery. We had to sneak in. And look like 18 year olds. I. Was. Terrified.
First of all, I hated scary movies. Second of all, I was breaking a rule. Sneaking into a scary, Rated R movie was like a double whammy. I remember we sat in the back, and were trying to sit up as tall as possible. You know, to look like respectable 18 year olds. At one point, an employee walked in and my heart was racing. I froze and just knew I was going to get caught. But, I really doubt he even gave us a second glance. I mean, he was a movie theatre employee after all, but to me he felt like the police!
I don’t remember much about the movie now except for an evil cat, but I do remember how I felt when I got home and my Dad asked how the movie was. I’m sure that he really DID want to see it. I remember mustering up something like, “Oh, it was good” and then quickly trying to change the subject. I felt horrible. And for the longest time, anytime even mentioned the movie, Field of Dreams, I broke out into a cold sweat.
In the end, there was no harm done, right? But, my conscience sure did get a work out.
I don’t know what the answer is with helping my kids understand the difference between real rules and ones we set for ourselves, but hopefully when they do break one, I will go a little easier on them thanks to a past discretion of my own. As innocent as it may have been.
What’s a rule YOU have broken?
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