I Knew I Was an Adult When: I made my boundaries clear with my family

Oct 21, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET
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I knew I was an adult when I moved back to my hometown with husband, toddler and baby in tow. We had just moved into our brand-new house and I had invited my siblings over to see it. They all had young children with rowdy boys at the helm of all the activities.

As we showed everyone the house, the boys started getting impatient and started hiding in the cupboards, slamming doors, running around madly and generally being unruly. My husband and I asked them to settle down and stop what they were doing. "Boys, please... behave and stop slamming the cupboard doors!" I yelled. My sister and sister-in-law did not take kindly to our reprimands.

A few days later, my mother called to say that this had not been received well and that "this had never happened before." I remember holding back tears as I listen to my mother defend the unruly actions of the kids and scold us for our reaction. "Boys will be boys... they get into things."

I took a deep breath and then made it perfectly clear: "Our house, our rules. You are right, boys will be boys, but that does not mean that they get to run wild and slam doors in our house." I remember saying, "I may be the youngest in this family but I am not a 'baby sister' anymore. I have a husband, a home, two kids and I'm in my mid-thirties. I'm not a little kid that you can reprimand. Please know that the kids will have to respect our rules when they are in our house."

From that day forward, I was always known at the "strict aunt." An unfair moniker to be sure, but I have no regrets. After all, it was our house.

I'm not sure they got that message for years, but I stood my ground that day and my husband and I were happier for it.