Friday night is pizza night – at least about 90% of the time. It’s a self-reward for a long week’s work, and the kids love it. Winning all around, right?
In fact, right now it seems like there’s just not much winning to be found. See how much pizza is left there? That’s because the kids can currently only be pried away from their “own lives” to join the family for about 5 minutes before closing themselves back off in their room or basement man-cave (which used to mine – sigh). Their “personal” lives have become all-consuming. We’ve managed to hold to eating ONE FAMILY MEAL TOGETHER each day, but just barely. AND THIS IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC – THEY HAVE NO PLACE TO GO. Pardon the caps – my disbelief knows no other way to express itself.
Today, things change. I’m still the adult, right?
I’ve pretty much given up the notion that we can all do something enjoyable together like a game or movie night; there is always just too much fighting. We can’t agree on a movie, we can’t agree on a game, we can’t agree on the rules of said game, SHE CAN’T STAND THE WAY HE WIGGLES HIS LOOSE TOOTH WHILE WE TRY TO PLAY SAID GAME. Again with the all caps – sorry – just call me Mr. President.
But I CAN control the data flow to and from their many devices. I pay for the devices, I pay for the internet, I pay for the electricity, and – best of all – I have an app (and a closet that locks) to control it all. I guess I’ll be the bad guy.
It’s not just about limiting electronics for the sake of limiting electronics. For pete’s sake, it’s a pandemic, and my phone is a refuge, too. But we learned this week neither are showing up for their online classes nor completing their schoolwork, and my lever for making those things happen (you know, the “lever”? One of those “simple machines” you learn about in 6th grade science if you happen to show up for class?) is their access to electronics. His budding Fortnite career is about to go on hiatus, and her nightly Facetime chat groups are about to be shy one 15 year old girl.
Because we are going to learn about basic responsibility, even if it kills us, goshdarnit.
This isn’t new. It’s not like we’ve never tried to make them do anything for 15 and 12 years. It’s just that we get weary. I get weary, anyway, and staying on top and playing policeman eventually exhausts me, and I abdicate parental responsibility. I admit it. Some days, especially in the midst of a virally-dictated homebound state, it’s just easier to give up. Rules and expectations slide. They immediately recognize the weakness, like a pack of hyenas watching the limping, lagging zebra, and seize their chance. I can’t blame them. These are crazy times.
But I am the grown up.
(I am the grown up. I am the grown up. I am the grown up.)
I am the parent.
I have responsibilities.
Time for me to teach some.
I have a plan – one I will start working on as soon as I hit “publish”. This week is going to be better, or that may be the last leftover pizza I put in the fridge for a looooooooong time.
Wish me luck.
The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “the last thing you put in your fridge.” Start your post with the last thing you put in your fridge. Let your mind wander from there. Enjoy!
All the very best of luck. And perseverance. You’re gonna need it. Stick to your guns!
Oh gawd. I don’t have children and even I feel your pain. Good luck. And single pizza for one can still be ordered…