Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: It’s nice to be wanted. February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s funny how quickly your kids grow up.  One day they desperately need you and think you’re the bees knees, and the next they want you to drop them a long way from the school gate, or better still not be seen ANYWHERE with them.  And forget hugs and kisses – Yuk!

In our house we still have both extremes.  My men-children are only interested in me for two things – money and transport (the latter only when it suits them but not before or after a party)!  Oh and ensuring their clothes are washed, folded, ironed, replaced, etc, bountiful quantities of food are in the fridge, a hot meal is on the table each night, and the dishwasher miraculously fills and empties itself on a daily basis – but they’re all things that happen automatically, aren’t they?  And lest Mother of a Man-Child or Father of a Man-Child should complain, the response – “Well you decided to have children.  So that’s your job!!!”

Thankfully my dismay is tempered by the joy of having Sister of a Man-Child, who is still at the delightful age of complete and utter adoration for her parents.  When we go out she would rather we stay home than leave her with the Men-Children (can’t blame her really), and she loves every opportunity to jump into our bed for cuddles.  The highlight of her year is having Mum on tuck-shop duty (a very, very important event) that requires Mother of a Man-Child to be extremely vigilant to get on the roster, and then costs me at least $20 due to all the sudden best friends Sister of a Man-Child seems to have gained at school on said tuck-shop day.

Being Mother of a Man-Child is doubly hard with my sons as they naturally orient to other males at this age (oh and females of their OWN age).   So one can feel quite left out at times – not easy for someone who likes to be in control and in the middle of everything.  Of course they don’t mean it, it’s just the differences between the sexes becoming apparent.   Yes I know I need to get off the adolescent bridge, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it… (“He’ll be Okay” by Celia Lashlie).

No doubt when Sister of a Man-Child is older, she and I will share “girls stuff” in the same way the boys and their father share “boys stuff”.   But I also hope my daughter will maintain a special relationship with her father, and in time the boys and I will re-establish a special mother-son relationship.  I know my father enjoys great relationships with each of his daughters (he was blessed to have four of us) and we wouldn’t trade them for the world.   🙂

To read more on Man-Child books and the adolescent bridge:

https://motherofamanchild.com/2010/05/28/mother-of-a-man-child-its-a-mans-world/

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Pocket Money-A Different Approach? January 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

coinsThe age-old questions about pocket-money have again raised their heads in our household.  How much should we pay our men-children?  What chores should they have to do on a daily/weekly basis to earn it?  How do we ensure they actually DO anything to help around the house?  Should we threaten no pocket-money at all to encourage them to get a job and partially fund themselves?

Our approach to date has been a weekly allowance, paid to them to spend as they see fit.  It’s not a lot I admit ($15 week) but in addition we’ve also pay $30 per month for their mobile phone usage (no ridiculous plans for us, pre-paid is fine for teenagers).  Not surprisingly the $15 is spent at Maccas, Grill’d, or various other food establishments – on reflection it wouldn’t go far would it?  You can spend $10 on lunch without even trying.  And then we pay for all “necessary” items, including clothes, haircuts, shoes etc.

I should add there are limits imposed here too – the other day Man-Child I wanted another haircut, since he likes it kept just at a certain length.  Having had one just 4 weeks earlier I said I was prepared to pay for haircuts on a regular basis, but that 4 weekly was a little too high maintenance for a teenage boy.

Our main issue is this – they currently do NOTHING to earn the $15.  Their bedrooms seem destined to remain like a tip site, the dishwasher remains full of clean dishes, the towels stay on the bathroom floor, the dirty dishes are left wherever they used them and the dirty clothes never make it to the laundry.  It’s even worse when they’re on holidays and have all day to attend to these trifling tasks and just don’t bother.  Yes I know it’s all perfectly normal teenage behaviour, but as Mother of a Man-Child and Father of a Man-Child both work full-time, a little help would be more than appreciated.

The other week Man-Child I was heading off for a holiday with a friend.  I asked him to ensure his room was left clean so I wouldn’t have to endure the sight of it for five days.  Sure, no problems.  I later discovered that this was achieved by moving every item that was in my sight line from the hallway to behind the door, thereby achieving my goal (clean room) and his (not to do it)!

Man-Child II is equally frustrating.  As you know in the midst of our renovations, Mother of a Man-Child is only just holding it together, being the neat freak that I am.  Now that the builders are working on a daily basis inside the house, instead of up in the roof, the dust, dirt and piles of building materials are slowly invading every spare inch of our home.   So I was literally BEGGING Man-Child II to clean up his room (I kid you not I was on the verge of tears and asking him to please just do it for my sanity) and he smugly replied “it’s simple really, if you don’t want to look at it, just close the door”.  I explained I also liked to see daylight in the house so he simply said he would clean his room “later”!  Of course that meant he would make a half-hearted attempt at 2am and that basically it wouldn’t be done.

BTW, we’re not just talking about wet towels and clean and dirty clothes on the floor, along with various other teenage flotsam and jetsam.  It also included the dirty frying pan and utensils that Man-Child II had used to make bacon and eggs, and then parked in the kitchen sink yet again for us to clean.  As is customary, Father of a Man-Child had parked the afore-mentioned frying pay in his bedroom, on his bed.  It had been on the floor for three days at this point.  Nice!

So our recent idea for pocket-money is to stop making the regular payments and move to an as-needs basis.  So when they ask for $20 to go to the movies, we can say “sure, no problems, but just before you get it you need to clean your room and empty the dishwasher”.  This way we get what we want, and they get what they want, and theoretically we should all end up satisfied.  What remains to be seen is whether or not we will end up much worse off financially via this approach?  But at least we will feel like we’re extracting some value for the money spent.  Oh and we’ll no doubt have to endure a man-child tantrum along with the request to do anything.

I’m sure they’ll find a way to manipulate the system to their advantage, but we figure it’s worth a try.  I know the other approach is to give them a large sum of money for the month/term and say there, everything comes out of that amount, but I don’t think our men-children are quite that disciplined as yet and I can see $300 disappearing in two weeks flat.

So that’s the idea readers.  Any thoughts or past experiences and words of wisdom welcome.  I know this is an age-old problem, so I’m sure there’s a good solution.  What do you do for your kids?  Or if you’re not at that point, what did your parents do for you?  If it’s a really good idea I might even pay you!  LOL.

To read my previous musings on this topic see the links below:

https://motherofamanchild.com/2010/06/04/mother-of-a-man-child-pocket-money-its-never-enough-is-it/

https://motherofamanchild.com/2010/09/03/mother-of-a-man-child-learning-the-value-of-a-dollar/

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Be Alert But Not Alarmed! December 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sometimes my men-children will share some random piece of information with me.  At the time, I typically think nothing of it, said information being fairly innocuous, but some days later, it’s more than likely that small but important piece of data will be linked to an event, and all the pieces will fall into place!

Here’s a recent example of the plotting and under-handedness of my men-children.  As is the practice in private schools, as we all know, the more you pay, the less time they attend.  So as we approach the end of their school term and the year, exams have been finished (that was a painful period trust me) and they are preparing for two months holiday (geez, I’ll be lucky to ever see long service leave and they get this every year).

Man-Child I casually mentioned to me the other day that his teacher had told them:  “Off the record boys, as next week is the last week of school, it doesn’t really matter if you come to school or not on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but make sure you’re here for Monday (results day) and Friday (last day).”

My first thought – well, that’s a fabulous attitude to have in a school with fees the size of the national debt of Greece!  My second thought –  hell no, I want to reduce their school holidays, not increase them.

So my response to my son:  “You are going to school next week.  Every day.  I think that’s the wrong attitude for your teacher and the school to have.  Blah, Blah…….”  No doubt I ranted for a few minutes, as I tend to do, and no doubt Man-Child I stopped listening after the first 5 seconds.  But really, the message was pretty simple.  Go. To. School.

Hence you can imagine my surprise earlier this week when I received a call from Man-Child II.  He was at a school, but apparently his brother was not.  Upon the Head of Middle School noticing this, he asked my son where his twin brother was.  And realizing he had not attended school, simply said “Ring your Mother”.    Now for those who are wondering, the Head of Middle School happens to know us and our sons particularly well, having had several visits to his office during the year.  And clearly he knows who the boss is in our place – good call!

So I ring Father of a Man-Child first, to check what he knows about this situation.  He assures me that he told him to go to school, having found him lolling about in bed well after he should have headed to school.

Next I ring Man-Child I, who naturally doesn’t pick up the home phone or mobile.  So I text him:  “Get your arse to school.  You don’t have permission to stay home.  Call me ASAP”.  Reply:  “I’m at (Aunt’s) house, doing work for her.  I told Dad that.  And my form teacher even said it’s up to you and you parents if you come to school, ‘cause today we don’t do anything.”

So here’s the thing.  I obviously didn’t approve and had made my intentions pretty clear last week.  Father of a Man-Child didn’t approve, but clearly didn’t put his foot down quite strongly enough, and so Man-Child I takes the usual liberty and decides for himself that he now has tacit approval from said parent not to attend school.  Grrrr.

The up-shot of all this.  I eventually spoke to Man-Child I on the phone, and told him to get to school (insert very colourful language by mother at this point of the conversation).  He finished the job he was doing, and headed home only to discover himself locked out of the house.  Naturally he had left his house key and brain cells at home earlier that morning.  So he never made it to school.

Mother of a Man-Child:  0.  Man-Child I:  1.  Damn, I so hate to lose.  And am now giving Father of a Man-Child lessons in how to be much a much more hard-nosed parent – problem being he’s always been a softy, so it’s a bit of a stretch.  Hence it invariably falls to me “Gina” (the hard-faced-bitch) every time.

PS.  In case you’re wondering, no that is not a picture of me in the photo – I look far younger!!!   LOL!

 

Mother of a Man-Child: Is Cheap, Is Good! November 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Man-Child I recently ventured to the Spring Carnival.  This was the second year he’d attended the races, this year on his own with some mates.  Off he went looking every bit the dandy – gel in hair, pink shirt and tie and his navy pin-striped suit.   A suit that cost him $20 at the opp-shop – don’t you love it!

Of course when the idea of the races was initially raised, it was first of all about securing a ticket.  And not just any ticket, of course it had to be one that got you into the member’s section, and all the right car parks.  Fortunately, my father is a member and so was able to purchase one for him – so step one of the plan was achieved.

Second step of the plan was what to wear – no questions here.  Every 14-year-old boy in the members is decked out in a suit – and Man-Child I had similar intentions.  Unfortunately for me, the suit he’d worn two years ago was just a little too tight owing to a massive, but natural growth spurt (even Warwick Capper wouldn’t have worn it).

This first suit I actually picked up at an opp shop for $20, when Man-Child I needed it for a Year 6 school play.  I couldn’t believe when I found it, because it literally was a boy’s suit, rather than a man’s suit.  It fitted him like a glove – if I’d told someone it was tailor-made they would have believed me.  In Year 6, you can imagine all his mates thought his suit was awesome, and therefore all started visiting opp shops to find their own suits – alas to no avail.

Wind the clock forward, we’re now at a nice private school, with some moneyed friends, and the opp-shop option, or god forbid “borrowing” one is now apparently out of the question!!!   Grrrr.  My case was not helped by Father of a Man-Child telling him of course he could hire a suit so he looked like the stud he is and could pick up chics at the races.  Fabulous!  That’s male bonding for you.  Of course neither of them remembered it cost $80 for the privilege.

So off goes Man-Child I with a mate to hire said suit after I reluctantly agreed.  Naturally I receive the call about five minutes later from the store.  He doesn’t want the $80 plain black suit, he wants the $130 pin-stripe suit – I just HATE being fleeced.  Again, I reluctantly agree, recalling myself how important it is to look good and fit in when you’re 14.  He proudly shows me at home what he’s hired.  His mate is fortunate that his parents have agreed to buy him one as he had a few functions he can wear it to in coming months.

However, to Man-Child I’s absolute credit, and my delight, he tells me a day later he’s found a suit he thinks will fit – at an opp-shop.  I am thrilled – not just at saving money, but that he actually considered this was an option and got off his butt to look.  I asked if his friend was with him at the time, he admitted no, but was not at all too proud to tell him of his great find.  So he’s both smart and humble – now we’re getting somewhere people!!

Father of a Man-Child was able to check it out the next day and it turns out it was a pretty decent suit for $20.  So he bought it on the spot.  Now I must admit, by the time we paid for it to be dry-cleaned, and have the pants taken up and in at the waist a little, it set us back about $80 all up.  But for $80 Man-Child I now has a suit that will do him (or Man-Child II for that matter) for the next two years.  You don’t have to be Einstein to know we’re way ahead already.  And just quietly, I’m pretty miffed that common sense prevailed at the end of the day.  Just one of many lessons to be learned.

PS.  Post a long Saturday at the races, and a rather social Sunday for Man-Child I, he complained he was tired on Sunday evening and couldn’t possibly attend school rowing training on Monday morning with a 6am start.   He learned another quick lesson from me – your choice to have a busy social life does not mean you can elect to avoid any other responsibilities, especially school!  Who lets’ their kids get away with this stuff?