Parenting Disclosures from my Childhood

I am happy to report that three days in, the new rules at my house are still working. No one has missed the Volvo bus to school. The girls understood the situation that while I was really upset on Sunday, this is not a punishment but more a reorganization. Thank you all for your comments, FB comments, and emails regarding this issue. I always appreciate hearing from friends, old and new, and I was happy to know I wasn’t alone with my beautiful monsters.

Mitch and I had lunch yesterday to discuss the girls, the new normal, summer jobs, etc. And we are on the same page with everything, he really never had morning issues with them so he doesn’t need to make changes in that area. We agreed that we bear much of the responsibility for the girls’ behavior. We both have tended to just do things ourselves because it is easier. This eruption has been years in the making but we have not wanted to deal with it.

Before we even had kids, Mitch was pointing out that some of my child rearing principles might be a bit off. I assured him that he was most definitely wrong and the way my parents did it was absolutely correct.

So here is some background on how I was raised.

My mother did everything. Everything. There are four kids in my family: me, John (16 months younger), Katie and Molly (twins 6 years younger than I am). One dad and usually two dogs. My mother got up at 5 a.m. just to have some time to herself with coffee, cigarette and her reading material for the day. Her reading material wasn’t the newspaper, it was all the notes left on the stove by her children the night before.

“Mom, Could you please hem these jeans so I can wear them tomorrow? Thanks!”

“Mom, please type this paper for me, it’s due 3rd period and has to be double spaced.” No computers back then.

“Mom, can I have only carrots and crackers in my lunch today?”

“Mom, can you iron this for me?”

Not kidding.

My mother in 1973 when she had an 8 year old, 7 year old and twin 2 year olds.

My mother in 1973 when she had an 8 year old, 7 year old and twin 2 year olds.

My mother taught me how to do laundry the summer before I went to college, which ruined the gig for my sisters because my mom realized the monster she had created.

I didn’t use an alarm clock till I went away to college. My mother would wake me up every morning, sitting on my bed and saying, “Maggie, now is the hour.” During my mother’s annual trips back east to visit her family, we would be left alone with my father which was terrifying on many levels. First of all, he didn’t know how to properly wake us up and would just walk down the hall pounding on doors and barking, “Get up!” He didn’t buy much at the grocery store other than canned soup and ice cream, although he did buy just about every flavor of both. So we had it pretty rough when mom was gone.

Come to think of it, I can’t remember how I took my Tetracycline for my acne when my mom was out of town. Mom and I had it down to a science. I had to take the medication an hour before I ate anything, which was tough because I like to eat as soon as I get up so we worked out a system.

How to give teenage Maggie medication:

  1. Enter her room quietly around 5 a.m. holding one Tetracycline pill and a glass of water.
  2. Gently nudge Maggie awake.
  3. Maggie will hold out her hand.
  4. Place pill in Maggie’s hand.
  5. Maggie will put pill in her mouth and hold out her hand again.
  6. Place glass of water in Maggie’s hand.
  7. Maggie will swallow the pill with a gulp of water and hand the glass back.
  8. Quietly leave Maggie’s room. Return in an hour to wake her for school.

If all goes as it should, Maggie will not have ever opened her eyes.

I don’t know how I wound up spoiling my children.

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28 thoughts on “Parenting Disclosures from my Childhood

  1. El Guapo says:

    Actually, it sounds like you and your sisters were very loved!
    Add in modern conveniences, and I imagine it was very easy to spoil your daughters.
    Though the system you have them on now is probably teaching them a lot of what they’ll need when they’re living on their own, so double points to you for showing them both sides of it!

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Having a 14-year-old and soon-to-be 17-year-old, we, too, are moving our kids toward independence. It isn’t always easy, but they have to learn. But on those days when the eye-rolls and grunts abound, because they “have to do everything” (their perception, not reality), I swear it would just be easier to do it myself!

  3. Addie says:

    Love the Mom photo. Love, love, love it.

  4. Hey! I loved your new rules!!! Typed a comment into my dumb phone and it didn’t go through. Dumb android. The hard part comes when there is resistance. The best thing you can do is just be so sorry… ‘so sorry you were late to school…we’ll get this figured out.’ not SEE I TOLD YOU YOU IDIOTS’ You will want to help and not see them suffer…but be brave…you are creating strong women. you can do eeeeet!!!

  5. Your mother sounded like a pretty amazing woman. Mine was, too. Glad things are going well with your kids. Getting a handle on independence will come in very handy when they’re in college or just away from home in general.

  6. Ned's Blog says:

    Glad to hear things are going well with the reorganization and push for independence with the kiddos, and that you and your ex are both on the same page, Maggie. The fact that you recognize how you got to this point, from early childhood and onward, is as important for you to keep moving forward as it is for your daughters. Well done ;)

  7. Ina says:

    Maggie, kudos to you for both posts! I have many half-baked opinions to share, but won’t until they’re done or I’ve had more coffee, but brava! I want every parent to read both your posts. Hell, I wish every parent cared as much about their kids as you do – about your kids AND theirs.

  8. ha ha – oi, that’s tough. I think my husband had a similar upbringing. Good luck with the new rules!

  9. Childwoman says:

    I am glad things are going good with the new rules. Your mum was so pretty and sounds so amazing!!

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