I often tell my daughters that the letters of MOM stand for Mean Old Mom.
(Obviously, this comes up most often when they are railing against the fates, aka: punishment for their own bad behavior or choices.)
And you know what? I take pride in that. It means I understand my place in life, my job description. And that I can stand my ground.
I am not their friend. Friendly? Yes, of course. But not their friend. I am their MOTHER, which means I have to be willing to catch them when they fall, but also break my foot off in their asses when they mess up.
It's a stance that is far too rare in today's parents-as-buddies society.
You know - the ones who buy the kegs for the parties, set up fake MySpace accounts to harrass one of their child's peers, and provide excuses for every misstep their precious angels make.
Those stories fill the newspapers and websites.
So when a parent comes along who is not afraid to out their own child for some seriously bad behavior? Well, I only wish I knew how to play the trumpet because they deserve as much fanfare as possible.
Meet Jane Hambleton of Des Moines, Iowa. Jane is mother to a 19 year old son.
See Jane set two rules for son when giving him a car at Thankgiving: No booze. No leaving it unlocked.
See Jane find alcohol under front seat of son's car.
See Jane take out ad in paper and sell car out from under errant son.
That's right. Jane set the rules and enforced them with zero tolerance.
Her ad reads:
"OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."
Since placing the ad, she has fielded many calls - not just for purchase of the car, but from medical personnel, emergency room nurses, doctors - folks all too familiar with the by-products of teen drinking and driving - thanking her for taking such a hard line stance.
"It's overwhelming the number of calls I've gotten from people saying 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady."'
Because she's not. She is doing what a parent is supposed to do. Set rules, follow up to see if they are, in fact, being adhered to, and when they are broken, insure consequences follow. Consequences that send a fast and clear message.
Her son, for his part, denies that the alcohol belonged to him. Jane says she is inclined to believe him, but facts are facts - the stuff was in HIS car. Ergo he is guilty by association. Someone he allowed in was drinking, and that's bad enough.
See son sulk.
But see son learn life lesson.
Go Jane, Go.