A message from a retired Mom.

You made me do it.

Well, maybe not you personally, but some of you out there have caused me to take this drastic step.

So, I’m wearing my old Mom jeans. And in order to be in the right frame of mind for this column I have made sure I am totally sleep-deprived, have not washed my hair and am entirely make-up free.

This morning, just to make this completely realistic in a throw-back kind of way, I even peeled a banana, sliced it, and made sure most of it ended up mashed into the kitchen floor.

Alright.

I am now in full Mom mode.

I think I remember how to do this.  Here goes:

America! Stop fighting with each other.

In this family we don’t call each other names.

We don’t talk to each other like that.

I don’t care what your sister or brother said to you. You don’t get to respond in that mean way.

And you! Don’t use that tone of voice. You need to treat your siblings with respect. It hurts their feelings when you tease them. And stop rolling your eyes at each other. I can see what you are doing. You know that drives everyone crazy.

Also, no more following your brothers and sisters around and bothering them when they are minding their own business.

It doesn’t matter that they removed the head from your Barbie doll and threw it down the steps.

I know that is unacceptable behavior. I understand you loved that Barbie and you haven’t even had a chance to ruin her hair with stolen nail scissors yet.

I get it. It is hurtful. But that doesn’t mean in response you get to stand and glare at your brother while he is wolfing down his PB & J.

Because we are family. And family doesn’t behave like that.

We use our words.

So if you have a grievance, legitimate or otherwise, just say so. Say it in calm measured tones.

Tell your brother what he did was hurtful.

Tell your sister she can’t just come in your space and mess with your things.

If you need a time-out to calm down first, please go ahead and take it. The stairs in my house are always available for quiet sitting whenever someone needs a little alone time to think about their actions.

I bet while you’re sitting there quietly, Poppi the cranky cat will even visit to see what you are up to.

Then, you say your piece.

Then, you remember deep inside you love your brother and sister.

You remember we are family and family sticks together.

And then, while I’m cleaning the mashed banana off the kitchen floor I expect you to pick up the clothes from the floor of your rooms. Because when we work together to clean things up it is a bonding experience that brings us closer together.

Now, have a good day. Get along where you can and hold your tongue where you can’t.

Be careful crossing the street. Always look both ways.

And I put a cookie in your lunch sack for later.

Because I am so proud of you.

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