If I want to ensure that a deep sigh billows out of my son’s mouth, all I need to do is begin a conversation with, “When I was your age…” and wait a beat. Whoomp! There it is! Few things are dependable in life, but this is one of them.
There are many parental clichés that pretty much guarantee some sign of exasperation or frustration from the younger crowd—be it an eye-roll, a huff, or a “mooooom.” Let’s just peek at a few…
I’m not sure why the phrase “When I was your age…” causes such eye-rolling. I mean, when my dad told me he had to bring butter sandwiches to school during the Great Depression, my ham sandwich did seem tastier.
So why doesn’t me telling my son about the chores I had when I was 12 make him feel better about the few things that I ask him to do? Shouldn’t the dusting seem more fun when you know you don’t have to vacuum (yet)? Shouldn’t using the pooper scooper seem like a blessing when I had to do it by hand? This is a good thing, right? Pooper scoopers rock next to hands and baggies!
Okay, so…maybe picking up poop is still…poopy.
We just have a few errands to run. Want to make a kid’s day? Just say these words upon pickup after school. I totally get it. Who wants to go shopping for shoes when there are games to be played and homework to be avoided?
Of course, when I do get the “awwwww…” from my kid, I add on the “when I was your age” comment, too, because…oh, boy. My kid totally scores in this category. I hate shopping, so I do it only when I have to, and even then I try to do it alone. But when I was his age (cue sigh), my mom would not only shop and shop, but it would be at boutiques where there were fancy upholstered sofas and everything was really quiet and I was supposed to sit there and wait for my mom to choose whichever dresses she wanted. It SUCKED. Maybe that’s why I hate shopping. My silver lining was that if we ended up at the mall, she might buy me some chocolate stars at the Sears candy counter. (Oh, my dear Lord do I sound old. Now I’M sighing…)
So…yeah…errands. I get it. (But he should count his lucky chocolate stars that they are as infrequent as they are.)
I feel like a broken record! This is usually a dance of mutual exasperation because broken record is synonymous with you are not listening to me! I know for me, I say it when I feel like I’m hosting a nag-a-thon of repetition—so I’m typically not expressing it like say, Mary Poppins would (or pretty much any Julie Andrews character). And for the kid? Well, does nagging ever feel good? Even though for whatever reason the request is not being fulfilled, it still feels like a little kid poking you in the ribs and saying “How ‘bout now? How ‘bout now? How ‘bout now?” over and over again.
Well…it’s a good thing vinyl is making a comeback so at least kids understand what this even means. “I feel like a broken download” just doesn’t work.
If I ever said that to my mom/dad…This one is a cousin to the dependable when I was your age phrase. I think that many of us choose to raise our kids in a way that encourages them to have a voice of their own that is different than how we were raised—but this can result in some blurred lines of respect and/or appropriateness.
“I TOLD you I would be there in a minute” would have so not flown in my house as a kid—and there’s no reason it should fly in my house as a mom, either. Of course, while the desired response is something along the lines of “Well, gosh, my dear, sweet Mom—since you’ve pointed out the differences in how you and I were raised, from now on I will only speak respectfully and appropriately. Thank you for enlightening me,” the actual response is an eye-roll followed by the “here we go again” unfocused stare.
Yep. This one is a keeper.
Finally, we’ve got a phrase that absolutely thrills the younger generation: Hey, I just created a Snapchat account! Let’s Snap! Ah, yes…there’s just nothing like social media encroachment to garner disdain from the kiddos. Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook—or any other up and coming app—kids love to be “friends” with or followed by their parents. Not. And while I certainly can understand that—after all, I wouldn’t want my mom hanging out on the front steps with me and my friends—the difference is that now the “front steps” are…the entire world. Given that, there needs to be some sort of relationship between kids, parents, and social media.
But just look at the bright side…in years to come, when you have your kids, you can say to them, “When I was your age, my parents made me friend them on Facebook!”
And then…wait for it…your kid will toss you an eye-roll…
…and you’ll be one of us.
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