Here is The Rule* I have with my daughter: she’s not allowed to talk to me after 9:30pm. The Rule exists for two reasons:
- It’s past her bedtime; and,
- I’ve learned the hard way that nothing good comes of a conversation between us after 9:30pm.
Naturally, she is permitted to say “Goodnight, Mom” from her bedroom, or “I love you – you’re the best mom in the whole world” or “By the way, the fire has now spread to the living room”, but I’m a little low on patience and empathy after 9:00pm and we both know it’s just better if we just disperse and converse in the mornings or after school/work, when our respective dispositions have not yet deteriorated. Many a post-9:30pm discussion between the two of us has ended up with her being grounded until she’s 18 and me locking myself in the bathroom drinking wine on the toilet.
Besides, the late evening is my time to decompress, read and snore.
The other night she was in a particularly chatty mood about some epic middle school wrongdoing and I had to politely remind her of The Rule. She sighed sadly, but off she went and that was the end of that.
As consolation, I woke her 10 minutes earlier than usual the next morning and whispered, “Wanna chat while I get ready for work?” and she jumped out of bed with an enthusiastic, “Oh yes, Mom!” You know, surprisingly, the three males who live in this house have answered that very same question completely differently. Odd.
We worked through righting the wrong that was the concern the night before (without any alcohol or any removal of privileges, I might add). I then heard all about the unit on Mythology she is now studying at school and how she is part of a class skit. She quickly adds, “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s a class skit, no parents allowed.” reminding me of my other maternal failing: my developing irritation for school plays. So I ask her what part she has in this skit. “Oh, I’m playing Zeus” she says “Father of all the Gods.” I’m about to commend her teacher for dismantling some gender stereotyping, when she quickly adds, “… and I need to make a white beard.” This makes sense – Zeus had a pretty boss beard, and so should my daughter (for the skit). “Sure thing, Cookie, when is your skit?” I ask.
Why do I even ask …
I’m on my way to work; I have an afternoon appointment immediately after work and am then taking my son to his baseball game. I won’t be home until 9:00pm which is dangerously close to the time of The Rule. But really, how hard can this be? Cotton balls, Bristol board, glue, scissors, elastics. Piece of cake.
“I’ll see what I can do, Muffin”.
I really do miss the days of Three Martini Lunch. Not that I’ve ever had a Three Martini Lunch in my life except while on vacation. Still. Would be nice. Working moms are single-handedly responsible for decline of the Three Martini Lunch because we’re out buying Bristol board, cotton balls, glue – and most likely toilet paper and ketchup. Just once as a working mom, I’d like to have a Three Martini Lunch. Come to think of it, just once as a working mom, I’d like to have a lunch where I actually eat lunch.
Nevertheless, the purchases are made and the Gods of Olympus gaze favourably upon me today, for the baseball game ends early and I am able to get home in time to deliver materials for the beard of Zeus before the hour of The Rule.
Though her creation is looking a little more Suessish than Zeusish, I still think she’s going to make one mighty Zeus. As it sits on the kitchen counter to dry, she inquires, “Mom, do you know how to make a toga?”
I pause to think…
Yes, to make a really effective toga you must wrap yourself in a relatively clean, white bed sheet, walk across campus in aforementioned attire, attend a party hosted by fraternity boys of dubious character with questionable intentions, drink lethal amounts of really bad keg and wake up in a different bed sheet altogether with only a vague recollection of the last twelve hours.
“Mom? Do you?”
“Hmmmm, I’m not sure that I do. Go ask your Dad.”
* The Rule is subject to change without notice