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:

  1. It’s past her bedtime; and,
  1. 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

35 Responses to The Beard of Zeus…

  • I love this piece!! I have a similar rule with my son. After 9:30 I have been known to promise all sorts of things that my awake and sane self would never do. We have a rule that anything I say after 9:30 or when I’m sound asleep does not count and needs to be re-visited!! I so enjoy your site, thanks for the laugh!!

  • Astra, you really knocked this out of the park. “The fire has spread to the living room.” Killer. But the toga bit is the bomb.

    I envy your talent for sure, and admire your ability to blog in addition to your busy, no-time-to-eat-or drink-at-lunch schedule.

    • Awwww, thank you Amy! I am continually inspired by my new EBWW friends!! As for time? Well, the writing is as good a therapy as the wine … sometimes!

  • More Seussish than Zeusish – wonderful start to finish. Good call on the toga, too.

  • What an excellent rule! I often am accused of going back on my word when I claim not to know what the hell the girls are talking about. Surely, I would never agree to host an all-night monster movie bash on Friday the 13th for a bunch of 13 year old girls. They’re screamers you know.

    I’ve been away for the past three days and last night my younger daughter called to update me on the outcome of the latest middle school drama. I hadn’t realized how involved I’d become till a warm sense of relief overcame me by the news that Emily asked Nick to the dance even though she only likes him as a friend, but everyone was upset that Nick said he wasn’t going—including his mother, who then enlisted the girls help to persuade him to go and those tricksters turned it around on him to be the nice guy and go with Emily so she didn’t have to go alone. I finally got a good nights sleep.

    • I live in constant fear of the “but you said”/”oh, no I didn’t” argument and another good reason for The Rule. I love – and relate to – your middle school drama. Truly “all’s well that end’s well” should be our going line, right?

  • I wish I had thought of this rule when the kids were younger. Would have saved a lot of argument and bad feelings. Very funny post. Hope your daughter’s skit goes well.

    • Thanks Anne,
      Sometimes The Rule doesn’t work out so well if she really adamant about making her point. Those are the evenings I pre-emptively lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine! She got an A+ by the way!

  • What a great rule! It makes a lot of sense to me.

  • We have a similar rule that basically goes like this: After you’ve been tucked in to your bed and I have left your room to go BE BY MYSELF, the only purposes for which you are allowed to come find me before it’s time to wake up are if your hair is on fire or you are bleeding from your eyeballs.

    I can totally relate to the ‘tomorrow’ comment from your daughter. If I had a nickel for every time I was asked to do something with less than 24 hours’ notice, we’d all be having 3-martini lunches!

    Thanks for the laugh!

    • Oh Kario, your allowable exceptions to The Rule had me busting a gut! I think I may have to use them once in a while! Sounds like we both need a 3-martini lunch 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by! ~A

  • Astra, this is hilarious! I’m glad you make allowances in case of fire or flooding (I assume). At least, when she told you when she’d need the beard, it wasn’t for “today.” Though that would have made for an even funnier post. Oh, well. 😉

    • Thank you Monica, glad it made you laugh. Yes, had she told me she needed it for that day, we would have had to resort to making the beard of Zeus out of dog hair. Come to think of it …

  • Brilliant post Astra! (though you could’ve shared the principles of The Rule with me sooner!!!)

    I especially admire your calm demeanor with ‘prop’ requests and timeline given with no @#$* words ( …or were they implied yet not stated?? 😉 )

  • Great stuff! Is it possible you’re getting funnier?!? I needed this tonight (I read it while sitting on the toilet drinking wine:))

  • I absolutely loved this article. Being the mother of four grown children I can SO relate to ‘The Rule’ and parenting moments. I used to lose it when I would arrive home from work at 9.45 p.m. at night to a request from a teacher to teach my child a rule or concept they should have been taught in class. On several occasions I wrote letters explaining that as a single parent I was doing my job to the best of my ability and asking them if they would do theirs! Whilst it’s great to look back and laugh I certainly wouldn’t wish to go through those days again. Whatever they gave you for Mother’s Day it wasn’t enough, because it should have been a gold medal!

  • Astra, you have knocked it out of the ball park with this post! An enthusiastic two thumbs up! I’m still laughing at, “Though her creation is looking a little more Suessish than Zeusish…” bwhahaha! Why wasn’t I informed of “The Rule’s” existence when my kids were growing up?? To think of the many migraines and near fatal aneurysms that could have been avoided! And why haven’t I enjoyed a Three Martini Lunch yet even though both my children are grown? Hell, why haven’t I enjoyed lunch “out”? Dear Lord, we live wretched lives! I say we nix all this costume making, beard prepping, and idle kid chatter and hit a classy bar! And make my martini dirty! hee hee! Wonderfully funny post, friend! 🙂

  • I just re-read this, Astra, and it had me in stitches all over again. I think you need to find a venue or a contest to submit this to. Heck, you might even submit it for the EB contest in 2014. Nah, it would be staying in the dark too long… Absolutely brilliant!

  • I’m single and have no kids so I don’t know what it’s like to not have time to myself, but I do know a wonderful and charming story when I read it. Thoroughly enjoyable, Astra. What a smart rule, and it sounds like it’s teaching your daughter a valuable lesson about respecting other people’s time. I’m sure she made a wonderful Zeus!

  • Why didn’t I enforce the 9:30 rule? Brilliant Astra…and so is this piece of writing. Really funny. You capture just what it’s like to be in the grips of a household full of expectations, challenges, not to mention coming up with outfits under short notice. I feel like your writing is truly evolving…already wonderful, now it’s blown the top off the ballpoint. Great stuff!

  • I wonder about us moms. I have the 8:30 rule, but it’s all about me. That’s when I start writing at that time, or sit and talk to the shadows on the wall, stare into the abyss of my mind looking for an opening. I walk into my room, sit on my bed and wait for the magic to come into my room and whisk me away on a magic carpet. Many a nights my fingers and are soaring the seven seas when the door opens and a midget person sits on the love seat and stares at me. I will them away, pretend I don’t hear the huffing and puffing, feel the beady little eyes boring into my soul. Yes, the rules are disrespected ALL THE TIME. You had me in stitches. All the nights I have sacrificed the killer sentence to listen to a story about a drama, hold a hand, dab the tears away. Motherhood aside, beautiful story and equally strong writing, and how creative non-fiction is meant to be written. Bravo.

    • Thank you Brenda! True, the rules are not always respected but hopefully (as Jayne mentioned) we manage to teach them a teeny bit of respect for each other’s private time. I could totally picture you in YOUR time, endeavouring to be whisked away by the words, only to be haunted by a little midget!

  • Are you kidding me??? You didn’t need that Erma Bombeck conference!!

    This is a hoot. Love the toga bit with switching of bedsheets. “really bad keg” gets a two thumbs up. Sitting in the loo on the throne with bottle of burgundy is a nice visual.

    Truly superb!!

  • I’m totally snorting and fully support your rule. Very wise and I am sure it is nicer to enjoy your evening glass of wine in a room other than the bathroom.

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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