According to Rox, her boyfriend is "quite scared" of me! Good grief. When I expressed my shock at this, Paula then added that "all her friends are quite scared of me too." Huh?
My initial reaction was to shrug my shoulders and think - so what? Quite frankly when your 19 year old daughter's boyfriend is scared of you it's actually quite a good thing, no?
But to be honest, I am a little bit offended! I always want my girls' friends to feel welcome in our home and I would imagine that if they consider me to be a "scary mother" they are not feeling exactly welcome are they?
I actually know what is at the root of all of this, it's the fact that if I have a problem with one of my girls while their friends are there, I don't shut up about it, I deal with the issue there and then. I would never have a full-on screaming match with them in front of their friends (obviously!) but I will go and give them instructions and say if something is bugging me. It seems that their friends find this......frightening.
For example: a couple of weeks ago Rox had her boy-friend staying with us for the weekend and Paula had a couple of friends over.
Picture the scene: the masses have eaten - I walk through the lounge and notice various plates with the detritus of the meals left in them and half empty cooldrink glasses left all over the place. I'm a bit unhappy about this*, as when the girls have friends over I still expect them to clean up after meals etc. So I walk through to Paula's bedroom to ask her to please clean up the bits and pieces from their meal that are left in the lounge, only to discover that her bed has not been made. There she is, entertaining her friends in her bed-room after lunch, with an unmade bed! Hello! In my household this is just totally unacceptable. Do I shut up about it and wait until her friends are gone? I just can't do it! So I went in there and calmly told her that I expected her bed to be made immediately and that she should clean up the mess they had left in the lounge after lunch. I didn't rant and rave, I just stated my case.
I gather from Rox and Paula that it is scenes such as this which have caused me to be perceived as "scary". I just don't get it! Surely other mothers don't leave things like this unmentioned? Am I a monster?
*When my girls have friends over it always amazes me that they will leave wet swimming towels, empty cooldrink glasses, coffee mugs and plates lying about all over the place. Is it unnatural of me to expect that teenagers are capable of carrying mugs and plates to the sink? I am more than happy to attend to dishwashing etc when my girls are entertaining guests but I think it's a bit insulting when these teenage guests expect me to carry their dirty coffee mugs from the lounge to the kitchen. Is it just me being anal?? Paula tells me that at one friend's house the friend will actually yell at her mother from in-front of the TV, asking her to bring them juice!! Unbelievable!
So having given this matter some thought, I have decided that if I am known as The Scary Mom, that's actually perfectly okay with me! In fact, I am beginning to like it.
Photo by kevindooley courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons