As a new mother, I gave up Stephen King and New Yorker cartoons and filled the minutes before bed with “how to raise a perfect child” literature. By the time my kids were toddlers, I had acquired enough information to usher them into middle age.
Now, a decade later, I am a Rogue Mom.
I think Minecraft is cool and Fortnight is even cooler. I’m all for abusing phones before homework and for study breaks. (I once even let my 13-yr-old eat dinner in his room because his video game guy was dehydrated, and his friend’s avatar was trying desperately to reach him with a canteen.)
I use ultra-violent rhetoric as a form of communication. “Brush your teeth or I will punch you in the gullet” ; “Stop poking the dog or mom will beat you bloody.” And, if my teen or tween says, “How ‘bout you bring out the trash yourself?”—I might say a variation of “How ‘bout I hit you in the face with a frying pan?” (They can threaten to do me bodily harm too—the more creative the threat the better!)
I maintain that ding-dong-ditch is a victimless crime and even quietly snigger when the grouchy witch down the street (the one who calls the cops on ”suspicious-looking” kids) becomes a primary target. In my mind, juveniles scattering from the crime scene at 1000 mph is legitimate exercise, and vigilante justice just makes good sense at times.
I think “turn other cheek” is for wussies. I am a “if-that-kid-punched-you-then-punch-him-back” kind of mom. Once the first blow lands it’s self-defense—and use your tae kwon do if you need to. That’s why we invested in a martial arts’ education instead of piano lessons.
I embarrass my kids in front of their peers—IF they forget that respecting your mother is not optional. A salty freshman who chooses to tell the rest of the carpool that his mom is a housewife, “who sits around and does nothing all day…”? I might choose to pull up to the varsity soccer team, let him out, and yell, “Joey-boy, mama loves you and sends you smooches!” Public humiliation is the most effective smackdown I know.
I won’t make my kids eat okra and a microwaved potpie is an acceptable dinner. I let them negotiate the snow barefoot and have marshmallow wars in the front yard. I’m okay with them smashing stuff with hammers, I sometimes overlook swearing, and I allow movies with inappropriate amounts of gore and air-borne intestines. I think every kid should have a pocket knife and some firecrackers in their arsenal.
I used to care what other parents thought of my *non-traditional* parenting methods. Now, I only care about raising resilient, interesting, and decent human beings who know I adore them.
Yes, I am a Rogue Mom. And, be aware, I’m not the only one.
Susie B. Cross is a high school teacher, on sabbatical since 2006. She is a mom who is always trying to “figure it out,” who makes plenty of mistakes, and who says sorry to her 2 sons pretty much once a day. She does not really understand social media, but you can find more of her writing (topics like mental health, parenting, and a smidge of politics) under Susie Bonzo at https://m.facebook.com/susie.bonzo?tsid=0.02644151746690382&source=result