I’ve come to the conclusion that parenting itself is not hard. Within the sturdy walls of home, I am more than capable of raising my children to be well-balanced, God-fearing, productive adults. The trouble comes in that we don’t exist solely within the bounds of home. In my experience, some of the most difficult parenting challenges have come about as a direct result of the influence other mothers have on my kids. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this: “But ________’s mom lets her see ‘R’-rated movies.” Or, “______’s mom gave her a midnight curfew. Why do I have to be home at 10 p.m.?”

It exhausts me. I completely understand that each mom has a right to raise her child(ren) as she chooses, but I think we should all be able to agree on some basic ground rules. With that in mind, I’m sharing three Mom Code rules I wish every mother agreed on.

1. Curfews are our friend. I don’t know about you, but these days, staying up long enough to finish a Saturday Night Live episode is an accomplishment in itself. The last thing I want to do on any given weekend night is sit up watching the clock and waiting for my teen to make it home safely. Can’t we all just agree that a 10:00 curfew is generous enough? Please.

2. It’s called an allowance for a reason. If there weren’t limits, we’d just fork over our paychecks and call it a free-for-all. My teens have friends whose parents seem to have money trees growing in their backyards. Every weekend, these kids come home from the mall with bag after bag of clothes from those dimly-lit, expensive stores that blare the music and greet customers with something akin to a high five. Those same teens always have manicured fingernails and pedicured toes. iPhones, iPads and iPods. Not to mention the keys to a brand new car, parked and waiting in the garage as a 16th birthday present. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about meeting the needs (and even some of the wants) of my kids, but c’mon—let’s teach boundaries, people! Lest we end up with a bunch of little Justin Beibers on our hands.

3. Never undermine another mother’s authority. I probably should have made this the number one rule—it’s that important. I don’t care how imbecilic you believe a rule, guideline, moral or ideal to be, under no circumstances do you have a right to trample upon the framework another mother has built in raising her child. Whether it’s sneaking a cookie to a sugar-free mom’s kiddo or lying about a teen’s whereabouts, any time one mom undermines the authority of another, she sets a really poor example for the kids. And if I’m the one whose authority is being undermined, well, she also puts herself at risk of my wrath. I’m a fairly easygoing kind of girl. I can forgive a lot of things. One thing you don’t want to try me on, though, is meddling in my parenting. Trust me on that one.

Imagine how much nicer the world would be if we could all just agree on these three sections of the Mom Code. What additions would you moms (and/or dads) make?

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