Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Uh Oh - I've become THAT mother

I've never thought of myself as a particularly maternal mother. Oh, I quite like my three kids (*waves*) and all that, but I'm not known for being a "great mom". (One of my kids had a friend whose mother used to do treasure hunts with treats every time he went over for a play date! I told her she was raising the bar too high and to knock it off!)

What I mean is, I sort of just got on with being a mother. I did what the kids needed me to do, encouraged them to do things for themselves, made sure they were clean, fed and up to date with their homework and instrument practices - that sort of thing.

Recently though, I'm getting the distinct impression I'm going a little too far on the mothering front.

The Punk Rocker has a highly dangerous summer job which involves delivering cookies in the middle of the night, on a bicycle in Chicago. See what I mean? His shift often finishes at 3am. How the heck am I supposed to sleep? I drift off a little but I always hear the beep as he comes in and sets the alarm and I check for signs of his safe return (ie. stuff everywhere) each morning. Much eye rolling from him!

The ex-Queenager has an internship from 11-7pm, four days a week. She has a four block walk from the train station to her workplace, which involves walking past a building site. All I'm saying is that one of these days I'm going to drive over there, grab them collectively by the gentlemen's vegetables and ask them if they have a daughter or a sister.

Since she gets up a couple of hours after me, I now find myself making sure her coffee is percolating when she comes downstairs, and packing her a healthy lunch. I know. She must think I'm a changeling. She is also working a part time job elsewhere, but they seem to have hired too many part-timers and she's left with a paltry 5 or 6 hours of work per week. So unfair, given that she could have pursued other options to make money this summer. Needless to say I am livid, but she has absolutely and positively banned me from e-mailing the owner, (so I'll just blog about it instead!)

The Little Guy is also doing his share of "Jeez Mom"ing at me! He insists, at 11, he can put himself to bed, but half the time he can't put his (unmade) bed together properly, or he puts a perfectly clean pair of shorts in the wash when he could easily wear them one more time. He'a also insisting he's old enough to stay home on his own but I'm not there yet. I did run three blocks to the pharmacy yesterday but I wrote down my phone number and stuck it right next to him, forbade him to answer the door and put the dog into "guard dog" mode.

Yes, I am turning into THAT mother and it's getting on everyone's nerves, I can just tell.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being Yourself

My July column for the Expat Focus web site discusses how far expats should go to assimilate to another country's culture and how far they should just be themselves. It's a tricky one.

Take Brits in the USA for example. A lot of us come over here and silently (or not so silently) criticize Americans for not using a knife and fork properly, not knowing how to spell and generally being unsophisticated. But this is not the UK; they don't speak British English and they don't follow British spelling rules. Who are we to come over here and tell them to do it our way? Can you imagine going to live in say, Japan, and refusing to take your shoes off when going to someone's house? Or going to a country where the left hand isn't used, and deliberately shoving your left hand out all the time? We just wouldn't, would we.

Having said that, when we had a huge empire, we sort of did that all over the world didn't we?

Anyway, here's the post.

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