Yes, our mother/son relationship has taken a new twist these days.
As you might recall, #HeTeen had already been bailing on at least one night of the two evenings the kids were spending with their father every other weekend. If you’ve followed me for a while now? You already know that my kid-free weekend is a time I cherish deeply – I can play my own music (or play nothing at all), entertain my friends, and set my own schedule w/o interference/inquisitions.
And you know what? I’ve been doing just that when #HeTeen is here and his sister is not (save for that whole ‘entertaining friends’ bit.) He’s also made it clear that his time at his dad’s on weekends hasn’t worked for him on a few different levels (mostly involving the fact that he’s sharing a room with his dreaded little sister when he’s there), and that if he were given the choice, he’d just as soon stay here.
His dad – while still wanting to hang out with #HeTeen – admitted that having both kids in his house on his weekends has been less-than-ideal lately.
The only objector here? Yours truly. But when I took a few minutes to look objectively at the situation, I realized it would be best for all concerned if I caved & just did away with the dream of ‘kid-free weekends’ for the short-term.
So in late January, we removed the requirement that #HeTeen had to go with his dad for at least one of the two evenings.
And you know what? It’s not been nearly as horrible as I thought it would be. Why? He recognizes that this is still my time off – so doesn’t expect me to produce meals, be home on a regular basis, or provide for his basic needs unless previously negotiated/agreed to.
Sure, there’s usually food in the house. Nope, I won’t deny him part of my meal if I’m making dinner for myself – but he doesn’t much like the foods I’m making these days (unless it’s meat, sauce and onions – then, he’s good!) And he’s learning that if he wants macaroni & cheese, well – he’d best grab a box from the pantry and make it his own damned self.
So he does. And as a result, he’s expanding his culinary repertoire. This morning? I posted this on Twitter:
WOW. A man is making breakfast for me. Okay, it’s only #HeTeen – & I’m betting I’ll end up doing the dishes. But STILL.
He has a ‘favorite spatula’. He’s appreciative of the wifi setup that lets him flip his stored music in his room to the kitchen speakers – and says so. He’s asking for favors, but offering a clear payback if I agree to same. He’s paying for his own incidentals (the phone bill, for example) and negotiating with me to pick him up things that I typically won’t buy as part of regular groceries (“if you buy me Gatorade when you’re at the store, I’ll pay you back for it…”)
at 18, he sets his own schedule – but informs me of his whereabouts as a common courtesy, or adheres to basic house rules. He’s already been doing his own laundry for four years now. I don’t have to nag him about cleaning up his room, washing his bedding, taking a shower (done, done and done – all on a fairly fastidious schedule, if I do say so myself).
The only thing I have to occasionally nag about these days? Taking out the garbage every other week – and even then, he made it clear that if he fails to do it the night before, it’s my job to wake his ass up at 6 am the day of to haul it to the curb. Yes, even if he’s sleeping, or sick. (This after one too many times of hauling it to the curb myself and then haranguing him after the fact.) “How else am I supposed to learn, Mom? If I forgot – wake me up and tell me to take care of it instead of doing it yourself and then bitching at me. I probably won’t keep forgetting – right?”
And he was right.
The real bonus, though? Getting a chance to hang out with him as a peer of sorts – and not as one of my two children.
It’s been kinda nice, actually. So while I don’t think we’re really roommates, well – that’s the closest word I have to describe what happens when his sister goes to her dad’s for the weekend.
As long as he doesn’t borrow my clothes – I think we’re All Good for the time being.
(Although he probably doesn’t need to know that I’m using one of his old t-shirts as my gym workout shirt – does he? Nope…so shhhh on that fact, please?)