Dear Entitled Offspring,
I’ve got a little newsflash for you: your parents’ purpose of existence isn’t to make your life as pleasant, easy and indulged as possible.
I realize that’s going to come as a shock to some of you. Maybe even most of you. As you spent long summer day after long summer day draped over furniture, spread across your bed, your face perma-glued to some type of screen, your parents were still working at their jobs to make that leisurely lifestyle available to you. And now that school’s back in session, I can see how eager you are to reclaim your slothfulness every moment you’re at home.
But y’all need a wake-up call.
That air conditioning that’s keeping you cool? It doesn’t pour out of the wall freely because magical little frosty fairies thought you should never break a sweat. Those clothes on your back? I stayed up nights writing so that you could wear something up-to-date and fashionable, even though you already had 100+ other options in your closet that you were “tired of” or “couldn’t find” or were too unmotivated to sew up. That Diet Coke you just pouted about because I claimed it, the one you HAD to have because you don’t “like” the other choices available to you (even though I saw you fighting your brother for that “disliked” brand yesterday), who do you think paid for that? Who drove out and bought it? Last time I checked, it wasn’t you.
See, Dad and I have the right to claim things that WE work for. Did you know that in some cultures, kids aren’t even allowed to have food until their parents have eaten their fill? We don’t really HAVE to give you anything frivolous. We don’t. And neither one of us has to share if we don’t want to. But we almost always do share, we almost always put you guys first.
And y’all have just come to expect it.
But when I don’t give up something I want, when I’m having a bad day and I’d like to indulge in a little fizzy happiness to take the edge off of worries that you don’t even begin to know about (and shouldn’t) and then you go and act like your little entitled self deserves that drink, and I don’t? Yeah. Selfishly steamrolling outbursts don’t go over too well with us Moms.
We’re also not real fond of that sigh/huff/stomp reaction when we ask you to do something around the house. You know, when we have the utter audacity to request that you actually pause that hard work of 24/7 relaxation for a mere fraction of an hour so that dishes can be cleaned or a bathroom wiped down or some laundry put away? I know, I know….it sucks that we don’t have a staff to do this stuff for us. I’d love nothing more than a maid, groundskeeper and nanny to keep it all together, but guess what? It ain’t in the budget.
And even if it was, newsflash! You’d still have chores. Because you used those dishes, you dirtied that bathroom, you’re old enough to clean your own clothes. And none of y’all have yet mastered any of those tasks. It’s my job to make sure you master them before you move out of my house, and you sure aren’t going to learn it through osmosis.
I know you tell me that your friends don’t have any chores, but even if that’s true (and I doubt it), you’re going to contribute to the running of this household whether you like it or not.
Oh, and let me throw you another clue: I don’t give a rat’s behind what your friends’ parents let them have or do. Thankfully, people’s homes are like independently-ruled islands. What’s on one doesn’t have to cross over to the next. That’s why I just laugh when you whine because little Timmy up the street has a golf cart, dirt bike and 4-wheeler, all of which he’s allowed to speed through the neighborhood without wearing a helmet. I’m not ashamed when I tell you that I must love you more than his family loves him, because you’re not getting the keys to crack open your skull on my watch, kid.
I also don’t care that Miss Thang can wear short-shorts and backless tops, a crap-ton of makeup and 6″ heels, and has her hair and nails done regularly at a salon. God help the man who is going to have to take over her maintenance someday. I also don’t care that she gets to play softball, take guitar lessons, do gymnastics and cheerleading all at once. You may choose one activity per semester. Choose one, or do none. “None” is a lot easier for me, so please, feel free to choose that option! And if you do opt for an activity, just be grateful for it. A lot of kids never get to experience paid recreation at all.
I am also aware that our technology is terribly below-par. You must be awfully sad that you only have one Xbox complete with Kinect, one tablet, access to a desktop and laptop, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and SlingTV. It’s also just a horrible, awful, no-good thing that your smartphone isn’t the newest, or that you don’t have your own phone number for your little friends to call.
Man, I don’t know how you face the day with such terrible obstacles in life to overcome. But one day, if you get past this world-owes-me phase, you’ll get a job and can foot the bill for your own phone number! And maybe then you’ll be happy, because you’ll see what BIG FUN it is to pay all those bills?
But even then, you probably won’t be happy. Because from what I can see, your generation and work don’t seem to get along very well. Y’all need to think about changing that attitude, though. Because as much as I love you, as much as I have (probably wrongly, sometimes) indulged you, as much as I enjoy your company (when you’re not whining and pouting)–the truth remains that you’re not supposed to live here forever.
And all of this perceived meanness from me, all of these “unreasonable” things I make you do, every desire I have that you behave in a respectful way, are all attempts at fulfilling my duty to create citizens who can stand on their own two feet and actually do something worthwhile with this ever-too-brief gift we call “life”.
But until that day that you no longer have to live in this matchbox house, governed by our oppressive regime and our totally far-fetched expectations, here’s a little advice: be grateful for what you have. There are literally billions of kids in this world who would be happy with even a fraction of what you’ve been given.
Love (yes, seriously),