Is it just me or do you also go from grown a** woman with her own place who pays her own bills and stays out til whatever time her heels say it’s time to go home, to a pre-teen who is automatically in a position to get robbed, raped, or murdered anytime she goes home for the Holidays? When I was college and came home at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I expected the reigns to be a little tight. Afterall, I was only 18-21 and I understood I didn’t need to be rolling in my mother’s house all times of the night — or morning — even if I was about that life when I was back on campus. At 27 though? I’m going to need mama to chill out, and instead of creeping in my room to see if her child is nestled all snug in her bed, she turn her butt over and go back to sleep instead.
I’ll never forget the dramedies that occurred the last time I was at home this summer. When I was in between jobs I’d went back home for a few months and one of the “conditions” of my return was that I could not stay out til the wee hours of the morning. Cool. There aren’t too many places to hang out in my home town anyway and since I knew most of that rule was based on the fact that my mom didn’t want her car parked “just anywhere” when I went out, as if break-ins, accidents, and mirror scrapes are more likely to occur at night, I took careful precaution to catch rides with other people, and most times family members. Unfortunately for me, that didn’t matter.
The first time my mom went cray on me I was sitting in an iHop eating with my step-sister, who drove us, after the bar. It was maybe 2am and by my respectable hour radar I still had about an hour-and-a-half before I had to be back in the house. That was where me and my mom had a difference of opinion because slowly but surely the “are u ok” texts started to roll in, followed by the “see this is what I’m talking about” messages, concluded with, “ain’t nothing going on this time of night but trouble.” I chose not to respond and decided since I was being treated like a child, I’d have a child-like response and pout the entire next day and not speak to my mom. Surprisingly, she gave me an “I know I was bugging” good morning kiss and pretended like that whole text fiasco didn’t happen. I, foolishly, took that as a sign she would chill out, unfortunately that too was not the case.
I’d say just about every other time I went out late after that — including going to the casino with about 10 relatives over 40 during our family reunion — my mom was hitting me with the “is everything ok” texts. Sometimes I’d get the “whoever has you out this late should know to have you home at a respectable hour” messages that left me shaking my head at my mom thinking I had a better sex life than I actually did, and most times I’d end up spitting the same spiel to her. One, what do you do the other 357 days of the year when I’m not at home and I’m riding New York City subways and living by myself and walking home past crackheads and homeless people late at night? And two, what exactly would you be able to do if I was actually in trouble? Whether I’m out at 3p or 3am there’s an equal chance of disaster that you cannot stop. In fact, expecting me to text you back while I’m driving is probably increasing the odds of something bad happening so let’s just stop that altogether, k?
I realize those weren’t the most diplomatic and comforting thoughts to put in your mother’s head, but not being a mother myself I still can’t understand the answers she, and apparently every other concerned parent on this earth, gives when they’re riding their kids too much: they can’t sleep not knowing that you aren’t home. My mom’s defense is that when I’m in New York she doesn’t know I’m out so she can just assume I’m home safe and sound, but when I’m at her house, and she gets up one of her routine 18 times of the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water and sees the door to my room open, she can’t rest. I can’t front, it’s a sweet thought, but one that prohibits me from actually seeing friends — and family for that matter — back home who have their own spots and don’t have to answer to a mother like they’re 16 anymore.
I’ve tried to make peace with the Holiday oppression and accept the fact that when I’m home I’m going to have to revert back to that uncool kid response of “my mom won’t let me” or simply say “I can’t” and hope no one asks why when my friends want to hit up a club late. I also found that staying the night elsewhere helps because in her mind, if she knows I’m not coming home, she can’t worry about the time I actually get to someone else’s home. Still that’s a lot of work just to catch up with friends and family over a few days. I guess I’ll just have to take my mom’s word for it and assume I’ll understand when I have a child of my own. I’m not totally convinced I’ll go this hard though. I don’t think.
Do your parents still treat you like a child when you come home for the holidays?