Maybe it’s because I had two older brothers, and then there were the twins ten years younger than me. But stuck in the middle, there was a bit of a food shortage. Needless to say, as a grown up, I don’t share food well.
I know this, because that episode of “Friends” when Joey yells “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!”, my kids laughed and said “It’s like you Mom.”
It’s also true that I may have stabbed my new husband in the hand when he tried to take food off my plate. My excuse is, I was pregnant and dude, it was my corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. And I was pregnant. You had yours, leave mine alone!!!
But over time, as I taught my kids to share, I realized more and more, I don’t share well.
Oh, I’ve shared a lot with them – my body, my bed, even my food once in a while (I’m not totally heartless). But I don’t share some things.
Like my phone.
No, mama don’t share her phone.
Maybe it’s because I started having kids before I had a cell phone (you know, waaaaaay back when). I was forced to make stuff up as we went through the grocery store or bribe them to stay quiet in church. I had a purse of Matchbox racers and tiny dolls and little Slinkys. Not bouncy balls though – that is a mistake you only make once in church. By the time cell phones started getting app and doing stuff, I only could have used it with Maura, and there was no way I was handing over MY PHONE to her. Nope. Instead, we got her a device of her own. Yeah, even I know that sounds weird. But it was a matter of something she could use to help with her development. She got an iPad. It was Maura’s iPad. No one else played with it unless they asked permission.
Even now, while I do have a small section of apps for Maura on my phone, she doesn’t touch it. “That’s Mommy’s phone.” I say. And she pouts. Lower lip, “pweese” and all. It’s still a “Nope, Mommy’s phone.” She sighs and walks away. The phone is only used in extreme cases – like last week, when in a rush, we took a hangry* Maura to church without feeding her. But at the end of Mass, I said “Okay, time to give Mom’s Phone back.”, and she did. Without a whine or screech. Maybe because we promised her food, but still, no complaints.
There’s also Mom and Dad’s Computer. Josh’s computer was his office for so long, that even I didn’t touch it. And I told the kids so. “YOU don’t get to use it. I don’t even use it!” I got my own computer and it was “Mom, can I play a game?” Um, no. Here’s your crappy old hand me down computer, feel free to download weird stuff onto that and spill milk on those keys. But you WILL NOT touch Mom’s computer with her precious Word and photo files on it.
Even Maura knew never to touch Josh’s computers.
Right now, we have to reinstate with Maura that the desktop – which we use in the living room to watch Netflix – is still Mom’s Computer. You have to ask to watch a show. Since it’s touchscreen, she can easily swipe and turn on Netflix…which is a bit of a problem when I do something silly like go use the bathroom and come back to her sitting, swiping through Netflix looking for a show. Like last night. Urgh. This morning, she pointed to my computer – “Pony?” (aka My Little Pony). “No, it’s Mom’s turn on Mom’s Computer.”
I got a lower lip from her. It did not work. She’s now playing with cars.
One of the more brilliant moments of not sharing was when we got our first Xbox many many moons ago. The boys – who were 7 and 5 at the time – came down, spotted the Xbox and got all delighted. They said “WE got an Xbox???”
Josh – in that moment of parental inspiration – said “No. I got an Xbox. YOU have to ask if you want to use MY Xbox.”
To this day, they still check in about using the Xbox, as it’s hooked up in the main living room, to the one tv with the cable box and Netflix.
Go figure, in not sharing, we’ve taught them to take turns.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m caught between two worlds – one of the Old Skool Mom who could entertain kids with a piece of paper and a rubber band, and Today’s Mom, with all the technology and kids with devices. I get why moms hand over their stuff and go “Here kid, just watch this and leave me alone” – because it’s easy and you just want to pee in peace. I know this, I’ve done this. But at the same time, when I hear moms go “Oh, she wants my phone.”, part of me always says “Um, say no. It’s your phone.” Or your food. Or your bathroom break. Or your bedroom. (No, my kids don’t ever play in my bedroom – it’s MY room. I never played in my parents bedroom – it was THEIR room.)
My children are my heart and my soul, the reason why I try to be a better person – but I need to keep a few things for myself. My phone, my computer, my room. And as my 13 yr old discovered on Christmas Eve, when I asked her if she had dress shoes and she said “Oh, I thought I’d just borrow a pair of yours.”…
Mama don’t share shoes either kid.