Living directly next door to my mother has its ups and downs. Ups being, that I actually like her and don’t mind her being around. Having her next door means that we don’t have to pile up in the car, go sit and visit with her on Sundays. The kids have unlimited and immediate excess to her. Whenever I run out or low on anything, I can always borrow it from next door, and funny thing is, she always has EVERYTHING! I swear she does!
Now let’s get into the “downs” of having my mother as my next door neighbor. First of all, she sees everything that I’m doing, such as who’s coming and going, and at what times, they’re coming and going. My mother pretty much knows about everything that goes on, in our house. The most important down (and the down which triggered me to write this blog) is that she unnecessarily and consistently comes to the “rescue” of my oldest son.
At this point it’d be wise to give you some background information on my son. He’s fourteen years old, he’s my oldest child and he’s my parents first grandson. His biological father has never been a factor in his life, outside of periodically paying child support via the Friend of the Court. From day one, my mother has had a unique bond with my oldest boy. I don’t know what wavelength they’re on, but they’re on it together. He pretty much knows how to manipulate and tell you (meaning her) what you (meaning her, again) want to hear, in order to get his tail out the skillet and away from the fire! Now on the other hand. Me? I’m a completely different story. I much harder, stern and firm. I’m an exceptionally hard cookie to make crumble. You just can’t tell me anything, and expect me to believe it! My mother and I are complete opposites, when it comes to issues surrounding this oldest boy of mines. She’ll sit down and talk it all out nice and calmly. Me? No! I’m going to raise hell smoke and sand, especially if it’s something that we’ve already discussed, been through or I warned you about. My mother, she’ll sugarcoat just about anything that she can. Me? No! I’m straight-up, no chaser! Cut throat! No holds barred! I give it to you, exactly how it is. When you’re wrong, I tell you that you’re wrong! In other words, she plays her role of grandma extremely well, and I play my role as active single mother, just as well.
With my mother being right next door, my oldest son has made the connection that when he doesn’t like what I say or do, then he can run next door. If he feels like ‘not’ doing what he’s been instructed to, then he can go next door. My oldest son likes to play my mother and I against each other. As of late, she’s taken on the role as mediator/referee. No matter what compromises she suggests, I stand firm on my principle: I DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH CHILDREN! There is absolutely NO room for disrespect! Clearly, she’s not the same woman, who reared my brother and I!
The point of my writing this is, when I want to teach the boy a lesson, my mother is always there to derail my plans. She always has her door open and she welcomes him into her home. She’s not supporting me and what I need to do to make him into a responsible and productive man. With my mother next door, my son has yet to suffer any type of consequence for anything that he has or hasn’t done. Which is why he feels so confident in constantly stepping out of line and talking back. I feel as if my mother is setting him up for failure, by giving him a false sense of how the real world operates. My son is under the impression that she’ll always be available and able to bail him out! Which we all know that she’s not and won’t.
I definitely believe that my mother should have some input on how I should handle things, concerning him. I just believe that openly (in front of him) she should support me and be my cheerleader, and when the time’s appropriate she can pull me to the side and tell me how she really feels. Going back and forth with me, with him standing right there, undermines my role as his mother.
I can’t picture this ending any other way than badly, for my son. Is my mother overstepping the “grandma boundaries” or am I ruling with too much of a strong fist?