When Hope was born I was a 19 year-old single mother in college. I didn't know anyone else who had a kid or was pregnant. I mean, there was my mom and her friends and aunts, but NO ONE my age to talk to. I was vaguely aware of a handful of people who married right out of high school and had babies but they were either married well and living it up in a subdivision or in a trailer park and smoking pot. I was the only academically-motivated knocked-up gal in my tiny podunk town. What to do?
Needless to say I didn't have anyone to talk to; breastfeeding, sleep issues, baby poop, etc... were all topics of conversation that would waken disgusted looks in my college friends. And of course play dates consisted of a gang of 20 year old college girls watching The Wiggles with Hope and attempting to teach her the phrase "subvert the dominant patriarchy". Fun, but I still didn't have a mom to commiserate with and watch our children grow-up together.
One of the things I love most about being the mother of a baby/toddler now is that so many of my friends are pregnant or have kidlets of their own. Yay for mommy-friends! Now I can bounce around ideas about toddler crafts, groan over teething, and share in the joys of motherhood with someone who understands. Not only do I have mommy-friends in the "real world", but I also have blogger-mommy-friends and in some cases the real-world and blog mommy-friends overlap (hi, Katie and Jenna!).
Today and tomorrow I'm going to throw out some mom-questions to all my mommy-friends. Today's question concerns Hope and tomorrow's question concerns Atticus. Of course I appreciate any feedback even if you don't have kids. Sometimes it is refreshing to get an outside opinion. On to the question.... okay really it is more of a dilemma than a straight-up question.
Hope desperately wants a cell phone for Christmas. It would be easier for me if she had a cell phone. I'd have a way of getting in touch with her (and vice-versa) in an age where many of the people I know do not have land-line phones. Also, she is getting to that age where her friends are calling and since we don't have a land-line phone they call my cell phone. And then I end up handing my Android phone complete with full-web access for my ADHD daughter to use. Thank goodness I have insurance on the phone.
Okay -- so Hope wants a cell phone and I want her to have one... what's the dilemma?
I'm in a place where I don't want to do the most convenient thing and have it negatively impact the moral lessons I'm trying to teach Hope. Since hitting sixth grade Hope has become more immature. My mom has taught middle school for years and she says this is a current behavior trend. Hope is whiny, she won't do her homework or clean her room, she doesn't take care of the nice things she has (i.e.cds, cd player, ds game system, etc....). Last night she was literally wallowing on the floor and whining loudly about her chores. She wasn't this immature at age 8 and I certainly expect more from an 11-year-old.
I want Hope to know that with independence comes responsibility. I think that kids today have too much freedom and money, but lack the responsibility and consequences that come with having independence. Yes, I can sleep all day, eat what I want, and blow my money on vintage paperback because I-am-an-adult-and-I-can-do-what-I-want, but I don't do that because I have people who depend on me and bills to pay. You wouldn't believe the number of mothers who call to complain about their 23-year-old daughter's $9 library fine and offer to pay it straight away. It is something I handle regularly and I'm dismayed that so many young women can't take care of responsibilities and are perfectly willing to let parents handle everything. I wonder what will happen to these women when they are truly on their own and they learn that they actually have to pay rent and mommy and daddy can't bail them out.
I want Hope to be able to wear makeup, and go to sleepovers, and chose her clothes, and stay up late. But with that freedom and independence should come with responsibility. She needs to exhibit that she can do her homework, help around the house, and act like a mature young lady. You can't have it both ways.
If I give her a cell phone I feel like I'd be giving her a huge responsibility and privilege and I don't know if she is ready for that responsibility.
I'm looking for creative solutions here, or just affirmation that I'm not crazy and I'm on the right-track, or to be told that I need to loosen up. What would you do?