The Top Fifteen Rules for Boys (Written by Boys for Boys) RULE #9 NO TALKING BACK TO YOUR PARENTS and RULE #10 NO MOCKING YOUR MOM

Just this morning, my nine-year-old son Patrick accused me of “living in paradise” while he has to do his homework. Mind you, I told him that I was going to go downstairs to watch a marathon of Damages (thank you, Netflix) until I have to pick up his four-year-old brother Luke from preschool. And since Patrick is home sick for the third day this week, and his homework packet is due tomorrow, he’s got to work on it extensively today.

But the nerve… I’m “living in paradise!”

He broke two of his own house rules–Rule 9 “No talking back to your parents,” and Rule 10 “No mocking your mom.”

I wasn’t expecting the attitude until Patrick became a teenager, but it’s in full force already. And he’s not a bad kid. I think he’s just a bright kid who is learning by engaging with me at every turn. But it’s irritating that he argues with me about everything. If he’s stuck on a complicated math word problem, for example–you know the type that messes with your head–he’ll ask for help. I’ll walk him through the problem and how I found the answer, and he’ll flat-out tell me that I’m wrong. Then he’ll come home from school the next day and sheepishly admit that I was right after all.

I find myself regularly explaining to him that I am 46, I did graduate from college, and I do have more life experience that he has at age nine, but it seems to have no effect.

As far as mocking me, it’s a sport for both my sons. I’m sarcastic, and so are they, so we banter every day.

If Patrick, for example, doesn’t listen to me, I’ll ask, “Would you like to live until you’re ten?” And he’ll respond, “Real quality parenting.”

If Luke, only four, misbehaves, I’ll threaten to kick his cute little butt. And he’ll say, eyes rolling, “Really, Mom?”

Patrick just walked in here and said, “You lied to yourself.”


“You said you were going to go downstairs to watch TV.”

“I have to blog first.”

You see what I’m dealing with?

The bad part is that I only see it escalating. It’s going to be more “talking back to your parents” and more “mocking your mom.”

But this is what I signed up for. And, because I suffered from infertility and know the alternative, I secretly love every minute of it.

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