I’ve never told you this before, but I tend to be a bit rebellious.
Not in big ways. Not now (although I did when I was younger. cough. statute of limitations. cough cough. changed.)
On the outside, I’m a rule following by the books kind of gal. I have to be – I expect my kids to obey me. But that doesn’t change me on the inside.
I am secretly rebellious.
When I see a sign that says
WET PAINT. DO NOT TOUCH
I walk straight over there and touch it. I can’t help myself.
I TOUCH THE SIGN.
It makes me happy. My husband just shakes his head at me and tells me to grow up. Honestly, when I’ve feeling a bit twitchy and in need of a little rebellion in my life I go LOOKING for wet paint signs just so I an go touch them.
You know what I’ve learned?
There’s a LOT of wet signs out there. Not literally. Not actual signs protecting fresh paint. But there’s a ton of little harmless ways to satisfy that rebellious spirit.
I rebel against the arbitrary rules. I rebel against a requirement for standardized vanilla when I want to embrace strawberry. I rebel against the silly.
I open the box at the other end. I shake AFTER opening (and replacing the lid.) I eat raw cookie dough. When I see a rule I can break without consequence, something inside me just… has to.
I’m completely unrepentant. I’m not convinced that it’s wrong.
But as a mom, I worry that my kids are picking up my habit. And I struggle with how to respond.
My back to school rebellion?
Example 1: Several years ago, our school supply list included a requirement for four boxes of 16 count crayons. They were MORE expensive than the 24 pack variety. So you know what I did? I sent the bigger box. I decided that they could just live with a few extra crayons. (turns out, the majority of parents did the same thing. we all claimed we thought it was a typo)
Example 2: I did NOT label those pencils. It was stupid.
Example 3: Even though I know the school dress code requires a belt, it also requires that the kids wear their shirts untucked. Yep. My kids don’t even OWN belts. I haven’t gotten caught even once. (i think little boys have enough challenges at school without dealing with a BELT when they need to go potty.)
See? Tiny little rebellions against the rules. I think I’m supposed to feel guilty about them. I know they aren’t supposed to make me happy. But they do.
My kids are catching on.
This morning, I watched as my sons took two pairs of perfectly matched socks apart. They swapped one sock each. The phrase “matching socks” is in the dress code. But the only way the school will ever know is if they take their shoes off.
We have a rule about no candy before lunch. This summer I watched in amusement as my oldest son methodically ate ONE mini chocolate chip before breakfast.
I’m raising rebels.
Somewhere in my teens, I started touching the wet paint sign. By the time I was in high school, I had found all KINDS of little ways to be rebellious. I did my math homework in PEN. I stopped reading directions before starting. I tore the tag off my mattress.
And it helped.
It gave me an outlet.
It helped me be able to follow the big rules.
So as a mom, I’m confused. I don’t want my kids to get the message that it’s ok to rebel about anything. I want them to obey me and treat my word as law. But I also want to raise young men who question stupidity, who don’t blindly follow, and who aren’t afraid of a little strawberry now and then.
I’d love your best advice. I may not take it (being the rebel that I am). But I’d love some experienced mom advice.