During one VERY frustrating day with my strong-willed oldest son, I realized that frazzled moms frequently use law terms—or, at least, strategies of law--in parenting. (Finally, all those hours spent viewing Law and Order are paying off!)
Here are a few examples that we "legal eagle moms" often employ:
- Opening arguments—"Wouldn't it be fun to clean up your room?" we kindly ask our charges. "Let's make it into a game—with candy prizes."
- Discovery—"What is that green thing under your bed--and WHY IN THE
WORLD ARE YOU EATING IT?"
- Objection—"Don't you use that tone of voice with me, young woman!"
- See you in chambers—"If you'll stay on the commode for five minutes, I'll sit in the bathroom with you and read Once Upon a Potty. Again."
- Plead the 5th—"Because God made it that way." (This all-purpose answer works surprising well in a variety of situations, at least until the kid reaches kindergarten.)
- Cross-examination—"Where did you get that tattoo?" and "Who will be at the party?" for teens; "Why are you licking the carpet?" and "Where's the gerbil?" for younger tykes.
- Leading the witness—"Don't you want a delicious green bean?" we ask our little loves, who have ingested exactly four bites of veggies in their life (sorry—French fries don't count!).
- Motion to Suppress—The lightening-fast hand movement we make to cover our wee one's mouth when we're out in public and he/she yells, "Mommy, why is that lady so fat?"
- Negotiating a settlement—"If you are really good in the store, I'll buy you a kids' meal from Burger King on the way home."
- Plea bargaining—"If you go to bed right now, without fussing, you can play with sharp things all day tomorrow."
And, finally, we come to the end of our struggle. It's ten o'clock, they've worn us down, and we decide to use the mother of all defenses:
- Closing arguments—"Because I said so. And I'm the grownup. Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah."
From Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms by Dena Dyer