MMS or Stupidity?

You’ve probably heard of experts who sometimes cross over to the other side. Police officers, whose job it is to apprehend criminals, become corrupt. Scientists, studying a disease, become infected. Stupidity specialists become stupid. I’d been wondering if the latter had happened to me. It had been hinted at quite often by a few of my close confidantes. Here’s what they’ve stated:

“You just don’t get it.” “That’s not what I said.” “Don’t you understand?”

These pronouncements were usually accompanied by shaking of the heads and looks of pity and annoyance. Sometimes, these remarks were even made to me while I’d been sitting silently for an hour, reading. Is it possible to be inactive and still act stupidly? Yes, according to my children.

Who are these confidantes? My very own teenagers.

I know the trials of having teens are temporary, like one long bout of indigestion, but who needs it? For instance, I commented to my younger son, Michael, about how nice it was that he was invited by a friend to be a guest at a private golf club. My son’s response,

“I’m not his guest!”

Obviously, a case of wrong word usage by me.

I asked my older son, James, if he’d like to take a mini ice chest to the beach with him to keep his drinks cool.

“What kind of question is that?”

Once again, I’d failed the I.Q. test.

I don’t really believe I was stupid all that often. But I do think I suffered from MMS – Mistreated Mom Syndrome – a condition thrust upon unsuspecting mothers with children who had entered the double-digit age bracket. Symptoms ranged from momentary displeasure to snarling fury. Moms often felt as if they were living the life of a serf in Teendom. I am convinced that a bleary, dreamy-eyed mother of teenagers wrote the escapist fairy tale, Cinderella.

I must add that despite being an MMS sufferer, I really do consider myself lucky. Teen torment didn’t start until my older son turned sixteen. And Michael only aggravated me intermittently. Those were the times that I was most stupid. Amazingly however, I received constant compliments on my kids’ behavior…outside of the home.

My stupidity appeared to be triggered by frustration, theirs and mine. I once advised my children that in order to work out a frustration, they should write a candid letter to the source, pouring out all that needed to be said. Afterwards, the undelivered note should be destroyed. Michael informed me that he was going to write just such a missive…to me. Only instead of tearing it up, he would graciously allow me to read it.

The letter went like this:

Dear Mom:

You think you have all the answers. (I try)

You need to be more laid back. (I probably would be a bit more relaxed if my kids were not teens who constantly kneaded me into a pliable dough).

You need to be nicer to me. (This demand was so ridiculous, it was scandalous).

You talk on the phone to Grandma way too much. (Hello? She is my official MMS complaint hotline).

You only think you have too much to do when in reality, you have plenty of time.  (This coming from a kid who once advised me to get a night job. That way I could make money and not cut into the time when he required my services).

Love, Michael

My son generously invited me to write him a letter in kind. So I sat down to write. My immediate reaction was to list his unappealing traits. But I didn’t. Instead, I re-read his note more closely. In a moment of sudden clarity, I realized what he was really saying:

Dear Mom,

You really do know a lot. That’s why it’s important to me to follow all the things you’ve taught me. I carry you around with me everywhere I go. I don’t always behave my best at home because sometimes, I need to test your love. I like it when all of your attention is on me.

Love, Michael

Okay, maybe I read a little too much between the lines, but basically I do not doubt that my children love me. The way they conduct themselves in public makes me proud. After all, if they cannot act like utter, immature fools at home, where can they?

In my letter to Michael, I decided to implement another piece of advice that I’d given them: nurture the good, so the good will grow. My letter went like this:

Dear Michael,

You are an outstanding young man whom I love dearly, and of whom I am very proud. Forgive my impatience with you sometimes, as I am still learning how to be the best mom.

Love, Mom

Let me tell you, I had him eating out of the palms of my hands for weeks afterwards. But truly, I realized that if I focused on their positive traits, all else would fall by the wayside.

Eventually, anyway.

Meanwhile, an impromptu shopping spree does wonders for MMS.

Think first.



8 Responses to “MMS or Stupidity?”

  1. M.C. says:

    I find it hard to believe the cute kids in the picture of your last post are the ones you describe here. They look like little angels to me!

  2. Reilly says:

    I am sure glad my years of having teens are behind me! Writing the letter was a nice idea.

  3. Mrs Stanley says:

    Regarding MMS: Maybe that’s why it’s sometimes better to have a dog instead.

  4. Keli says:

    Yes, believe me they are the same kids.
    I thought so too about the letter.
    Mrs Stanley:
    How about PDCS – Pets are Driving me Crazy Syndrome?

  5. Mrs Stanley says:

    Let me know when you topic is “psychotic” mothers.

  6. Suzie says:

    Teenagers ha ha!!
    Some kids never grow out of being a teenager.
    I have a 40 year old teenager who loved a rock singer when
    she was 16. Now he’s in his late 60s or maybe 70s. She is
    still waiting for him to ask her out. Isn’t this a typically crazy

  7. Keli says:

    Mrs Stanley:
    I don’t cover psychosis, just stupidity. But if I ever do, I will let you know.
    Oh dear! I wouldn’t exactly call that typical. Perhaps she is more intrigued by the idea of him asking her out then actually going out with him. Then again…

  8. Julianne says:

    Great entry.

    I’m printing it out and putting in a folder of inspirational reading that I will open when my kids hit the teen years. You are a wise Mama.

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