I Stop Mom-ing at 9 PM

April 6, 2017 — 48 Comments


I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.

I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”


In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.

Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.

She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.

Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.


My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.

So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.


I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.

At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.

He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.

His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.

He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.

He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.

He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.

He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)

He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.

He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.

He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)

He has a girlfriend. 

This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.

I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?

I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.

He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
It was.

“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy


When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.

Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.

He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.

We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.

My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.

But who prepares me?


Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

48 responses to I Stop Mom-ing at 9 PM


    … but did you find the hoodie?!?


    My son just built a computer, and turned around and sold it for twice what it cost to build. When he said he had advertised it on Craigslist, I immediately asked if the exchange was going to take place somewhere safe. He replied, “Yes, I seem to have it under control.” I had to tell him I was doing the “mom thing”. Even though he’s 16, I still ask the mom questions.

    I wasn’t anywhere near prepared when he went to live with his dad 2 1/2 years ago, and I’m still not. I suck at not being mom 24/7 with dirty socks to wash, and an empty fridge to worry about because he’s eaten everything in two days. I still sleep better when he’s home for a visit.

    I just suck at not being needed all the time, because I don’t know how to put myself first.


      He built a computer? Dang, he sounds brilliant!

      I also am getting used to taking care of me more than him. Like, now I can actually make SOCIAL PLANS on the weekends.

      I’m sorry your son isn’t living with you. That’s got to suck. You know where to find me, if you ever want to chat.


        He’s smart. Not sure about brilliant, because I think they have youtube videos for that, but I’m pretty proud of him!

        It totally sucks, and was devastating, but I believed I was doing what was best for him. And thank you!

    Gretchen Kellaway April 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    No one prepares us. It’s so hard. The more independent they become the harder it is.

    I get so happy often when I know I have every stage at the moment- so while I am missing Alexander being my best friend, I get to still be kind of needed sometimes by the younger ones.

    Last night, Noah asked me to lay in his big boy bed with him. I happily obliged because I needed to be wanted and needed yesterday.

    Momming is so hard.


    Mine are just entering the teen years now and I already see a difference in their interests and the time they want to send with me. So bittersweet. I am proud of their independence, but miss the time with them.


      Yes, SO bittersweet.

      Now I know what people meant when they said it goes fast. It didn’t, at first, and now it really is.
      Thank you for reading, and commenting. xo


    They grow up so freaking fast! One minute you are taking baby pictures and the next minute it’s Prom! OMG! Mine will be 30 this summer and I feel like she should still be in grade school……. Enjoy the moments he gives you and always keep the communication lines open. Even if it is something hard to hear or keep a straight face, you always want him to come to you first! I have tried to do this with my daughter and it has made a difference in our relationship! ❤


      I believe in keeping communication open, even if it’s stuff I don’t want to hear – like about him kissing girls!

      So far, we’re very close. I hope it stays that way. Thanks for reading. xo


    I love that he’s growing up into such a lovely young man, who respects your boundaries (and hopefully those of his girlfriend – I can’t imagine he wouldn’t) and who still enjoys spending time with you and wants to interact. You and LD are just lovely. Really lovely. I hope you get the little snippets but HOORAY to knowing that you’re getting parenting right. You always have. You really always have.

    P.S. I saw a meme earlier which I now can’t find, of a kid asking its mom if it needed to brush its teeth – the image was the Alien alien roaring at (whoever) XD

    P.P.S. I’ve found the way forward with Niece (at least) is to ask her best bits of the day, who she helped, and who helped her. Neff…absolutely a closed book. Always.


      Everytime you tell me how good I am at parenting, I feel like I’ve won a prize.
      Thank you for always reminding me of that.

      How old is Neff? He’s young to be the “strong silent” type, isn’t he?


    It’s a twisted ball of whatnot watching them grow up like that. Pretty cool too. My son is 26, almost 27 now. It’s a different world.


    I don’t know who prepares us..I’m still figuring that out.


    Again, like your pervious post, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. Sons of Anarchy = violence, blood, sex. It has included rape and child pornography along with sexist and racist insults. Do you really expose your 13-year old to that? Is he growing up way too fast?


      Yes, I’m being playful! I’m being me – relaxing to a head stabbing?? That scene was brutal!

      But- my kid HAS seen bits of SOA. This is my third time watching the series, and I’ll let him watch certain scenes, ones without sex or excessive violence.

      Although he’s been exposed to plenty of blood and violence on video games. And sadly, he’s heard his share of racist jokes. There’s no diversity where we live.

      He’s a teenager. He’s exposed to stuff. It happens, try as I might to prevent it.


      Your comment struck me as I think that’s a good question. I don’t have kids, but my nephew has just turned 13 and my sister has felt letting him be exposed to certain rated TV-MA shows and R movies brings up healthy conversations and lets him show how he interprets what he’s seeing. I don’t disagree because he’s at that age where independence really begins and will probably be exposed to all sorts of crap through his friends, as kids now days are armed with the internet at all hours of the day. So that’s my take. If we are still around the blogosphere in about 6 years, I’ll let you know how he’s turned out. 🙂


        Call me over-protective but I don’t think a 13-year old brain is equipped to deal with that kind of imagery. It, literally, doesn’t have the chemical maturity to process such horrific images in a healthy way. Why are parents always so eager for their children to become adults?


        Everyone has different views and to me parenting is subjective. To each their own.


        I’m not that eager- as you can tell by my story.
        But my son is being exposed to things I have no control over- on the bus, from his friend’s older siblings, in video games he plays at friend’s houses, at camp.
        I can only try and balance it out with good stuff, and help him process the negative stuff in as healthy a way as possible. What else can we do?


        Locking them in the basement until they’re 32 is completely out of the question, right?


        I wish.
        My kid had a lockdown drill at his school the other day, with half the police force participating. Scared the shit outta the kids.
        It’s horrible that these precautions are deemed necessary. I’d like to keep him in a giant bubble.


    Wow, such an adventure! I suppose I should feel left out. My EX decided to call the whole thing with me off when her son (my step-son, now in his 40s and still in contact) was 12, and geographic distance ensued. I won’t comment on how well or ill she did at single parenting of a teenager, but their relationship was not great to start with. I think you therapist had the right idea. Parents need wind down time. Good luck and I expect you’ll be reporting on progress.


    I am nowhere near Kidzilla being entrenched in teenager land, but yeah…she’s growing way to fast for me and feel like I can’t keep up. Like she’s slipping through my fingers somehow. Sometimes I get so worried about what I might miss if I blink. It doesn’t matter who we talk to or how much we think we’re ready…there is nothing to prepare us for this. So hang in there, I guess, and hold on tight…teenage and dating and fresh breath is just the beginning!


    I don’t think you could ever be fully prepared for the first kid, but I hear the first kid is an excellent way to prepare for the second one. 🙂
    Also, after about the fourth one or so you’re fully prepared for anything. 🙂


    You hit the nail with this one! Every day I am wondering how she grew up so fast, though she is only 5.5 yrs old, it seems only like yesterday that she was a little baby in my arms. Now, she talks nineteen to dozen, goes to school, her friends are important to her and throws attitude at me! Oh, I love her so much I can’t believe in a few years, all I will have are memories. Good luck with your boy, he looks to me a well-behaved one! He asked you for your permission to date, what more could a parent want?


    I think structure like that is very healthy. I commend your therapist for the suggestion and you for following through. 🙂


    I loved this post! It was honest and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can feel how much love you have for your son.
    My son is now 33. He lives in another state and is expecting his first child. I miss him every day. By that I mean I miss that 13 year old kid he used to be. They grow up so darned fast. Oh, and I really miss Sons of Anarchy!! lol


    Yes. My son is 16 – he was my first and only boy and I love him with a ferocity that would scare the hair off of Satan’s arms. He’s still MINE, though I am not allowed to say that out loud. But you said it, he is HIS now and NOT mine. But every time he leaves the house, he takes a piece of my heart with him. I hate it. I hate the fears I have that I can’t combat that are really completely irrational. But no one can take that love away. I still get hugs every day – I made it a rule when he turned 13 or so – that he has to hug me at least once a day. And you know what? He does it. Without being asked. And now he’s starting the conversation about driving, and college. And I wonder – what the hell happened to that precious little boy who kissed me a hundred times a day and snuggled with me every night?


    Every time I ask my kids “Hey you wanna go for ice cream!” And they say “Nah, dad,” and instead go to their room, closing the door behind them, and play video games, or jerk off, or anything other than hang out with, or better, idolize me, I die a little.


    Always keep the line of communication wide open, along with your ears, eyes and ❤️.


    Loved this! and can relate so well even though my ‘little guy’ is 32…he used to keep a spare Axe can in the side pocket of the car, I suppose to refresh from the spray down done earlier in the bathroom…..


    Oh man, you spoiled it for me. I’m so behind. I know it’s my own fault, I’ve had plenty of time to catch up, but Gemma stabbed Tara in the head with a carving fork?


      No, NO I made that up!
      Man, that show is great.


        I’m so glad you replied to my comment, cause I read your post and liked it, commented, and then forgot to follow you. Then I closed my browser when someone came by at work, and couldn’t remember who you were and couldn’t find you the way I did the first time (and for some reason can’t figure out how to find comments I made on other people’s sites, if there even is a way – there should be).


    I am not a mother but this was one refreshing read 🙂 I will share the “slipping note under the door” thingy with my friends who have kids. I am sure they’ll find that useful!


    Glad that someone sharing same sentiment on 9pm rules! Hehe! My Son is 10 now but already has his own 8pm ruling! Cannot imagine when he is at 13! So now i started blogging to release some tension! Looking forward to posts on your bringing up Son sentiments 🙂


    LOL. I’m in my 60’s and I had the same rule (In the 80’s). Thanks for sharing.


    Should the title be more correctly I USED to stop Mom-ing at 9PM? My experience says so because the more independence they achieve the MORE mom-ing you feel like you should and wish you still could be doing. I think the opportunity to actually do that again re-presents itself with grandkids, but I have no personal knowledge of that yet. My current desire is to just have my twenty something daughters at least reside in the same time zone as me!

    And, when I wanted or needed to cut off the mom-ing in the earlier stages, I was always “in Florida” and was fortunate that my spouse knew when I used this term that I needed him to step in and start dad-ing!

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