I went to my nail salon yesterday. It wasn’t very busy, so they were able to take me right away. I was led to the seat at the far end of the salon, with my back to the rest of the place. There was only one other woman in there, getting a pedicure.
As the technician started to buff my nails, I could hear someone else come in. She was a talker. I am not – at least, not when I am getting my nails done. Or my hair, for that matter. I prefer to think my own private thoughts in those situations, though I will speak when spoken to. I am just not one of those people who tells all their secrets to their hairstylist – or their nail technician.
Anyway, they sat this woman at the nail station behind me, so I couldn’t see her. She kept up a steady stream of conversation with the technician, then proceeded to start phoning and texting people. Now, I have written about this before, how uncouth I think it is for people to come in to get their nails done and then waste everyone’s time by insisting upon phoning and texting, both of which require fingers – and, hello! Isn’t that why they came to the nail salon in the first place, to have some attention paid to their fingers?!
So. Because this woman was just behind me, I heard everything she was saying on the phone and to the nail technician. (I did not hear any of her texts, though, except for the ones she read aloud.) One phone call was all about “What are you doing now?” and “Well, what are you doing tonight?” and “That’s pretty vague, I need more information.” and “Did you phone Tanner?” and “Do you want me to text Paige?”
When she hung up from that conversation, she explained to the technician that she was trying to organize her son because she didn’t want him sitting on his ass playing video games all Christmas holiday. I giggled inside when I heard this. You’re fighting a losing battle, honey, I thought. You can try your best and maybe win a battle, but you won’t win the war on that one!
But then this woman carried on. “I”m always phoning or texting with my son,” she said quite matter-of-factly. “I phone and text his friends, too. I organize his whole social life.”
I stopped giggling inside. She organizes his whole social life? Every single thing he does? The kid does nothing without you being in charge? Then I thought, well, maybe he’s still little, like seven or eight, but even so, let the kid figure it out on his own once in a while!
The technician was probably thinking the same thing as me. She asked the woman how old her son was.
She replied, “Fourteen.”
Fourteen? Fourteen?!? Four-effing-teen?!? This mother totally organizes the social life of her teenage son?!?
Is this what our society has now come to? I am well-aware of the phenomenon of helicopter parents, having dealt with more than one or two over the years in my capacity as a teacher, but I had never heard of a parent quite like this before. I really wanted to turn around and tell her that she is the type of over-involved parent that those of us in the educational system dislikes. I wanted to ask her what she actually thought she was teaching her son by doing every tiny thing for him. I wanted her to know that it is NOT normal for a mother to be that involved in a teenager’s social life – driving said teenager all over the place, putting up with and feeding hoards of other teenagers around the house, handing over money so that the teenager can go see a movie and get some popcorn – yes, sure. But actually making the plans for the teenager with the teenager’s friends??? No, no, no! Whose friends are they anyway, the mom’s or the kid’s? And does it really matter if the kid sits at home alone playing video games every now and then?
And I really, really wanted to ask her if she still dressed him every morning and gave him a bath every night.
She’s lucky she left the salon before my nails were done, so I couldn’t turn around and ask her all these very important questions. Because I don’t think I would have been very polite.