Don’t Call Me Dude

February 12th, 2013 posted by Julie DiNapoli

Fad teen My friend recently commented on the heavy demands of motherhood and as I listened, I wholeheartedly agreed. No truer words had ever been spoken. She declared, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I thought, as she talked, that I am deeply blessed with my life- my life as a mother. Motherhood earns its own lofty level of esteem and cachet; and I proudly wear my mother badge with honor. To those of us in the trenches who share the ubiquitous title, we know how all encompassing and far reaching our duties take us. The responsibilities and endless worries can fatigue the mind, age the flesh, and exhaust the soul. All in all, the road along which so many of us travel, though often harrowing and never boring, is worth the journey. But, over the past eighteen months I have acquired an entirely new moniker from our fourteen-year- old-daughter, which seemingly happened in an instant. Gina currently refers to me as- dude. I find this new label infuriating, especially since I’m not quite certain how this happened. When I ask her to clean her room and make her bed, she’ll sigh, “Oh, dude, I did all that last night!” Her requests are usually prefaced with, “Dude, can my friends and I go to the dance on Friday night?” Or, “Dude, what’s for dinner?” // It seems as though I am not the only dude in the house. My husband, Rick, is also a dude, although I fail to see any clear evidence of his dude-dom. Noah Webster hasn’t recognized this latest usage last time I looked in his dictionary. He and his cronies still define dude as, a man extremely fastidious in dress and manner: dandy. No offense intended toward my husband, but he doesn’t fall easily into this category. So, how did this change in status happen to us? Almost overnight Gina unceremoniously dropped the time- honored, ever- respectful titles of mom and dad and went straight to the bottom of the heap of Most Frequently Used Titles By Disrespectful Teenagers. Believe me, I checked out at her list, and “dude” is right there among them somewhere in between “dork” and “moron.” Is it not a fair question to ask, What has happened to the antiquated notion of respect for parents? Parents deserve a lot of that these days and since I’m a parent I want my fair share. Between washing sweaty clothes, cooking meal after nutritious meal, taxiing to and from basketball practices and games, dropping off and picking up at fencing lessons, play rehearsals and drum lessons, I am here to tell the world that last time I checked the mirror, I AM NOT A DUDE. I’ll bet you that dudes don’t sift through endless piles of unmatched socks searching for the missing link. It’s not that much fun. I know dudes don’t wait in long grocery lines, haul the groceries home and unpack them. Furthermore, I have never seen any sort of dude staying up late editing large homework projects while said teen loafed on the couch in typical fashion. Come to think of it, no dude in their right mind would perform any of these thankless duties, given half a snowball’s chance in hell. Dudes would rather be out with their dude friends, discussing Hurricane Floyd, while slowly slurping their hot, frothy Caffe Mocha. The other morning as I gently roused our dear Gina, I was met with, “Don’t wake me up, dude. I’m trying to sleep here.” I glanced at the clock and it read 6:45. If she’d gotten up just then, she would have performed all her morning duties without event. Deciding just then that I told her once and that was enough, I backed out of her room. She fell back into a deep sleep. Our two younger children got up, dressed themselves and ate breakfast. By the time they were brushing their teeth, there were five minutes to go before we left for school. Miraculously, Gina managed to awaken and what I witnessed next was a beautiful thing. My teenaged Walking Hormone leapt from her bed, scrambled across her untidy room and threw on her school uniform within 30 seconds flat. Punctuated by a couple of curt one-liners to her siblings, such as “Get out of my way, dude,” she managed to jump into the car as we pulled away from the curb. With a song in my heart I asked, “How was your sleep, darling?” We dudes at home are befuddled at the new title now foisted upon us. As if you didn’t know, with the revised vernacular comes an entirely new and not necessarily improved attitude. I’m not kidding here when I say that if I’d spoken to my parents in the way our teenage daughter speaks to us, I’d be missing both ear lobes right now. They would have been pinched off. There was no chance for me to get away with calling my mother “dude” or anything else besides just plain “mom.” With my parents, and especially mom, there was no gray area. There was only a black and a white. “Dude” is gray, definitely gray. Respect for thy parents was a Biggie while growing up. You either showed it or you were dead. We weren’t permitted to “diss” our parents after a hard day at school either. If we tried, we would have been “dissed” right up to our room before you could say, “Can I ride my Schwinn to the ice cream fountain?” So, there you have it. I am no longer the female parent in our household. I am now just dude. I never dreamed I would be referred to as anything other than just plain mom. However, I do have one confession here. To my horror, I caught myself just the other day saying to our son, “Dude, cough up the change,” after he borrowed money to buy a sandwich. I had casually ventured into the gray zone. I had slumped into Dude Territory, thereby blurring the line between parent and child. It was a slight blur, but a blur nonetheless. It spoke volumes about the relationships we forge with our children. Whereas the lines of my childhood were unmistakably delineated, the varying hues of our parenting techniques are now the norm. From this dude’s perspective, the feat these days is to strike a balance between patient, understanding listener and respected authority figure. It is a tricky undertaking indeed, but one that I meet with patience, love and joy on most days. So, to all of you parents out there wrestling with the humdrum but necessary chores all for the little darlings, I say to you, “Good luck dudes!”

Julie DiNapoli (1 Posts)

Written by: Julie DiNapoli

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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