I am not your mother. What is it to me if you yawn out loud in class, your mouth uncovered and stretched wide? What do I care if you make that sound — ahhhhhhhhh — so that those in front of you and behind look up from their notetaking to watch you? I am not your mother. But listen. That guy at the front of the room might have a fancy title and a bunch of books on the shelf at the university store, but he is still a human being. He worked hard on this lecture. For you. Cover your mouth and learn something.
I am not your mother. And you? You are most likely a genius. I’d guess you aced your SATs. You probably speak three languages, play the cello professionally and run a small non-profit in your free time. But it seems kind of stupid to ride your bike in traffic without a helmet on, Mister. I am not your mother, but don’t you hear that fire truck speeding up behind you? No? I guess it’s because of those earbuds you’re wearing.
I am not your mother. Your mother is probably sitting in her kitchen in New Jersey or Texas or Washington state. She might be drinking her coffee this morning, imagining you walking across campus wearing one of the button down shirts she bought you over the summer, before she packed all of your belongings into the car and drove you hundreds of miles to college, where she left you on your own for the first time, a lump in her throat as she drove away. I am not your mother, but would she be happy to see you wearing that I am the man from Nantucket T-shirt? Would she?
I am not your mother. It’s not my place to peer over your shoulder as you surf the Web, IM your roommate and peruse photos from New York fashion week when you should be listening to this lecture about the origins of the daguerreotype. Don’t you realize how much this is costing your parents? Don’t you realize college does not last forever and you should soak up every bit of this, because one day you will have a boss and a spouse and kids and a to-do list you can never complete and this is your one chance to just spend your days filling up your brain?
Did I just say that out loud? Oops. Sorry. Aren’t you glad I’m not your mother?