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Parental Instinct: When A Mom Shows Up at a Party in Her PJs

Do you ever get a gut feeling that says, “Go check it out?” I don’t get it very often, but on a Friday night a couple years ago, I was glad my parental instinct kicked in.

My 16-year-old son asked if he could go over to his then girlfriend’s house for the evening. Not an unusual request and after being assured that her parents (whom I know and trust) would be home, my answer was, “Sure, have fun.”

My husband was on a business trip, so I looked forward to having the house/TV/remote all to myself.

About an hour later, in my pajamas, with a bowl of ice cream in one hand and the remote in the other, I headed for the couch. Out of the blue, I remembered that the parents of one of my son’s friends were out of town for the weekend. “Hmmm. No they wouldn’t go there. Right? Also, I have never felt the need to check up on my kids, so why now?”

Who knows why but I decided to drive to that friend’s house. As I drove in my PJs and flip flops, I remember thinking, “This is really stupid.” But I figured I’d at least feel relieved when I saw that no one was there. So instead I worried that I’d get in an accident and that my son would never trust me again and my husband would think I totally overreacted.

As I got closer to the house, I had a pit in my stomach. Call it a mother’s instinct. “Ugh. What will I do? How will I feel if I do see my son’s car?”

And, damn, there it was, parked with several others outside the house.

No parents home. My heart sank. And anger took over the pit in my stomach.

I usually don’t think quickly but this time, for whatever reason, I did. I called my husband who was halfway across the country and told him my plan. He said, “Go for it,” and I did.

Text to my son: “I can’t find my wallet, hoping I left it in the car—can you go check?”

Son: “You want me to check now?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Son: “Ok, hold on a sec.”

Want to read what happened next?

And out he came—was there a spring in his step? Was he thinking, This is great. Mom thinks I am such a good son, answering right away, doing as she asks—and all the time, here we are at this fun party. No one knows we are here, without parents having a … “MOM?!?!” And there I was in the moonlight, arms folded, PJs on, waiting.

The party was over.

Mindy Gallagher is the Social Media Manager for Your Teen Magazine. She is the assistant coach for the girls’ lacrosse team for Solon High School in Ohio.

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