I am going to open up and let you guys in on a little secret… Parenting is HARD.
Now I know you other parents are shocked I’ve uttered such things. You are likely shaking your head and thinking to yourself, “What’s her problem? Parenting is a cake walk.” OR, maybe that’s not happening, but I’m pretty sure it just seems like that to me, when I observe other parents.
It’s funny too, because you have these awesomely little energetic kids who try your patience and wear you out, and you think to yourself this will be so much easier when they can get their own lunches and are more independent. But it isn’t. It never actually gets any easier. In fact, it kind of gets a whole lot harder, as if the challenge grew with your kids.
There are days when you just know you are a great parent. Then there are other days when you are pretty sure that your kids would be much better off with a family of rabid raccoons over you. Imagine me, plus the latter scenario… Yep, welcome to my week. Mostly I just love my kids so consumingly and since they are older- its really hard to just watch things unfold. I’m just kind of sitting back, as their independent worlds spiral about, wondering what good I could have possible done, and maybe if I’d just ______________ a little more, things would be easier for them.
With my youngest at home, and her being 14 and all drama, things get pretty intense. She has an entitlement we can’t seem to shake, and these episodes that send the dogs running for the first floor in a heartbeat- when they are usually planted wherever our feet are. I am sure I had my moments, at 14. While I know they were nothing like this- (because I was not raised in an environment where things like this could exist) I do feel the bittersweet realization that she feels safe enough to completely freak out on me. I’m grateful for that. Even when she gets angry because she may lose her ipad privileges and she’ll scream about how abusive I am being. Having come from a childhood of darkness, I know that she obviously feels safe enough to shout out something so ridiculous- and this is a very good thing.
Even so- I wonder. I worry. We definitely struggle, as I imagine all mom’s with 14 year old girls do.
On some levels, it’s easier. She can see more movies I am also interested in (something we love) and read more mature books. (while also feeling it’s unfair that she can’t watch ALL PG-13 movies or read ALL YA books. You win some, you lose some.) But just when there is more to connect with, it seems like connections could happen less.
When my husband took a job with travel, I stressed long and hard about this. Already she was homeschooled (by me), already we were together 24/7 (nearly). Could I really endure it alone? Would we kill each other? Would it ruin the tumultuously confusing relationship between us where she’s screaming at me one minute, about how we have a horrible relationship and I’m a terrible mother- and then an hour later still reaching for my hand in the super market and giggling over inside jokes?
I worried, and I stressed. And then he began traveling and I realized I could be the one who manipulated these times.
So I am.
In the past couple of months we’ve watched Beaches, for her first time. I feel this is the ultimate best friends movie, but I also wanted to watch it for the first time with her. We’ve had ice cream for dinner. We’ve stayed up late talking and eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s frozen yogurt. We’ve laid on her bed and just talked about whatever nonsensical things came to be. I’ve introduced her to Elvis movies and she has fallen in love with Elvis. (adding this to her deep love of Patrick Swayze.) We’ve book browsed and had a million really great conversations. We market shopped for things Chw would never want to eat, and then went out to dinner anyway. We’ve made hot chocolate at 11 at night, and stayed up til 1 a.m. every night this week, watching Gilmore Girls.
It’s been really good. Way more good then bad, and suddenly, these travel times that I worried about are now something really special- and I’m grateful.
Now, to come up with a plan for coping well through all of the other tough stuff…