Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Sixth Sense

You know how it is sometimes? As a mother you just have this sense that something is bothering one of your children. I sense this with my son. He's quiet. I don't know why. I keep asking if it's girlfriend, school, cross-country? All of the above? He keeps saying it's nothing, but I know. I'm relentless when I sense this - I'll keep digging and asking till I know he's OK. I do think part of it is him not finishing/doing his college apps. Look, I know this is a pain in the ass, but I do think he'd feel better if he got it over with. How can I convince him of this? These are those vague moments that are, in some ways, more difficult than sleep deprivation when he was a toddler. At least that was clear. This is just so....silent.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Tales from the Front Lines

Lately, motherhood feels somewhat like a minefield. I find myself stepping carefully around my childrens' moods and emotions, often setting off the resultant explosions associated with their issues. Sometimes I just don't care and run through the field trampling over all of it, not caring about the collateral damage. But like a good soldier, I'm learning to pick my battles and step carefully.

I'm on the verge of cutting my losses on the cleaning issue. I've tried everything short of firing squads to force my kids to clean up after themselves. It doesn't work. So then I just don't do it and hope they get tired of their own messes - they don't. And though I try and ignore the messes, I eventually stumble upon them and get really crabby. In short, I guess I'm less stressed-out when I know that things are basically cleaned up and picked up. So I'm back to doing it myself. I know it's wrong. It's SO against everything they teach you in Mommy Boot Camp but for me, it's the shortest distance to relief.

I'm also learning when and how to nag. You'd think that after 17+ years of motherhood I would have figured this out, but no, that would be too easy. Lesson one: It's not a good idea to nag before school. It makes the kids crabby and unruly. They go to school hating you, you spend your day feeling like crap. An alternative is to wait until you've just granted them a privilege - friends over, a new DVD, their favorite dinner - and then ask them to please help out. On the other hand, if you must nag, it must be the center of focus. Dropping it into a casual, light conversation is a sure way that it will be forgotten and never done. It has to be calm, direct and serious. (I hope you're not taking this advice, especially in light of the fact that I've already told you that all of this has failed time and time again.)

I can see that we need to have a meeting of the troops in the near future. There are far too many unresolved issues such as the fact that I have children with virtually no responsibility but many privileges. It's a recipe for disaster, or a mutiny, at the very least. Butjust when I want them to start to do things, they get blitzed with tons of homework or extra-curricular commitments.

In the meantime I guess I'll just get on my belly, grab my rifle and crawl through the muck that is motherhood.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The State of the Momhood

Momhood has been....hmmm....exhausting, enlightening, entertaining, scary....just another regular week. My daughter is changing before my very eyes. It's like she turned into a teenager overnight. I have to remind myself that she's only 12. She has the body of a 15-year old and the mind of....well, she thinks she has the mind of a 17-year old, but often it just seems like a typical 12-year old mind. I'm really starting to like her again. OK, I admit it, I haven't really liked her a lot since she was about 5 when she seemed to regress into the TERRIBLE twos all over again. She's always been a verbal, challenging child. Suddenly, it seems like she's learning to harness that verbosity to her advantage. She's probably one of the, if not THE, most outgoing kid in her class. She hangs out with lots of girls and boys and is incredibly social and often quite witty. She's the pre-teen that we never got with our son. Like many things, this is both good and bad. Right now, it's kind of fun to watch. Stay tuned for interruptions.

Meanwhile, my almost 17-year old son seems very subdued. I think he's really stressed out about college, school and cross-country (which I'm quite sure he hates). I worry more about him because he doesn't express himself very much. Just like his father, I have to read between the lines. That's stressful for me! Can't we all just say how we're feeling without being obnoxious, rude, mean or whiny? But no, that would be too easy.

So, I'm learning to become a mind-reader. I'm not very good, but I do my best. And, like the true Libra that I am, I'm always trying to keep the peace and make everyone happy. Often, this makes me unhappy and crabby. Especially a couple of days during the month, if you know what I mean.

So that's update. Fortunately, nothing catostrophic today.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Short and Sweet

Well, the kids are completely and officially back in school. No days off for a while - thank goodness. I treasure this time and with the kitchen remodel going on, there's a lot to clean and pick-up. Lord knows they're not doing it. I'm trying not to be too uptight about cleaning and picking up, but I'm certainly irritated. Maybe I won't be so evil once the kitchen is done.