Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Is It Me?

Well, is it? You see, this isn't a simple question. This question has recently become the refrain that I utter in a frustrated huff...many times a any other adult within my vicinity. Usually it's my husband, but sometimes it's a friend. It feels like I've lost the ability to navigate through the waters of parenthood without checking with someone else.

Generally, this question follows an animated "discussion" with my daughter or after a "disagreement" with my son. I'll ask one of my children to do something, they will not want to, will protest loudly and I'll turn to my husband and ask: "Is it me?" Surprisingly, to me at least, the answer is never the same. Which is exactly why I keep asking.

After nearly 20 years of parenting, it seems that everything about it still astounds me. I'm shocked by my kids' disagreeing with me. I'm taken aback by their questioning of my requests and yet I'm realistic enough to know that often, I should check before I react. I lean on someone else to sort of "police" my emotions, lest I allow my mercurial estrogen levels to send me into the stratosphere over a messy bedroom, a missed curfew or unfinished school projects that are due in two days.

It's tricky, this mothering business, at least for me. There's no instruction manual and although you can look for practically everything on Google, there's no search result for dealing with "crappy teenage attitude." Trust me, I've tried. And so, armed with many choices, but few of them obvious, I wade through the often turbulent seas preparing to be blindsided by raw emotions or bold indifference, always at exactly the wrong time.

As physically exhausting as parenting was when my children were young, nothing could prepare me for the mental exhaustion that older children will cause. If I'm not angry and frustrated that they can't understand my point, or more importantly, my love, then I'm worried about them as they break toward independence. Years ago, after a co-worker was sympathizing with my lack of sleep thanks to my infant or toddler, he said: "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems." At the time, I had no clue what he was talking about. What could be worse than extreme sleep deprivation? How about extreme emotional roller-coaster?

Sure there are enough books about parenting to fill a decent municipal library. But I personally think that the point is that the books continue to be written because, still, to this day, nobody has all the answers. And it's because parenting is such an inexact science that I continue to ask the question, hoping, beyond reason, that someday I'll get it a little bit right.


At 9:33 AM , Blogger Suzanne said...

and you know what?...the kids are worse today then they ever were I think. They talk back, and roll their eyes, and act like everything is their God given right! It's overwhelming, and exasperating!!! It's not just you ...really!

At 10:47 AM , Anonymous Stephanie Davies said...

Hi, here from Michele's today! My son is only 8 years old, so I haven't hit the teenage stage yet. Right now I'm happy with my self-created delusions of how "happy I will be when we can communicate on the same level" and how we can "do things together that are semi-adult activities". I know, I'm setting myself up for a fall :( But I still have my hopes!

And Suzanne, stop whining. Kids "these days" have more difficult challenges to face than ever before also. With more crime, more guns, and 21st century technology, they have to do what they have to do to survive in this world to. It isn't the "good old days" anymore.

At 1:36 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

It isn't you. It's our insane world. It throws messages at them at a higher volume and from an earlier age. As much as we try to slow it down, a parent's influence only goes so far as they get older.

It's an insidious process, and I wish I had the right answers for it. I can already see my own hair going gray. Sigh.

At least we all have this wonderful form to share. I know that'll help.

At 3:30 PM , Blogger WendyWings said...

I have THREE count em THREE teens and a preschooler , three are great and on track and I think wow good parenting skills Wendy way to go.
My oldest is a total disaster , so much so we had to get him to leave home ( he is 19) same parents, same upbringing different VERY different result sigh.
We are hoping by 25 he will be straightened out but it is not easy.
Michele sent me :)

At 7:23 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

Hang in there...I was a rebellious teenager and now I get along great with my parents.

At 8:14 PM , Blogger kontan said...

ok, see, you're not giving me any hope for the years ahead. my oldest, who is 9, is driving me nuts with the attitude thing. i hoped she would grow out of it!

hang in there, i hear they eventually do!

At 10:50 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

if there was a book that had ALL the answers for parents, no child would grow up needing therapy... lol..
michele sent me!

At 6:25 AM , Blogger Mother Damnable said...

I so know how you feel!

Hello michele sent me :>)



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