This is the kind of statement about motherhood that makes me feel more than a little nuts. Give them everything you’ve got, keep showing up even when you’re beat, and forgive yourself for all the ways you’re damaging them psychologically. Yada, yada, yada.
I can’t figure out if this freak-out mode I’m in is hormonal (PMS does tend to make things a tad bit worse) or justified.
I’ve created my own monster, that is, teenage kids who do very little and receive everything they want and need – and suddenly I am a Monster, too, lashing out in frustration, feeling under-appreciated, taken for-granted and absolutely exhausted.
This is where my brain seizes up with information overload. My CPU replays every parenting manual I’ve ever read, and digs up every self-help discussion and session I’ve ever participated in. I suddenly feel guilty because …
I’m the adult,
They didn’t ask to be brought into this world,
I have the capacity to choose my reaction,
I can choose to do it differently,
I teach people how to treat me,
I’ve allowed them to create these habits of being,
It’s up to me to fix the mess.
Logically, that’s all fine and dandy, but inside I’m just plain crabby and worn out and want to have a big old snot-bawl and total temper tantrum like a two year old on the floor.
Yes, I’ve created my own monster – teenagers who get everything they ask for – privileges, clothes, fun and friends.
And yes, I’ve become a monster – cranky, rumbling, resentful – pushed to the brink of breakdown.
It is my own damn fault. For saying yes, Yes, YES! to their every whim and desire when I should have been saying ‘Sure, but you must EARN the privilege. Give me something in return. Contribute and we’ll see. Here are the expectations. Now show me the money.’
It makes perfect sense that I’m worn out. My days are filled with meal prep and dishes and work hours and meetings and laundry and dog walks – and when I ask for help, I get half hearted attempts and quick slam together jobs meant to appease me just so they can get where they want to go.
It is ME who has allowed this behaviour to happen.
And it’s me who has to be the one in charge and fix it.
Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure how and why this is my parenting style; say yes to everything – give them all everything they want. (I hate that I’m a marshmallow parent, because I am so hard on myself! What’s that about?) Of course, I just want them to be happy. I want them to have what they want. I want them to feel loved and supported, to have fun, and feel connected. And I think there is a part of me that just wanted them to be busy with something, too, whether that was sports or friendships or group activities.
And if I am brutally honest – I wanted them out of my hair. I wanted them off the couch and out of the basement and out of the pantry and out from under my feet. But, what I got instead was more work. By shooing them away and allowing them to head off to do what they wanted to do, I ended up holding the bag – full of all kinds of extra jobs plus resentment. I became the bank, the taxi, the permission slip and the person who picked up all the slack at home.
Enough with the Wah Wah. Here’s the cold hard truth.
1) I don’t like how I feel or how I behave when I am exhausted and feel taken advantage of.
2) Kids: give them an inch and they’ll suck the life force out of you like the Skeksis from the Gelflings.
3) I am where I am right now because I allowed it to happen.
4) I want it to be different.
Here’s what I’m faced with:
No one can do it for me.
If I don’t change it, they certainly won’t.
Having a screaming fit is not the kind of mom I want to be.
What’s harder? Having clear cut expectations and following them thru to get both sets of needs met, or feeling resentful, used and angry and lashing out?
I hate it when I know what has to happen all along.
But not as much as I hate who I am when I’ve reached the breaking point.