I have teenaged children and they are making me insane. Literally insane. They fire me up with guilt every time I choose not to do something for them just cause they want it. But I have screwed up so many times, i don’t even trust my decisions even when they are on my own behalf now. How crazy is that?
I figure I have made about 1 out of five right choices when it comes to parenting. A probable 50% improvement over my own parents I’d say. Each generation gets better. We become more open-minded, less violent and conflicted in many ways. Socially, although we may bemoan our current global circumstances, we really live in pretty prime times. And yes, if there is one thing lacking in common with each of our screwed up societies is that none of us know exactly HOW to deal with our young.
When they are babies we indulge them, and then when they grow we distance ourselves from them. ALl of their lives we tell them be like me be like me, then when we find ourselves in them in ways we may not have counted on, we resent them. It’s all a very unlikely to succeed game, this game of parenting.
There is a good chance that you go into parenting in the first place for the wrong reasons. How many kids are conceived “accidentally”? I don’t trust any of the statistics on this from government sources because I am pretty sure people lie about this kind of stuff which invalidates all of the numbers. So, you are in shock, the course of your life suddenly changes (even good changes can be hard) and you try and adapt to your new existence as the keeper of a brand new living breathing human being. It’s quite a plunge let me tell you.
Now if you were like me, at 25 I was not yet married and was still trying to figure out what i was going to be when i grew up. Then I had my daughter. It was lovely. She was lovely. I felt like I “fit in” to what the world expected of me, and I really enjoyed every minute. i watched her grow and loved even the late night awakenings for feedings. I revelled in every moment of early parenthood. I was pregnant with my son when my first was 9 months old. Now began the exhaustion. ( months pregnant with an 18 month old. Can you imagine?
My third daughter born just two years later, I nursed her till she was 16 months (now I was DETERMINED to be perfect), I divorced their father when she was 2. I met my current husband when she was 3 and when she was 5 we all moved in together. That’s when I got FOUR MORE kids ranging from the ages of 3-14. His ex-wife had died and we were thrown into what everyone called The Adam’s Family meets The Brady Bunch. It was awesome in the true sense of the word. We did enormous expansions on our house, and even sat for many years at a 14 foot picnic table because it was the only piece of furniture we could all sit at as a family and afford.
The kids grew pretty happily together, but when you have so many, there is always GUILT. That evil demon cloud that seems to perch itself above your head the minute you push out your first baby. It think it grows in intensity and by the time children reach adolescence, they have managed to render your mind mute to its own protestations.
I have done some of the dumbest things Imaginable. I have given in way too many times to unreasonable demands because I don’t “want them to hate me”. I have relived the guilt of leaving their father 8 million times. How much longer exactly must I live like this?
My 15-year-old daughter (I know…you’re smiling) is a brainy vivacious beautiful brilliant girl. She is snappy and wistful all at the same time. She has a brash attitude and thinks I’m the devil. I’m not sure when that happened but it was right around the time when she was thirteen and came down the stairs and her head was spinning around in circles.
I sometimes secretly cry because I miss my daughter like you would someone who you know is on a very long vacation. I am sometimes afraid she won’t ever be coming back and that would be very sad.
So yes, this is not the greatest piece of writing to read if you are considering having kids. my current opinion is that we have too damned many of them already and we need to take care of what we have i=before we start making new ones. Does that mean maybe you will lose a generation of your progeny? That you wont be remembered in history because all you really think you can contribute to this world is your genetic offspring? That’s a very limited point of view as far as I’m concerned.
Having children…having these children, was definitely in the destiny of my soul. I knew what I was doing, it felt right and good and fulfilling while I was doing it. But now, on this even before a vacation with my husband, I find I am EMPTY. I am not only incapable but completely unwilling to do anything further for one more person today. I am done. Empty. Without resources with which to partake in life I’m exhausted.
But be careful when you write things, because I was re-reading my post from yesterday and came upon the part where I gave the GREAT ADVICE (sheesh) of Filling Your Own Cup. Well…maybe I should take my own advice.
So, let me say in defense of my great idea that when you choose to do this, you will find that maybe you need to set boundaries with people in your life. Where you have taught them that you are always available to be pounded on or requested of or talked to or interacted with on some level, you now have to teach them that this is no longer how it works with you. Explain that sometimes, like everyone, you need some time not to think about anything and just be. You may have to explain that you can’t always be on call all the time to solve people’s problems or listen to their anger and that in fact they are all more than capable of solving their own problems.
It’s tought for them, because they will feel a loosening of the net you have built under them and likely they will attempt to take their discomfort out on you. But try not to accept the “poison” or anger they try to hand you.
Changing the game plan is never easy. Remember how much you like change that you did not request? Well…everyone else is the same too and everyone reacts in different ways, but ultimately their reactions are less your concern than is your own, for you only have control over your perception of things. Nothing else.
So try to take your space today as much as you can, and know that even though they may not understand it, filling your own cup is the very best thing you can do for everyone that you love.
~peace~ from out here in the real world.