I have two teenage daughters, one whose personality is similar to mine and one whose personality is similar to my husband. When they were younger I used to say a mini me and a mini he. That doesn’t work anymore, as they are both taller than me now. I won’t even begin to go into how unfair that is!
My girls have been off school for Spring Break since last Thursday. It has been a disruption to my already disrupted habits! Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, I do! It’s just that I had envisioned their teen years to be more self-sufficient. I only have my own teen years to compare it to, and thank God they aren’t that much like me!
I planned on them being self-sufficient, they’re not. I planned on them being somewhat independent by now, they’re not. I planned on them preferring to be with their friends instead of hanging out with their uncool mom, they don’t.
Sometimes they seem more helpless than they were at 2. I know the “fits” are on par to that age. Independence? HA! I guess that’s what I get for being an overprotective helicopter mom when they were small. Yes, I admit it I’ve been overprotective in many ways. I wanted to make sure no one abused my babies the way I was abused as a child. I wanted to make sure they were kept safe from harm.
The first time my oldest daughter got a cut, she was maybe six months old. I was on the phone with my mother when she crawled over by the air conditioner vent in the floor. she ran her little finger under the edge of the metal vent; and cut herself. She didn’t cry, but I noticed blood on my tile floor. Then realized she was looking at her little finger. I practically screamed into the phone at my mother – “oh my God she’s bleeding!”. To which my mother replied, “Well for heaven’s sakes, what did you expect to come out, grape Kool-Aid?”
I know, it seems silly now.
I rarely left them with babysitters, I didn’t trust enough. When I worked full-time and took them to daycare, I asked a gazillion questions, called at odd hours in the day. I was a pest, I know but these were my precious babies! It was a very good day for my mental well-being and that of the daycare staff when I retired from government service to be a full-time stay at home mother. The only drawback was that it fostered my hovering overprotectiveness.
I arranged playdates with safe families. I took them to the parks, to Grant’s Farm, to the Zoo, and many other outings. Now they expect it and I get complaining if it involves a train. In St. Louis, we’ve visited the Museum of Transportation many times. It mostly consists of trains and the girls have developed an aversion to trains. Yes, sometimes we go there just because I know they are cringing. Yes, I know, bad mom! Ever heard the old saying “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy?” Don’t poke mama bear, she has claws.
Instead of my children going to their friend’s houses, their friends come to ours. On one hand, it’s nice to know that my house is considered the cool house, but teenage girls can eat you out of the home almost as quickly as teenage boys.
Don’t agree? Consider this: typical teenage boy gathering is 4 to five boys; typical girl gathering involves up to twelve girl max; more if you allow it but my limit is twelve! Even if they are “dieting” you have more mouths to feed, and frankly most teenagers aren’t that hung up on calories yet.
It’s the same principle as the group bathroom break. Ever hear a dude ask his friends “I’ve got to go to the bathroom, who’s got to go?” No, and if he’s smart he never will!
When I was a teen I was very independent. I did my chores, which were much greater than I require of my girls. (NO ,I didn’t walk 5 miles to school uphill both ways in the blinding snow, it was only 1 mile) We didn’t have microwaves, we didn’t have a dishwasher, and we didn’t have air conditioning. Open windows meant more dust on everything. I can’t even get them to push the vacuum, much less use a feather duster! Yesterday when they were home, my oldest daughter complained that I went to my room to avoid them in, using her whiny voice.
I was changing over the winter clothes for spring and summer wear! I had asked them both to do the same with their own clothes, a request that was ignored. Oh well, those long sleeve shirts will be pretty hot in a few weeks, maybe they’ll do it then.
My husband pointed out after a frustrating episode of them not doing their simple chores that it was my fault. Big mistake buster – not making any ponts right now! He stated that it is my fault because, although I get frustrated with them, I do it for them. Guilty as charged, but it doesnt’ really help to point that out right now! I went three days without them doing their chores and leaving it for them to do. I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I did it! Come on, three days worth of dirty dishes on counter top? I had nowhere to prepare dinner, it had to be done.
Of course now I’m the bad mom again because I’ve taken away privileges. Too bad, because Uber Nazi writing muse has a sister called Uber Nazi drill sergeant mom! She’s lean, mean and unmercifully obsessed with clean!
I have a little over a year to make certain that the oldest is ready to be on her own, as she will be heading off to college. She’s got a long way to go. She asked me yesterday how often the maid service changes your bedding in college. I nearly spewed my coffee on the computer screen. I’m not sure how things were at other colleges, but the one I attended didn’t provide maid services or laundry services. It was all up to the students to care for their things.
I never got any instruction manual when they were babies and I was too protective. I haven’t received any updated manuals now that they are teens, and I’m trying to encourage them, strongly suggest, and yes even push them to becoming self-sufficient responsible people. It’s my job, it’s what I do, be the mom. Good mom, bad mom, unappreciated mom, and even the comforting mom. It’s a 24 hour a day/7 day a week/ 365 days a year job. It tries my patience as nothing else can, yet provides the biggest rewards in life.
Even though we’re having a rough patch right now, I”ve got great kids. They aren’t taking drugs, breaking laws, or getting into fights. They are both smart and get good grades in school. Good thing too because we’re really hoping for a scholarship!
In my current state of temporary disability, they’ve been less than helpful. I guess that’s the root of my frustrations. The fact that I’m not able to do the things that need to be done, and the fact that they don’t see the need to pitch in and get them done. Meanwhile, it does nothing for my current mental state which is a mixture of self-pity, obsessing over the things I am unable to do, and my over achievers nature.
I don’t make a good patient. It’s not life threatening, just restricted mobility for a short period of time while my injury heals. I’m dealing with it, just not well! It’s against the nature of being a mom to remain inactive. My dad used to say to my mom that she had springs in her butt! It’s true, a mother rarely lounges around letting others wait on her.
My girls go back to school tomorrow. Is it bad that I’m rejoicing? It will be nice to get almost back to my daily routine. Well, except for not being able to go downstairs to do the laundry, and other household chores that involve kneeling, bending or even walking.
OK, I confess I really missed my quiet time to write. I often have the music turned up, or the tv on for background noise, but it’s not the same as having actual conversations going on in the same room. Especially when they are directed towards you. I put my laptop aside, and gave them my attention, but my heart was with Zane and Isabelle in the highlands.