Sometimes being a parent really, really sucks. I hate to use that word, because it’s pretty offensive, and while using “horrible”, “exhausting”, “disheartening”, “humbling”, or “crushing” might each convey very specific meanings, none can embody them all like that particular word does. That word conveys the abject misery, the humiliation, and the sheer deprivation of giving it your all and getting next-to-nothing in return.
I love my kids. I’m 99.99% sure they love me. But much of the time, especially as they are in the midst of their teens, they don’t exactly show it in a “normal” way. I guess they do show it in a way that’s normal for teens: via rebellion and resentment. Oh, and disdain, too.
Most of the time I feel as if, in spite of all my loving and well-intentioned efforts, those things matter not one bit to them. They are so busy asserting their independence they don’t take into account all the unforeseen consequences. When those consequences then become reality, my kids are often faced with some unpleasant circumstances. What to do, then? Well, I usually become the punching bag and the garbage can. In a play to unload the responsibility for their own actions, said children somehow magically shift the blame to me. Because, of course, I explained ahead of time what the possible consequences of their actions/behavior might be. And evil Mom that I am, I’m also pretty psychic at knowing what ramifications they then might expect. I must be punished, for knowing how a certain behavior or action will turn out. Oh, I’m not saying I’m tortured like the alleged terrorists at Gitmo, but the punishment is much more subtle, more effective… There’s usually a lot of snarky comments involved. Oftentimes their voices are more than a little elevated. On occasion, they will ignore me as if I don’t exist. Crying is a biggie too, although, not so much with the boys anymore; they have to be manly at all costs!
What IS it about standing firm with disciplinary consequences that actually turns into more of a punishment for the parent??? I’m sure my parents would say that it’s payback for my infamously un-wonderful behavior toward them, but still! When you wake up with only the best of intentions to love and nurture your family, yet the day turns into a virtual showdown at the OK Corral, and you’re the one lying bruised and beaten on the dusty road, pat yourself on the back. You’ve held that line one more time. You’re not dead, you’re still alive to fight that battle one more day. And it’s hard to remember in those times of crisis, but honestly, if there’s one thing here on this earth worth fighting for, wouldn’t it be your family?