Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings." ~Hodding Carter

A dear friend said to me today " You know, some people are one way in front of their kids & another when they aren't. You're always the same." I took it as a real compliment. Funny that that came up today. It sort of made me pause & marvel in the irony when the shit hit the fan a mere few hours later.

"Kids do not come with an owner's manual when you have them." I've often stated that to friends & family when we have discussed someone feeling overwhelmed/exhausted/frustrated about some situation or another that had them asking aloud what the hell they did to get there. I have certainly used my own mother's "parenting" as a guide on what NOT to do in raising my own children. I have personally subscribed to being open and upfront & above all, bluntly honest with my kids. I try to treat them the way I want to be treated.

When I began to consider this move across the country, I sat them all down & told them that if there were any "absolutely no ways" in the group, we simply would not move. I kept them involved every step of the way during the decision & planning & ultimately the execution of this move. I certainly knew there would be bumps in the road. I thought I'd gotten lucky....

It isn't even that I have an issue with the fact that they are struggling a bit to adjust. I totally get it. Leaving everyone you know & starting over in High School. It's a massive adjustment. It's the fact that no matter how often I say "come to me" when ever you need to talk, here I am finding out about it not once removed but twice. And that is positively fucking infuriating. I loathe not being told first what is going on in the lives of my own goddamned children. And to be told to pretend everything is hunky dory until when someone else says, just about puts my ass over the deep end.

Then in the midst of that anger comes a nagging little voice. It keeps whispering to me & damn if the bitch isn't getting louder. It keeps saying one word over & over.


Have I made a mistake? Did I do them more harm than good by making this move? Is the reason that she talked to someone else because I am a bad mother? She feels like she can't talk to me...? Do they not want me to know that they hate it here? Was I selfish? Will they hate me

The questions just go on and on and on. But the main thing I take from them all is doubt. I haven't done a whole lot of that in my day & suddenly I am standing on a very slippery slope with all kinds of care on my shoulders. Let it be made known that I obviously care what my children think. What I mean is, where along the path did I start to question what I was doing? and why? How do I teach my children that life comes with all kinds of changes and if they don't have a solid foundation for coping with it, that they will not make it in the world? How do I say that & still seem like I am hearing their concerns? Is the current administration not working?? (No pun intended, truly.) 

When a woman raises children on her own, she assumes the role of mother, father, friend, confidant, enforcer, protector, administrator, chef, stylist, judge, security detail and so on. Those quantity of roles diminish as the kid gets older. I am OK with all of those things. Here is my concern though. When one person has too much power, where does the line get blurred? How do I know of I am failing them?

Usually, there is a point in my writing where what I am stressed out over starts to meld its way into a resolution somewhere in purging process. Tonight though, that is not the case. Tonight I am forced to look over my own report card as a Mommy. Frankly, I feel like I've been handed a bunch of Fs.


  1. Oye nena, being a mother is without a doubt the toughest job on the planet. And when you're a single mother who also has to be "father, friend, confidant, enforcer, protector, administrator, chef, stylist, judge, security detail", that responsibility is beyond real. Yes, I'm sure you've made mistakes because EVERY parent has. No exceptions.

    But you have to focus on the positives. Your children are healthy, happy, loved, and sane. That's no small feat. There are many kids with two parents who meet none of those criteria. You can't be perfect because life isn't perfect. But luckily, your kids don't need you to be perfect. They just need you to be. If you have any F's, they stand for Fierce, Fun & Fabulous. (((Hugs)))

  2. I'm not a mom, so I won't pretend to know the stress of the role. But what I DO know is that your children are intelligent, affectionate, independent beings. They have been raised to keep their eyes and ears and hearts open. That's more than I can say for the majority of the adults that I know. Good job, Captain.