I recently told my husband that I feel like I used to be a much better parent than I am now.
I think back to when my kids were little, and I remember smiles, snuggling, making home made play dough, blowing bubbles outside, making cookies, reading stories, and having all day jammie days. It seems like time moved so slowly back then, and that I was able to sit back and just soak it all in. Today, time moves so fast. And as I spend much of that time in the drivers seat chauffeuring my kids to numerous events, practices, and games, I don’t know if I get that feeling of connection and soaking in the moment as often as it seems I did when they were small.
I think it’s maybe that I felt like a more successful parent when they were younger. When they were little, it was not hard to make them happy, I had all the tools. These days, I can longer longer fix a grumpy kid by going for a drive until they fall asleep, so that they then wake up happy.
It seems like now I am the guard dog at times, and they are trying to break in. And honestly, that is their job as they get older, to push and see where they can get to, in order to learn limits. To walk that tight rope of independence, as I try and keep the net operational below.
My kids are great, I am very proud of them. They are loving and wonderful, smart and caring. But, I have a teenager, a pre teen, and a tween. All those labels come with their own set of instructions and needs.
It isn’t necessarily easy with the ages that my kids are now. I can’t really send them to time out for two minutes, or take away a Rescue Hero if there’s an issue. I’m up against so much more than a tired toddler. The amount of why questions today are almost more than when they were little and asking their ‘why is the sky blue’ questions. Although now, it’s ‘Why can’t I?’ And, ‘Why not?’ I can’t always come up with clever crap that will pacify them anymore, it has to be real answers that make sense with my explanations. And then, at times when I have nothing left, I resort back to ‘Because I said so.’
When they were little, there was no checking out of real time and losing hours on the internet, it wasn’t available as it is today. Now, I have to decide which apps are appropriate for my kids, how much time is acceptable to zone out on their devices, and hope (and check up) that they are following the rules. Social media apps and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to my kids. I see many as invitations to problems. So, I say no to most. And then comes the backlash of being the ‘only one‘ without (enter in the social media app of the week here) in the whole school.
Clothing is another issue. I just can’t go for some of the things that young girls wear for my kids. It’s not enough that everyone is wearing them.
When I put my foot down and will not bend on some of these issues, the looks that are supported by what seems as disgust, (with no other word coming to mind to describe what I see in their eyes), can be hurtful. Issues my kids face and bring up make me question myself with every cell in my body at times, but in the end, I’d be cheating myself if I went against my beliefs, and that would feel much worse than dealing with a disappointed child. Because once I cheat myself, it would be very easy to cheat again, and my kids would know me to be a cheater on my own morals and beliefs, in addition to being wishy washy and willing to change my mind.
This shit is hard. And it’s going to keep going. Continue reading