I think I'm a pretty good mom. I don't beat my children, and I give them dessert once in a while. I work hard to be painstakingly fair. I let my oldest daughter borrow my shoes. I take my son to the mall to buy a used video game he desperately wants. (even though he was grounded from the Nintendo at the time). I cuddle and read and go fun places. I strive for consistency. But these days, it feels like my children hate me. This is a sample of what I have heard this week from my little guppies:
- You're so evil!
- I wish you were dead!
- Get off my back!
- Leave me the hell alone!
- I don't have to listen to you!
- Go away go away go away!
I recognize it's not always going to be unicorns and rainbows and lollipops and cotton candy, but it is disheartening. I don't particularly like fishhooks and sea monsters in trade. Maybe just a little cotton candy once in a while would be nice.
My son is 11 now. And I can't stand him on more occasion than not. He is belligerent and snotty and just generally thinks he doesn't have to listen to me half the time. The other half the time he spends begging me for:
- a ride somewhere to buy something
- more video game/computer/toy time/snacks/insert whatever the hell he wants at any given moment
I have no idea if this is typical behavior, or if it is perseveration from the Asperger's on his part. He is like a mongrel dog with a piece of meat: once he gets hold of something in his head, I dare you to try to reach out and pull it away from him. It's just not going to happen. And if you try, be prepared to lose a digit or two. He doesn't back down, and he says what he is thinking. You know all those things we hold in our head that we never speak? He speaks them. At least to me. He just doesn't seem to get it. He doesn't quit. He generally says what he is thinking, no matter how hurtful it may be. Two days ago, he made me cry by calling me names. I tried something new: I grounded him from all electronics. He won't shut up about wanting to play video games. I have mentioned, "I said no, geez, stop badgering me!" Only to hear, "badger, badger, badger…." (oh Internet why must you taunt me so?) I have added more time, and he still won't stop asking, over and over again, whining about how mean I am, and just generally being a boil on my backside. I told him, "Son, you are completely in control of how this plays out. Your mouth is what got you in trouble. Once you stop, it stops." He doesn't have that limit line that most of us have, at least when it comes to me. It concerns me because if he has this attitude now, what will it be like when he is sixteen?
Speaking of sixteen, it sucks, thank you very much. I am not so old that I don't remember what it is to be a teenager. I know that it feels that your parents are on your case constantly, that you can't do anything right, that they think you are stupid. I know how much you yearn for independence and wish you could do things on your own without everyone watching to make sure you complete homework, make deadlines and do chores. I know that feeling. BUT. As a teenager, there is a lack of concern for the above. Priorities don't always match up with what you think is important. So, the internet may appear to have more appeal than say, getting an assignment done for school. And maybe, in my daughter's case, parents have to step in and make sure that the distraction disappears long enough to get said assignment done. And in doing so, that parent may end up feeling exactly the way they swore they never would based upon doing the exact thing they swore they never would. (By the way, this is probably where I say "SORRY MOM!" if you're reading this..I guess you were right and I was a shit as a teenager). Anyway.
I admit since I have been home from New Zealand, my tolerance for crap has been extremely low. I have stepped up my game and been more firm, because I am seeing that not setting clear boundaries for my children is starting to bite me in the butt. I am not a pushover, but I never saw the value in what I saw as authoritarian parenting. I always listened to my children, let them logically discuss issues. These days, that flat isn't working, and it is like living with lawyers. If there is a weak point or a loophole in my argument, they will find it. And you know what? I am just too damned tired to argue with them. Sometimes, you have to do things you really don't want to do. That's just life. And you don't get a choice, and you don't get explanations of why the dishwasher needs to be unloaded in the morning first thing (because if the dishes are clean, there is nowhere to put anything and the the dirty dishes just pile up in the sink, making more work for everyone for your simple convenience of doing the dishwasher later because you "don't want to, and if you want it done right now, why don't you just do it yourself" And? I'm the MOM).
Maybe the answer is just..because I said so. God, how I hate that I have turned into that kind of mother. But. I am tired. Really, really tired. And I cannot explain one more damned thing to ungrateful little yuppie larvae. It just so happens they were spawned by me. Doesn't change the fact that I just can't do it anymore. So.
Just. Do. It.
And, oh God, here it comes…Because I said so.
Or I will take you to Laguna Beach, and so help me, I will feed you to a really big fish.**I wrote this before the Sea World catastrophe, and while it may not be in the best taste, I am not changing it. It's humor. Deal with it.
T, who is at a loss