That’s right… Me, a single mom for the last sixteen or so years, is asking how to mom correctly. There definitely isn’t one right or wrong answer for this but it would sure be nice if there was a guide-book. You know a book with chapters on attitude adjustments, standing firm in your punishments, dealing with friends you don’t like, first dates, first time they have sex, etc, etc.. Because I don’t have to tell you that its hard being a parent; single, married, whatever. It’s hard.
I’m going through a situation with my daughter right now where she is seeing a guy that I feel isn’t right for her. To give some background, about a year ago they were talking and liked each other but he was also talking to another girl, who he chose over my daughter. Fast forward to last week, this guy, who we shall name X, is now broken up with his first choice girl and is now knocking at my daughter, second choice girls, door. Yes this is said boy from my first blog post. Now, my daughter who is a smart young woman, polite and with good judgement is, for the most part, timely and diligent with her studies and responsibilities at home and work however, lately she has an attitude, she is rude, she is acting irresponsible, lying, leaving things out, not following rules, two of her grades have dropped to a “D” and, she just got her first ever after school detention.
Meanwhile, I’m over here flipping a brick and freaking out. I’ve yelled, I’ve sworn, Ive threatened, Ive blamed X, I flipped out some more and then we had a good talk. Which apparently went in one of her cute little ears and out the other.
Of course I explained to her the value of self-respect by not giving X the option of having her as his second, backup, choice because if she doesn’t respect herself enough to insist on being first choice, then neither will he or anyone else. We talked about how respect for others, especially your mother, is important because if people feel like you don’t respect them, then they won’t respect you. People want to feel valued and friends don’t like to be blown off because you would rather hang out with some boy. Then there was the old mom trick of; “what would you have done if you were in an accident and the police were unable to get ahold of me because I thought you were at one location when apparently you were at another” with a few stray, ok.. forced, tears because you left out the part where you left and went somewhere else without telling me. This goes back to my helicopter mom-ing; she is supposed to text me whenever she arrives and leaves a location regardless of how close or far away they are from each other. I like to know where she is at all times.
There was more about the importance of not blowing off her studies and responsibilities at home and work. We had a lecture on not lying to me or her teachers because I know everything. Honestly, what mom doesn’t? After all of that she promised that things would change and she would reconsider her relationship with X. Who apparently promised her that she isn’t his second choice.
In an effort to cut down the time they spend hanging out, I have laid down the law. After school she is to come right home unless she works in which case she comes right home after work. Homework/studying gets done either right after school or work followed by any chores and then maybe… She can hang out with friends. This went over like a fart in church. Tears, hysteric screams of “your ruining my life” “this isn’t fair” “I promised I would change” “I apologized“. Then came the guilt. Yes, like every parent on the planet, whether you want to admit it or not, I felt guilty about restricting her activities.
Why did I feel guilty? I have no idea. Maybe it’s because I feel like she has had a hard enough time with only having one parent her entire life. Does my guilt stem from my need to have her not be mad at me because we are all each other has? Is it really fair for me to say she can’t see this boy? Do I secretly not want her dating if I’m not dating? Which brings me to the guilt possibly stemming from the fact that I’m a forty-one year old woman who is sometimes jealous of her sixteen year old daughter. Pathetic. Sad. Real life.
Today I asked for opinions on whether I should cut them off and not allow her to see X outside of school and one side was firmly in the “NO” don’t forbid her to see him because then she will and probably start doing other things just to spite you. On the other side was a firm “YES” you’re in control; limit the ways she can see him; take her car away and make her ride the bus and, drive her to work, take her phone away unless she’s in school or work, let her be mad at you. She will get over it.
While it is easy to see both sides of the argument, how do you know which is best for you and your child? You don’t. Not everyone parents the same. While one technique may have worked for the “take charge mom” it may not have worked out so well for the “air on the side of caution mom”. Personally I feel like I fall in the middle; I am comfortable limiting the amount of time she spends with X, to an extent, and monitoring the situation however, I’m not looking to become a grandma at forty-one.
Mom-ing is definitely hard and sometimes, when I’m not loosing my mind and forgetting how to do it, I remember that being a mom is something special that not everyone gets to do. Is it trying? Yes. Do I sometimes want to give up? Yes but at the end of the day, being my daughters mom is the best thing to ever happen to me.
Heres to the moms out there, single, married, whatever… If I can do it then you can do it too.
Until next time…