We are In this Together
You know that feeling in the evening when you finally get the time to exhale and really breath. The day is finally done you think to yourself , tomorrow is a new day. You drag your sore tired feet upstairs and head towards your child's room with your arms full of laundry. Your feeling much calmer and decide you just need to give them a hug, say prayers in hopes that you can get closure from that crazy mess of a day. As you get to his room you pause in the doorway, he is sound asleep and the light of the moon is shining straight onto his perfect little face, all you can hear is the gentle tumble of the dryer in the background and his breathing. His arm is tucked up under his head, he lay so still, so peaceful it's hard to imagine the day you both had. You fight back tears and try hard not to reflect on the days events. He was just your baby yesterday and you were his most favorite person in the whole wide world, and you were so happy to be his mom. There it goes, the tears roll down your cheeks uncontrollably , you step towards him and sit on the edge of his bed and sob, as you let your mind wander back to this emotionally exhausting day;
“OMG!!” you screamed as the cereal bowl went crashing onto the floor and the feeling of cold milk went down your legs. You look at him with FURY in your eyes “My brand new suit!” This is an important meeting!” you impatiently holar as you run up the stairs. You try to brush out the milk smeres with a washcloth but it's for sure a stain.
You run back down the stairs and the TV is now on, “are you kidding me...GET ON THE BUS. Now you’re screaming at him! He runs out the door only to see the tail end of the bus turn down the next street. You grabbed his backpack and his arm and run towards the car. You give a lengthy speech about how he has made this day a very awful start … if only he could be organized and on time in the mornings. He rolls his eyes at you and gets into the back seat with a huff then begins to play on his phone. The whole drive you look back from the rear view mirror trying to give a motivational speech on WHY mom needs you to get your act together in the mornings, only to find your voice getting louder! and louder!! as you can clearly tell he is not listening at all but lost in his phone.
You pull into the school drop off zone in a fashion that would make a NASCAR driver blush. You yell to the back seat ”go go go ...mom is so late”. He jumps out, slams the door angrily and does not even look back. For a second you want to park and run in after him and give him a hug. Just then you glance over at the school bench to see Brenda Smith, with her daughter sitting together laughing. Brenda kisses her on the head sweetly, helps her with her bag and then off she skips looking back at Brenda with a smile on her face and her blond hair bouncing, and blows her mom a loving kiss.
Your heart sinks for a moment then sarcastically you think 'ya well darling Brenda Smith does not have an 8:30 a.m. appointment with a new boss does she?' ... you look down at your cell to see its 8:30 a.m. ... LATE!!!!!!! Now you find yourself staying way longer at work to make the new boss knows you are truly a hard worker and make up for the late start. You get home in the dark, and almost drive over his new bike laying in the middle of the driveway. You threatened to take it away last week, if he did this again. You walk into the house already planning how this consequence is going to go down. You see three kids all sitting in your living room playing video games. Snacks all over the floor, but they are all laughing and having fun they seem so content and you just don't want the fight. You drag yourself into the kitchen to put on dinner. With a yawn you flop in a chair and grab the backpack and empty the lunch containers. You find a letter addressed to you asking you to sign the assignment he had done this past weekend that apparently is incomplete. You finally get dinner made, trying your best for this one not to be out of a box and of course it's something he just has to convey to you that he does not like. You spend half the meal explaining to him that there are starving children all over the world who would do anything for a dinner like this, and the second half trying to find out why he did not get the assignment done!?
It all ends with him raising his voice and being rude and YOU DEMANDING his respect. All the things you know as an adult are the right things to say ... they just seem to not come out of your mouth and instead you engage him in a screaming match.
For a moment he goes silent and it occurs to you that he has more going on ... but it's too late. He looks at you with full preteen ATTITUDE and says … I hate you!! I wish I could eat at David's house they are all normal there! Your hurt and beaten down ego makes you turn away quickly and just do dishes so he can not see the tears that you are trying to hold back. He angrily stomps up the stairs grumbling and you slump down at the sink and cry. You love him so much. Why is he turning out like this? How do you make it any different? How do other families do it? Why is David's house “NORMAL." You wash the dishes and beat yourself up in your mind for how you have been parenting. The water from the tap drowns out your sniffles as you convince yourself the rest of the world has this all figured out.
We have all been here, maybe not this exact scenario but I am certain you have had moments where todays crazy schedule has taken over and you don't even know who you are becoming some days. Or perhaps you are a perfect parent and have youths all figured out, if so this is probably a column which won't interest you.
My name is Marcy Hill I am a Youth Worker. I have worked with kids and teens most of my life. For the last 15 years I worked with YWCA Muskoka and had the privilege of working with elementary and highschool level girls and boys all over Muskoka form Severn bridge to Dwight. I am most definitely not a parenting expert, I believe that statement to be an oxymoron. I raised 3 sons and I guess I am still working on it and they can tell you and will tell you, it was not at all a smooth ride. Actually it is through my mistakes and their trials and pitfalls that I have learned so much myself. I have built up a plethora of books, and materials along the way and so many fantastic resources. I would love to bring to the table each week some true stories, and rich content that may or may not be of use to you. Take what you want and let the rest go. Parenting seems to be a shame and judgment minefield. We are never sure if we are doing the right thing and everyone else seems to have it all together.
Everyone is trying to figure it out as they go along, no matter who they are. It's just that parents spend a lot of time judging each other and criticizing each other instead of being truthful, and open and helping each other get through it together. My hope by writing this each week is to help people feel like they are not alone. So they can be open and vulnerable enough to reach out and get the help they need when they need it, because raising kids is tough. I will post an article one week on an adult's perspective and the following week I will be picking a youth to share with you what they feel about being in this world today, and things that help and hinder them. I believe a perspective through their eyes rather than the teen you are personally dealing with brings a different angle. Often how we react with our kids is because of our own deep rooted feelings of self. When we can hear how they are feeling from another teens perspective it’s at times easier to hear and accept it with less risk of emotional exposure. A true mentor and leader in my life says “putting down the measuring stick in a culture that used acquisitions and accomplishments to assess worth is not easy,” - She speaks of learning something that changed and probably saved her life. She writes, “Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting” -Brene Brown
So I guess figuring out how to deal with our kids is really figuring out how to know and love ourselves. So let's start by agreeing we are all in this together and at times we just need some help. Lets force shame out of hiding!! You got this tribe!!