Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The parenting blues

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman parent.

Remember when the hurts of the world could be fixed with a popsicle, a hug and a pokemon bandaid? It's not so easy anymore. The world is bigger now and doesn't begin and end with mommy or daddy. Drat!

I don't always know what to do. It's much more complicated with friends and school and money and homework and the computer and.......it all.

The same amount of love is still there, but the walls that it builds are not high enough to keep the rest of the world out.


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

My name is Sarah. I read your blog often and I don't have a blog of my own. I know you pretty much detest anonymous postings, but we-without-blogs don't have any other way to comment...so forgive me, okay? I read with interest your comments about it being tougher nowadays with children. Has it ever occurred to you that you have multiple opportunities to make that different with your own children? How we raise them, what values we teach them, what they grow up believing is true & important all comes (mostly) from home. So I would suggest you take back some of your natural parent-power and make changes NOW, before the World has any more influence. I don't really see you as a "stand around and complain and do nothing" kinda gal. But this last post makes me wonder about that.

Lynn said...

You are so right...It's tough when we see our children hurt. Our job as parents is not to stop our children from being hurt...it's giving our children the tools/confidence to be able to work through and deal with the difficulties that life will inevitability throw their way. That way, when we are not there, they will still be o.k. (sigh)

Sally Forth said...

How apropos. The pokemon bandaid now is the trust you place in your children and the abilities you've given them to negotiate life.

Nancy Dancehall said...

I hear you. Mine are already 4 and the world doesn't begin and end with mommy and daddy anymore. The best we can do is make sure home is a haven, since it cannot (and in the end probably should not) be a fortress against the world.

mrschili said...

Oh, GOD, don't I know this! I wrote a post about this very thing not too long ago, when Beanie was having social problems at recess (she's in second grade). Why doesn't the world just rip your heart out now and get it over with?

The only thing I can do is remember that *I* survived it all (well, that I CONTINUE to survive it all; it never really stops, does it?) and that my babies will, too. Mr. Chili and I do the best we can to be all of those metaphors that kids need - the strong foundation, the safe place, the net below them - so that they can venture out into that big scary world but still have someplace to come home to and let down their guards.

Love and strenght to you, Meno. Regardless of how helpless you may feel, you're doing a fantastic job.

mrschili said...

I try not to read others' comments before I make my own, and I just hit "publish" and read the comments that came before mine.

Sarah, I respectuflly disagree with your assessment of Meno's post. She's not complaining so much as she's lamenting the fact that she doesn't have as much control/influence over the things that her nearly-grown daughter has to deal with.

When they're little, our babies can be guided away from the things that can hurt them; "don't touch that, Sweetie - it's hot." When they're older, they've got to do their own guiding and we, as parents, have to sit back and watch them get burned sometimes.

From everything that I've read, Meno is a top-notch parent, and Em is better equipped than most to deal with the pitfalls of life. She has a fantastic relationship with her mother (something neither Meno nor I have), and that will stand Em in good stead as she makes her own way in the world. She's still going to have to make some mistakes, though, and that's hard for a mom - especially a good mom - to watch.

I think what you're interpreting as complaining is really just wistfulness that Mommy-Meno can't kiss it and make it better anymore. I totally get that.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Some days my kids will come home from school with stories that just break my heart. After we talk about what happened and how to handle the situation (name-calling seems to be the latest thing), the kids seem ready to move on.

But not me. I can't let go. The Mama-Bear comes out of her den.

I used to think as the kids got older, it would be easier. But it isn't. Dammit.

lu said...

I like that Mrs. Chili. Ditto.

It is so very hard, This is our daily struggle, how much can we do, do we do enough, are we doing the right things, did I choose the right school, the right neighborhood, and I when I yelled last night did I scar him for life...

It ain't easy. Never will be.
Damn it.

Marsha said...

For me the hardest part of being a parent is allowing my daughter the freedom to make some of her own choices and resolve some of her own conflicts. I know that the lessons she is learning today will help her in life, I just with I could wrap her up in a swaddling blanket and shield her from the world forever.

My parents shielded me from life and I believe this made my initial foray into the world that much harder. But, now I can understand why they were so protective of me.

Mother of Invention said...

I echo what Mrs. Chili and several others have said, meno seems like she gives Em total support and understanding, which is internalized bt Em. She willl raw on this for a lifetime as she encounters new problems and will always think of her mom as a safe, soft place to fall.
Although I am not a parent,I have seen the new challenges that re presented to parents these days through teaching and observing what my sisters have dealt with that certainly didn't challenge my parents in the 5o's. Life was far simpler.

patches said...

I don't like to see people hurting, but is an inevitable part of adolescence. Em has reached the age, in which she will have to find her own way through some conflicts. She knows you are there for her, because you always have been. We don't always want to be saved from conflict, sometimes we just need someone to listen, and offer guidance.

KJ said...

Many years ago, a group of young mothers at a cocktail party were doing the oneupsmanship thing about parenting problems when a stylishly older crone (with martini held high) announced: "My dears, you don't know what trouble is until they get married!" Shut us right up... and I've thought of her prophecy many times since.

Maggie said...

Meno, I once heard someone say that the job of a parent is the one love that leads to separation. That is so true. And it makes sense that if we want our kids to be able to handle that separation one day, then they have to go through these pains that are so difficult for us. Which is why I agree with Mrs. Chili also, that its not about complaining or not doing our job but that we still hurt when they hurt even if we have done our job. Give Em a hug for us - I'm sure you already did, but hey do it again. :-)

jen said...

Ok, seriously. I dread this. I absolutely do.

Cagey said...

Hold tight. I've been reading you for awhile and it's apparent that 1) You are THERE and PRESENT for your daughter and 2) You love your daughter immensely. Guess what? She probably knows that!

Caro said...

I like when you get poetic Meno. Thanks for those pretty images. I often think about how I am going to let go one day. Let them learn to build their own systems of defense to stave off the dangers of our big bad world. Have a great day.

thailandchani said...

Maybe it can't shut the world out ~ but it certainly is one hell of a cushion!

That can last a lifetime.


Peace,

~Chani

Joan said...

It's such a responsibility being a parent these days and I admire and respect all those who take on this challenge.

Toni said...

You will get through it with flying colors. I have no doubt.

QT said...

Being "different" (as in ethnically) from the rest of my classmates for the majority of my time in school, I developed a very thick skin for a lot of things, but there were times when things really got to me.

I know there were times when my own mother reached out to me, but in my adolescence, I felt like she just couldn't understand what I was going through. I neer stopped to think that her moving to a COMPLETELY different country at the age of 16, starting high school, and not speaking the language very well maybe made her someone I could have found sympathy from. It is so obvious now, but I had blinders on then - she was an adult, I was not.

But I always knew she was there and loved me and would support me in whatever I wanted to do 100%. I know Em knows that about you.

Bob said...

my son suffered a lot because he was different than most of the rednecks he went to school with. (sound kinda bitter?) It broke my heart continually seeing what he went through and not being able to prevent the pain he endured.

It is so incredibly frustrating knowing that both of our kids will experience pain, loss, heartbreak - it is a part of growing up, being human, but it hurts just the same.

gr said...

Oh, Meno I know, parenting is so difficult, like when all three dogs want the same new toy and there is barking and snapping and hearing this from me is probably NOT helpful, but hello and good luck today anyhow.

meno said...

sarah, Hi, and thanks for your comment. I do not dislike anonymous comments unless they are just being mean, which you are not. If i hated anon comments, i wouldn't allow them on my blog. I was really just lamenting that i cannot take all the hurts out of the world for my 16 year old daughter, like i could when she was 3. This post was kind of whiney, wasn't it?

meno said...

lynn, i know, but i really want to charge in and kick some teenage meanie butt!

sally, i try really really hard to look at it that way. And i do trust Em. It's those OTHER people.

nancy, it cannot be a fortress against the world, but somedays i can't help but wish it were.

mrs.chili, 2nd grade? That is just so sad. And even harder to watch. I know Em knows she is loved, and that's pretty much all i can offer her in some situations. I think it will be enough. Thanks for the rest of your comments. :) xxooo

mona, do you ever find that it's hard to come up with constructive ways to handle the problem when you personally want to go beat the other kid(s) up? I do. :)

lu, exactly. Should i intervene? Should i let her figure it out? Am i doing the right thing? Is she happy? And so on and on and on....

meno said...

marsha, i wonder how much i should be pointing out the rocks in the stream, the ones i see from experience, or just let her crash into a few so she can learn to see them too. Ouch!

moi, you may not be a parent, but as a teacher you know a lot about kids. I do hope that i provide that soft place to fall, i also wish she would never need it.

patches, who among us would go back to being 16 again? I try and remember all the stuff i survived and hope she will be as lucky.

kj, NO! NO! says it ain't so! So you have married kids. Was she right?

maggie, it is that one relationship where the objective is to grow apart. And that has to be the way it works in order for our kids to become their own people. But no one said it would be so hard, somedays.

jen, it will begin soon for you, if it has not already. Sorry.

cagey, Thanks, she does know that i love her beyond all reason. Because i tell her everyday.

caro, it's better today, of course. I was in a bit of a panic when i wrote this. I'm glad you like my tendency to be dramatic with the words. :)

chani, you are right, of course. Makes me kind of jealous that i don't have that cushion. You too?

joan, i often say to the Mister "What were we thinking?" He replies that thinking was not a big part of it. :)

toni, we will. But there should be an easier way.

qt, that's quite the story. I wonder what your mom thinks about this time in your life now, if she's still around.

bob, from what i've heard about this situation from you already, you can go ahead and be bitter. But he's getting through it better now, right?

gr, you made me smile.

Bob said...

yes, thanks for being concerned. Although the workforce where he works is about 95% women (including Laura). So, he is slowly making friends and Laura gets compliments from random women about how nice (and quiet) he is.

Irrelephant said...

Meno dear, it sounds like you've gotten all the good advice you can stand, and from what I've gathered from them as know you I think you're going to manage as you always have--well, competently, and with love aforethought.

All I can suggest has been said already, and you seem to be doing it--make sure your daughter knows that you're there for her, if and when she needs you. Heck, I'd give Stucco's left testicle for a mother like that.

AC said...

I've got these, these blues. Drat

DDM said...

Oooffff. I get it from a slightly different perspective. I'm still trying to think of ways to answer "what's wrong with him?" that don't involve yelling or embarrassing or growling at the person who asked it.