Out of all the work and jobs, I have done, parenting is by far the toughest I have encountered. You hope and pray that you are doing a great job raising well-rounded children – but the *something* happens and you are questioning your parenting skills repeatedly.
When my eldest was still in high school, I thought he would NEVER graduate. Getting him to school wasn’t a problem, but staying in class, was a whole different topic. But alas, he did graduate – whew. And then he lived on my couch for a bit before I said no more, get up and get a job – and he did. But then he totaled my car but soon he was enlisted in the Army, serving his country. And four years later I am in awe – because he continues to stand for what he believes in and live the life he envisions with his wife – how they want to. I learned that I don’t always agree with him, BUT from the looks of it, I’ve done my job well.
I am now again a mom of a teenager of a different kind, the kind that goes to school but struggles to fit in and have friends. The kind that is sensitive and honors the “I am there for you no matter what” system – even if in the end, it means he is getting hurt. And yet, no matter the color of his hair or the ability to play bass guitar, he feels like he doesn’t fit in – and I could tell him that he was meant to stand out but it wouldn’t do any good.
Here he is in the prime of adolescent years, yelling for help on Facebook – waiting for me to reach out to him – when all the while I tell him, I will find someone for him to talk to and he can’t say it. And then my phone rang with the guidance counselor on the other line – my cool sweet sensitive adolescent has reached the point of where he just needed help to reach me.
Parenting is hard. You see the signs of adolescent years and you chalk it up to typical adolescent drama but your kid is screaming it’s something different entirely. My son will be getting help because he asked for it. It doesn’t reflect on my parenting, but it shows there is something more than I as his mother may not be able to handle OR my son doesn’t really want me to worry and “burden” me because that IS the kind of person he is.
He once told me that no one worries about him but that he worries about everyone one else.
Music is his release and I am grateful for that – and yet at the same time the greatest musicians have lost their lives too soon – and I become a bit worried.
I try hard to talk to my kids about their day and their struggles and yet kids don’t always want to reach out to their parents – not because of bad parenting – but because the kids want to protect the parents of the demons that hide inside of them.
I am sad that my son struggles so much but at the same time, I am incredibly grateful that he is showing the strength of wanting to get help.
Here are some signs of indicating that there is a possibility of depression and professional help is needed:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Irritability, anger, or hostility
- Tearfulness or frequent crying
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Restlessness and agitation
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you observe these or other symptoms, call the pediatrician or a counselor to help you sort it out. There is nothing wrong with seeking help if anything is and will be the best thing you can do for your teen!
Some days are really challenging or maybe most days are challenging, but it’s more manageable. And then, of course, there are days that really get the best of me.
It’s a gentle reminder of being human!
When working in a high energy requiring profession, coupled with special needs parenting – well talk about an emotional overwhelm.
I mean I can’t always have it all together – though I mostly wish I could.
Yet working in a demanding field and coming home where your kid (special needs or not) continues to put demands on your – where is the time for yourself?
It is right out hard just finding a moment to yourself and balance single parenting, work and yourself during it all. I didn’t run tonight, which is my usual self-care go-to activity to relieve stress and get myself together. 30 minutes of me and my music hitting the pavement – and I didn’t. I couldn’t.
I am tired.
And so, I sat. I sat in my chair, watching one of my favorite shows and did nothing. Until the moment, I felt I needed to write down my experience. Because frankly, parenting is hard. Working with people for some of us is also quite challenging even though we LOVE what we do. Or maybe your job crunching numbers and beating the deadlines of data entry is hard – I get it. All jobs can be hard. And then you are asked to give some more because you are nonetheless a parent.
Dinner needs to be made, bath to be given and cuddles to be had.
You will have a few minutes of solitude after the kiddo heads to bed – take a bath, read a book or journal. Do something to find some inner calm and balance within yourself.
Oh, and doing nothing, of course, is acceptable if it does its job!
Because tomorrow is another day and you will do it all over again.
So please, take care of you so you can!
Being a Parent is such a tricky journey. You teach through role modeling and lectures. You love through facial expressions and gestures. You want to connect with them.
You hope that your instinct is guiding you to help shape your child’s life, not only so they become a good moral citizen but also help them know they can have the life they envision even if their childhood hasn’t always been the best.
When my eldest was born, I made the choice to not impose my religious and spiritual beliefs onto him and that his father would respectfully do the same. I opted not to baptize him and his brothers because deep down I feel they must choose their own path.
I believed that pushing any faith or beliefs onto them would make them conform to standards set by society when in the reality, we all must choose our own path.
I spoke little about my pagan faith. They went to church here and there.
As my kids have gotten older, my alter and books became more exposed because I needed to be more open about it but I still shared little of what I believe.
What it boils down to however is that each of my children can explore the different ways to connect with their own spiritual path (whatever that may be). They can read the bible, go to church, pick up Pagan/Wiccan books, scour the internet for Buddhism or to whatever they may be guided to do.
In hindsight of not pushing my beliefs or their father’s belief onto them, I have inadvertently created a way to connect with my children. They come and ask questions and I can guide them to places where they could find the answer. I can talk with them in which no judgment is involved as I watch them explore their own world.
My path is not right for them because it is just that… my path. They must figure out their own even if we do not share the same or similar religious and spiritual systems.
I think by being able to be open to the notion that each of us has their own path and that we cannot push our own value systems or religious beliefs onto them, we can create conversation – and it is through that exact conversation you are connecting not only with your child but with an element of wisdom that parenting really didn’t have hard as I initially made it out to be.
I was watching one of my favorite shows and the line that struck me was … We are supposed to love our parents!
It so mattered of fact and in some capacity, there is some truth behind it… but what if our parents don’t love us?
We endure neglect from them… an emotional detachment unable to learn the things we need as humans – intimacy. Why? Because intimacy allows us to be completely loved and safe and comfortable with yourself and another human being – to have the ability to be vulnerable with that other person. But what if your parents didn’t love you to teach you those things?
What if you were reared by the system, the social workers, and the foster parents that are in it for the money?
I see it all the time especially with social media these days… parents do this… and parents do that for the sake and love of their children and every time I want to scream bullshit – because it simply is just not true for all…
Do most parents love their children? Probably and I don’t have any statistic research to back this up but I know for a fact that there are some parents that do not love their children. Some parents give up their children – deciding with the best interest of the child in mind – that’s love!
But not every person has that insight – not every parent has the insight to stay home – prioritize their children, teach them and love them – rather than going out and partying night after night – leaving those children unattended. A father who admits that alcohol is more precious to him than his kids – that’s not love – that’s selfishness at its finest.
Over the years, I have heard love your mother she’s the only one you got … Love your mother she gave birth to you …love your mother because for no other reason than that she is your mother …
but then you are a mother too and you can’t fathom the fact that your child does not love you – or better yet you could not imagine not loving your children and you watch and create moments each day to let them know how amazing they are and that you love them and that no matter how difficult life has been at times it has never changed how you felt and that you always have their best interest in mind and you sacrifice so much of you to give them so much more and one day your son writes words on a screen and you see yourself reflecting in those words… that’s what love is and that is how love shines each day
and you forget the pain that your parents have created for you and you smile knowing you are exactly the parent you need to be and find a tiny piece of forgiveness knowing your parents simply just couldn’t for their own reasons and you hope in your heart that they have found their own peace just like you have in the comfort of your own skin