Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Parenting is Hard

I thought I would just state the obvious in the title.

For some reason, when I envisioned myself as a parent I thought about very specific stages.  Infancy and college.

I completely skipped over certain stages like, pre-teen and teen.   Nobody told me it was hard. Well, they might have, but I was so engrossed in the poetic version of what being a mother was going to be like that I didn't listen.  Within a month of being one I thought it was the most exhausting and emotionally charged time of my life. And it was hard. Especially physically. Going from sleeping 8 hours a night to two hours forced me to walk around in a constant state of dopamine delirium.

But as they grow I am finding that the hardest part about being a mom is the psychological side. Now I'm nostalgic for dopamine delirium. The constant internal battle of what I feel I should do and what I actually do.  The side that wants to be liked verses the side that needs to get down to business.

As I watch my eleven year old grow to my eye level,  I realize that is the only time we will actually see eye to eye.

It is no secret that I really dislike roller coasters.  The times I have been on one, I find the scariest part is  waiting to start.  When the bar crosses your legs (yes even kid roller coasters freak me out) and you have three or four seconds before you are jerked into ride submission. I have tried to tell the roller coaster operator that I'm not ready, but you can imagine how much they care.  Well, now I'm starting this pre-teen ride and all I can say is " I'm not ready, I'm not ready." but much like the operator, life isn't going to wait for me to decide when to proceed. It is going to take off whether I'm ready or not.

I  remember when Parker was our only child.  I can still smell his sweet smell and feel his soft Fred Flintstone feet, they were as wide as they were long. They looked like blocks.   How he wanted to sit as close, if not on top of me at all times.  Now he sits at an arms length.  It would be weird if he sat on top of me, I get that, but in my mind it is still a reasonable possibility. There are glimpses of times when he snuggles up to me, mostly when he is cold, or I'm sitting in his spot.  And I love it.

Recently Parker has made some choices that challenge every ounce of my parenting strength.  Things that matter to who he is going to become. Things that cannot go without addressing and the hardest part is delicately approaching him in a way that is both effective and loving.  I haven't found that balance.  I either go completely ape shit or way too soft.  Neither is very effective.

I'm looking for the healthy middle and as of yesterday, I have yet to find it and as of today it doesn't feel like I ever will.   I think back to the amount of planning I did for his birth and how when the day arrived I didn't follow a page of it ( there were several pages). .  In the moment I didn't care that I had wanted a water birth or a drug free birth. All I wanted what was best for both of us, and at that moment it was drugs and a bed. And when I held him, I knew I had done something right.

I guess the same is true for where we are now. We are entering unknown and scary territory.  I can plan all I want but situations are going to happen where I simply won't know what to do but have to go proceed anyway.

We survived his birth we will survive this too, but this time I won't have drugs to cover the pain.

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