Motherhood is not meant for the faint hearted, Dead frogs and the insults of teen-age girls are not for the wimpy-Danielle Steele
My 15 year old daughter came home last week after a 4 day trip to South Texas. I knew she was home because the air was suddenly full of criticism.
"Mom,you aren't wearing that to the store are you?"
"Mom can't you cook something I like?"
"Mom, you are the most over-protective parent on the planet!"
Lauren's comments on every move I make and every word I say have made me feel like I need to stand perfectly still and not utter a sound if I want to survive the remainder of her high school years with my self-esteem intact. Unfortunately, that's rather impractical as I have 3 other children and a boatload of responsibilities. I console myself by realizing that,if ever captured my an army of militants,I could probably survive any torture applied,as I've been so well primed by my daughter.
A good example of Lauren's uplifting technique came shortly after she returned from her trip. She took 30 minutes grilling her father and me about phone messages we had taken in her absence. She wanted to know how people sounded when they called,If we had explained what kind of trip she was on and if she had gotten any job offers for baby-sitting. She sounded,her father decided,like a journalist.
"I can't believe it," he said with a chuckle,"you sound just like your mother!"
"That's a horrible thing to say!" Lauren replied.
This was one of those Norman Rockwell moments a mother dreams of: The day her first born daughter begins to identify with her. Of course,I had thought the identification process would be alot more positive.
"Well I'm so thrilled your happy to be like me,"I said to Lauren as I hand my husband a tissue to dry his eyes."There are some folks who think I'm a great person."
"It's not like your awful or anything,"Lauren explained."It's just that I don't want to be like you.I'm sure you can understand."
Well,I wanted to say,actually I can't understand. I remember being mortified by my parents,but I had good reason-they were hopelessly out of step with the times.
On the other hand,I've taken great care to remain rather cool by teen-age standards. I listen to alternative rock music. I play basketball with the neighborhood kids. I drive groups of teens to the movies. I even play electric guitar off and on in a retro rock band. How much more cool can one mom be?
I've often reminded my angel that her friends have told her,and I quote,"Your mom's pretty OK,for a parent."
"That's because you aren't there mom!" she will explain,adding that she thinks that I talk to much,laugh to loud and ask to many questions.
"Can't you just be like other mother's?" she'll ask. "You know just watch television and ignore me and my friends?"
"But I think your friends are interesting."
"See? That's exactly what I mean-grown-ups aren't suppose to like teenagers! It's not normal!"
When my children were small, I thought I'd die from the physical exhaustion required by parenting preschoolers. I actually remember kneeling by my bed one night telling God I didn't think I could make it through one more day of scraping play dough off the carpet or changing diapers.
In retrospect, it is safe to say that in comparison to the emotional torment of trying to be acceptable to your teenager.the preschool years were the good old days Back in their preschool years,my children worshipped me,invited me to their tea parties and told me I was beautiful,even if I had hat hair and was dressed in flannel pjs.
These days,however, Lauren has decided I'm a fashion hazard,a social nerd and completely unworthy of her company unless I'm providing taxi service(and her 13 year old brother agrees). I'm left wondering where exactly I went wrong,when it was that I became a liability in the eyes of my teenagers.
Hard to say,really,and a moot point as well. What's getting me through right now is knowing that one day,my kids will probably have children of their own. And as every parent knows,what goes around,comes around-as well it should.
~ Renee Schafer Horton~ article from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 08-26-98
**This article lived on my fridge for years. It is old and tattered and yellowed,I even have packing tape on it now to preserve it. They do apologize...at least mine did,for the hard times.