Often you forget it is tense and you lie on the couch and go to sleep. You will be forced awake (stuff jabbed in your eye, a child on top of you, the cat using you as a clawing post ….. kids screaming and fighting) and then you will start to rethink this entire “relationship” and why you got in to it, and how you can get out of it.
You will imagine various scenarios that usually include leaving your kids with your parents. Or just plain leaving them on a corner somewhere.
When I say “leaving them with” I mean dropping them off in the dead of the night. With a sticker stuck to them with instructions like “Feed this one Pronutro, check that teeth are brushed, check she is wearing panties ….. no matter how “like a princess” you dress her, she will look like a thug when you collect her from school. No I do not know where the clothing is that fits her has gone either.”
You keep thinking you have survived or at the very least just got the hang of this parenting malarkey when your children will present a new facet you were not expecting, and ill prepared for.
Maybe I just have not read the notes on this section of parenting ….. that What to Expect when you are ….. sort of drops off in the toddler years.
Guys there is an entirely area here you should get your shit together on. What to Expect … The Teenage Years.
Connor is turning 14 in December. Needless to say he has been 13 for far too many months already.
It feels like last week when he was 9 and he agreed with me most of the time. His feet did not smell like a chemical experiment involving sulphur and he actually spent time outside of his room – he was polite, and a sweet sweet boy.
This year he has given me a clear insight in how parenting a teenage child is going to go.
Or the alternate but more apt heading “How I am failing at parenting a teen…”
It has not been pretty. I have not come out of this process covered in glory, in any way.
It has led me to screaming, talking really loud, using pauses to prevent him answering back like “AND AND AND AND …… AND” and basically with what ever we were talking about getting so blown out of proportion that eventually I can’t even remember where I stand on an issue. Or what we were arguing about.
I am fucking exhausted.
The problem with the exhaustion/feeling defeated is that I am waiting for every conversation to escalate into this screaming, arms waving and door slamming conclusion.
Connor and I have been fighting like maniacs for the last few months. It feels like since last year to be honest.
If I say something is white, then he will counter it is black and then will try to convince me of his view point.
I do know that “Just fucking do what I told you to do because I am the fucking parent. OKAY!” Is not the most winning statement one can make as the parent, but holy shit balls, sometimes (too often I am afraid) I lose my shit. Like lost. Like the series LOST. That far gone.
I try and remain reasonable. I try and remain calm.
But there is only so much backwards and forwards I can endure before I start to look for cakes to throw out the weekend.
We have had a sad shortage of cakes in our home. I might be going with some Ultra Mel Custard in a carton soon. That one is going to not only need the strong throw, but it needs that propulsion follow through so it bursts as it hits the floor/concrete/dining table.
I am not sure I am on Custard Carton level as yet.
one several point I thought “you know fuck this shit” and I started picturing packing up his clothing and what ever he needs to survive for the next few days. Dropping/dumping him at Kennith’s house.
The fact that Kennith was not there at the time was a very small detail I was able and willing to overlook.
Kennith phoned shortly thereafter to ask me something totally arbitrary. He got hit with the version of me that is screaming, sighing, spittle forming on my chin and basically at the point where I am willing to shift from a three child family to a two child family.
I really was at the end …… the absolute end ….. the place were postcards are sent from …… end of this shit.
Kennith had Connor for the weekend and spoke to him —- I assume. Connor came back and he was far better. There was less fighting. The respite was joyous.
He used to do me the favour of screaming at the girls for me, which I thought was rather endearing.
Then this weekend came along. For various reasons I was feeling on edge and I just needed the shit to work, you know the stuff to get sorted, everyone to be at the right place at the right time in the right coloured underwear.
Connor was going to a birthday that I could not drop him off at.
I managed to organise my friend to drop him off. Great. He let me know that he was going to sleep over at another friend that night — I said fine, “take the bag that has been packed for you – take it with you to the party and then take it with you for the evening.”
There was no confusion there was only one bag. And who had to take it.
I happen to go past the house, see the bag is there, pick it up and take it with me thinking I will drop it off at his friend’s home later. I can’t work out why he would leave it, but this is Connor, he has left his school bag at home before. On his way to school.
He goes to the party – and the mom drops him off at his evening sleep over place. I am high fiving myself for a plan that seems to be working.
Then I start to get the SMS’s asking me to pack things in the bag …… that he should have with him.
The more I tell him that this is not going to happen (because I am not at home, and the bag is with me) the more the “please moms” start. It goes on and on and I really start to develop a tick in my right hand eye.
He then escalates this to his school project and starts to ask me when this is going to be ready.
I made it clear from the outset he needed to build this project himself. By himself, for himself. He insisted on asking Wayne for assistance and I said no as Wayne has some other obligations and is not going to be able to do it.
He whinged and whined (no shock there) and I said that he needs to ask Wayne, and arrange it with him. I am telling him not to, he is choosing to, and what ever happens is his problem.
Connor being Connor forgot to mention the project is due for Monday. This is Saturday night.
He mentions it now in his messages.
I lose my shit. Like. Shit. Lost.
I realised I can no longer do messages, this requires a phone call.
I call Connor. It is not a good conversation. I am not screaming as much as talking really loud.
What we established is Connor does not have a hearing problem.
He clearly recalls that I told him NOT TO TRY TO GET Wayne to do this project. What Connor is arguing is that I only told him ONCE!!
It appears once is not the right number. I asked if he could give me the magic number of repeating myself over and over again …… I think he thought I was being a bit aggressive and told me I didn’t understand.
It was just another situation that deteriorated into both of us feeling angry and hurt and not being heard by the other.
I was really angry.
The amount of planning and organising this day required was akin to the Normandy Invasion. Then the one person you give the clear instruction of TAKE YOUR BAG THAT IS PACKED AND WAITING IN THE DINING ROOM does not, because he comes up with another plan.
The school project actually did my head in —- totally. I was so spittle on my chin angry with him.
The problem with these things is as a third person you can offer really good advise as the person looking in, but as the one involved, you lose your sense, you lose perspective and you forget exactly how many years you get for murder.
On the drive home from school yesterday I had a little “it’s late but it is still related to Saturday because I was so freaking angry” explosion.
I drew some lines in the sand. He still wanted to argue with me, and then I said the thing that you just don’t say to your child “SHUT UP” —- I actually said shut up to my kid.
I just wanted him to be quiet so I could tell him what I needed to tell him, instead of getting into a haggle about every point. It was either telling him to “shut up” or me shoving a gag down his throat …..
Connor looked at me as if I had slapped him …… it wasn’t my finest hour in parenting. I have to return the rosette best parenting award on Thursday.
If anyone tells you the most difficult part of parenting is choosing the nursery linen, deciding on breast or formula, and working out whether co-sleeping is a good idea. Laugh. Laugh. Hard.
This all. This all fades into nothing, when you are sitting there arguing with your child, who unfortunately in some cases can argue you into circles.
I miss the days of the Waltons when no one would speak if Ma and Pa were at the table. They would all defer to the parents say things like “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” and it all seemed like a very happy place.
I think I am ill prepared for this hormone soaked, pubic hair sprouting phase.
Please tell me this shit gets better ……. soon!
Check out more of Brian Gordon’s comics on > http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com/comic