Y’know, I was prepared to mother my kids right up til the end of their senior year, and to help them get started on their own life adventure. But I guess that is not how it was meant to be. My kids have already made it clear they don’t want mothering, or at least they don’t want me for their mother, anymore.
My daughter has depression, mood disorder NOS, anxiety, and ADD. It was only at the beginning of this year that I realized she actually had ADD, and I got her on meds. Then, it became clear she is depressed and I have always known she has anxiety. So, I, being the dutiful and caring mom I like to think I am, took her to a psychiatrist and now she is on meds. So, you would think she would maybe appreciate all that I do for her, all that I help her with and all of the things I allow her to do to give her as much freedom as possible.
But if you thought that, then you would be wrong. Because apparently, she IS thankful for the meds, but she is NOT thankful for me reminding her to take them 3x/day. I tried to see if she could remember to take them on her own, but she can’t. So, I started getting up in the morning when she is getting ready for school, so that I can remind her to take her AM meds before she leaves. Well, on the 3rd day of that, when I came out to the living room, she was eating cereal and told me she was not going to take her meds for a while yet. And I said nothing, but did go get her pill and a cup of water and sat it next to her so she wouldn’t forget. As soon as I put it down, she slammed down her cereal, picked up her pill and took some water. But she did it so abruptly, so violently, that she made herself gag before she swallowed the pill. She managed to keep in, and finally got it down. Then she says, “There! Are you happy now?!” and instead of eating, getting ready, etc, she immediately throws herself out of the house to go to her SO a block over. They go to school together.
If you think that is all she does, then you’d be wrong there too. She came home from school, and I said, “Hi! How are you? How was your day today?” Now, if you’re like me, that is often how you greet someone when you haven’t seen them for most of the day. And generally, you expect a response indicating how things went for them and how they are feeling now. Silly me, who has only been asking that question to her for 13+ years, I asked her that and she glared at me, and absolutely refused to respond. I said, “Hey, now! This is not a highly personal, challenging or difficult question, and I deserve to be treated with respect when I speak to you, and I deserve it because I’m your mom and I love you, and you should know enough to treat me with respect. And hey, what is the big deal anyway–I just want to know how you are today. Why is this a problem?” Well first she stalked into our shared room, and laid on her bed in the dark. Then after a bit, I went in and asked her why it was such a big thing to answer me about how she is today. I just wanted to know what the big deal was about telling me if it was a bad day, or a good day, cause I sure can’t see any reason that answering that is gonna hurt her, so why not just say something instead of making it such a big deal?” She spat her words out at me when she replied, “Because you never understand, you never get it, you just get angry so I might as well not talk to you.”
Ok, so, let me get this straight. I am the parent she has had her whole life that saw problems and fixed them. I knew as a child she had issues with sitting still, staying focused, reading and comprehension, handwriting. I am the parent who sat with her for hours and worked on all these issues day in and day out. I’m the one who saw she might have ADD and who got her tested, and got her meds. I’m the parent who saw she had depression and anxiety, and took her to the psychiatrist (keep in mind that she WANTED me to do these things. When I realized she might need this kind of help, I spoke with her about it, and she was so thankful and so desperate to get these helps). So, she has been so happy that I have been able to see her needs and get her the help for them that she needs, and she has been improving overall. So, ok, I’m the parent who has always worked with her and fixed her problems. But now, I’M the person who ‘ doesn’t understand, doesn’t get it, and only gets angry at her for sharing?’ What?! Where does this come from–it’s not even based in anything remotely resembling reality. For fuck’s sake, why can’t I get my kid to tell me how her day was? Am I really that out of line to ask that?
And that’s not even the end of it. I am very lenient about letting her go places as long as I know where, and that she has her bus pass and her keys, just in case. So, if she comes to me at 5pm and says she wants to go sleep over at so and so’s, I’m pretty cool with it. Usually I even drive her there. If she says she just wants so and so to come over and spend the night, I usually just say sure. So, yesterday, her friend called and asked if my daughter could spend the nite there. I said sure, even tho it was a 30min drive to her friend’s. So, that was Saturday afternoon. I expected to hear from her, whether she was staying an extra nite or not, one way or the other. But Sunday passed until it was 9pm, and I finally called over there. Her friend said, oh, ya, she and my daughter had just decided to make it one more night and her parents would bring my daughter home tomorrow. Well, although I didn’t say it, or show it, I sure felt how my daughter just doesn’t care about me at all. She didn’t even think she needed to call and ask if it was ok if she stayed there one more night. She didn’t even effing bother to ASK ME!
I don’t know why she hates me so much when I’ve always been the one on her side, who has her back, who gets her whatever she needs. I don’t know why she thinks I deserve this. I don’t know what I could have done to deserve this. But this makes me FURIOUS, to be treated this way by her. I have tried to talk to her, but she just pretends I’m not there, that she can’t hear me. I only see two choices. Force my mothering on her, no matter how much she hates it and me. Or, give her what she says she wants–me to go away. Where I don’t care about her meds, I don’t care about her psychiatrist appointments, where I don’t fill her prescriptions, where I don’t care about anything about her anymore, and she can just do it all on her own. And I’ll just treat her like some random person living in my house, like a border, that I don’t care what happens to them or what they do, because they mean nothing to me. She can have it how she wants it, all on her own.
I keep alternating between forcing mothering and abdicating the role entirely. And it’s not just my daughter, its my 17 y/o son too. He has chosen a radically different, radically cult-like religion. I don’t care if he chooses to be religious (I’m not) but the one he has chosen is so cultish, he is like an entirely different person than he was a year ago. Now, he has given up belief in science for belief in this church’s dogma. Now he eschews evolution, big bang, and the age of the earth and of humans. There is no debating with him, no discussion of perspectives. Now, with him, anything his church has taught on is the one and only truth. He will not debate or argue positions with you. Oh no, instead he beats at you and clubs you over and over with his perspective, never giving a basis or evidence. He ignores your own evidence from having lived for 40+ years, or from science (because we all know that science is all made up anyway, and only the bible is true, word for word!) Eventually you tell him you agree, because it is the only way to finally end the discussion, even if you don’t mean it, you say it, just to make him stop. He refused to buy me some ice cream today (he’s using my car cause his is in the shop), because 1) its Sunday (and we all know you can’t do work on Sunday, and buying ice cream is just too effing much work). So, he uses my car and lives in my house and eats my food and gets his room and laundry cleaned by me. He even gets to use my car (when the one I bought him is broke down) but yet he can’t buy me some ice cream (I was paying even!)
So, between the two of them I just don’t know what to do. Do I keep on mothering as though they are not hurtful, shameful, snotty jerks who don’t want me in their lives anymore, or, do I throw up my hands and just say, ‘fine, you win. you don’t want to be mothered? No, problem. I’m done mothering the both of you. Start doing it all on your own if that’s what you want.
All of this is very hurtful to me. I know teens are difficult. But I’m not talking about the regular issues, like, arguing about curfew, or arguing about where they can go, or when they get to use the car, or arguing about doing homework, or grades. No, we are not arguing about the typical teenage angst and teenage stuff. We are arguing about basic respect for another human (much less mother!), we are arguing that my son’s belief is the only valid one, that I am nothing. We are arguing about basic decency to others, especially those who have helped you. My son has only 1.5 yrs left under my roof. My daughter has 2.5. I can’t keep going like this. Something needs to change.