I have failed.
Well. At least that is how it feels right now.
I know all of my encouragers would be willing to jump up and give me their best cheer to coax me along into another day.
But the truth is - they don't live my life.
No one really knows what goes on inside the walls of someone's home. We can speculate. But we don't really know.
I can tell you that just because someone is smiling it doesn't mean they are happy. I know this because I go out into the world, smile and interact each day.
You would NEVER know looking at me - that I feel like a failure.
I failed to be the mother I hoped that I would be.
The mother who would get along with her kids when they were teenagers.
The mother who was going to be different.
But it didn't happen.
I have teenagers that pretty much tell me on a daily basis that I am the worst mother ever. I have teenagers that tell me I am ruining their lives. That I don't love them or care about them. That they hate living in our home. Hate our family. Wish they could leave...
You would think that when those words have been uttered hundreds of times at this point they would trigger no feelings or emotion.
Every time they are spoken - they are painful.
The classic response is, "If your teenager hates you, then you are doing a good job."
Well - that might be true - it might not be true.
I only know that it feels awful and there is little consolation in those words.
That attitude doesn't help a mother find the energy to keep going back for more.
If you lived with a spouse that said those things to you - it would be considered verbal abuse and the world would encourage you to leave the jerk.
But when it is your child saying those things to you - the world congratulates you for being a great mother.
Leaving you dangling out there to deal with the ramifications of those words all alone and in private.
I've done all that I know to do with my teenagers. I have taught them right from wrong. I have clearly stated expectations. I have provided them with everything they could need to be successful and presented them with many opportunities.
Yet they don't seem to want to take advantage of any of it.
I can't motivate them.
Not with positive encouragement.
Not with negative punishment.
It doesn't matter what I do or what I say - they have their own ideas about how things should be and their ideas don't even begin to line up with reality.
They have their own ideas now.
Ideas that grades aren't important.
Ideas that short-cuts are the best solution.
Ideas that I am just their stupid mother who understands nothing and annoys them to no end.
Teenagers want what they want when they want it.
And they want it their way.
I am the enemy.
They believe that I am keeping them from finding their happiness.
Because their happiness is immediate self-gratification.
I can see my two teenage sons self-destructing.
I can see it because I am adult and I know the realities of the world.
I can see them limiting their options in life quickly.
Narrowing their paths from the wide world that should be at their disposal.
The world that I spent 18 years preparing them for and protecting them from.
Parents make alot of jokes about teenagers.
But all kidding aside - it is hard.
The hardest thing for me?
Listening to them shout at me -
"You don't understand!"
"I hate you!"
"Why can't you just leave me alone?"
"Why are you always in my business?"
"I can't wait until I am out of this house?"
I really believed that it would be different for me. I really believed that my kids wouldn't feel this way about me. That I had developed a relationship with them that was different. That we had cultivated something better.
But I didn't.
I thought that those kinds of arguments or battered relationships only came when you were dealing with the big issues.
But we don't have any of those situations. Well at least not yet.
And trust me, I am so grateful for that.
It's just that I thought that those were the things that would cause the volcanic eruptions of anger.
I didn't know that sometimes all I have to do is look at them and they would react.
I didn't know that sometimes all I would have to do is give an opinion and they would snap with a readiness to pounce on my every word.
Wow. I just didn't know.
I miss my kids.
I miss them terribly.
And its not what you think.
It's not that I miss them listening or obeying. It's not that I miss that I had more control over their decisions.
Because I have enjoyed watching them grow intellectually, spiritually, physically..
I miss that we were happy.
That life was simpler.
There was nothing that couldn't be overcome with a family movie and a plate of turnovers.
It seems now that our evenings include an exchange with an angry teenager.
Angry that I asked them to do anything.
Angry that I asked them
I know there are a lot of us out there.
Mothers of teens - smiling for the world...
Each day pretending.
Pretending that we aren't that home with the problems inside.
Pretending that we aren't the mothers who feel like failures.
These words are to let you know -
I have no answers.
I don't know what to do with my own kids.
I think it is just something every mother has to survive.
But perhaps it helps you to know I understand and
you are not alone.
"How strange that the young should always think the world is against them - when in fact that is the only time it is for them." ~Mignon McLaughlin