Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One Mother's Trials

(This was actually my first journal entry, just not the first one published)
Journal 2/9/10

Until recently I haven't logged a journal entry in years. I remember how cathartic it was though, what a great relief it was to simply get things out and on paper or whatever. I've had my share of issues over the past several years, but nothing that has urged me to journal, quite so much as the events that have transpired with my daughter over the past week or so.I've never raised a daughter, or any children to adulthood for that matter.

I am doing the best I know how as a mother. Or am I?? What instinct am I missing that makes the connection with my daughter what it is today (which apparently isn't much). A little background here may help. I recently spent about 3-5 weeks in a deep, deep depression. I lay in bed with no desire to do anything, with anyone. Not my kids, not Rob, not anyone. Haven stepped up to the plate A LOT as far as doing things for her and her brother. I will never forget what this child has had to endure because of the mistakes I've made. I don't always have the right answers.

I had Haven when I was 19. I cared about nothing more than being a good mother, and taking the best care I could of my child. By the time Haven was 3, I had been married and divorced. My world had been turned upside down, and like many people my age, I didn't quite know how to handle it. I started partying, doing drugs, and basically was more worried about having fun than being the mother that she needed. I was simply trying to escape my pain, selfishly thinking it wouldn't affect her precious little life at all.

She was young. I didn't realize what impact my absence could possibly have on a child so young. Seems I may be paying that price now. I have made bad mistakes as a more mature adult. Did I try to lessen the impact on my kids as much as possible? Of course I did! Does that mean it didn't impact them at all? No!

I also spent over four years in a very controlling and abusive relationship in which Haven was old enough to know what was going on. I will always be at odds with myself for the negative impact this relationship may have had on my kids, especially her. Despite all of this, the long and short of it is that I have always done what I needed to do to make sure they were taken care of.

They have always had a roof over their heads, food in their mouths, and a mother who loves them deeper than words can ever express.For seven years, Haven was an only child. Despite some of the choices I made, the time spent away, Haven has always been somewhat spoiled. For seven years she had me mostly to herself. She had my mother mostly to herself. I can imagine that having to share that spotlight with another child after so many years can be difficult.

With all of this, what is a mother to do. As much as I know she is an 11 yr old hormomal basket case, I also worry exactly what impact all of my mistakes have had on this child that I love so deeply. Recently, we've been butting heads really bad! She thinks I shouldn't yell. I think she should do what she is told, the first time and not have to be told 5 times. I think she should take initiative and take care of her responsibilities without having to be told. She thinks she should always get something in return, or just not have to do anything at all.

She thinks she should have all the things her little heart desires. I think she should too, but given our financial situation, it simply is not possible. Would I give her all of these things; cel phones, laptop, shopping every week for clothes, etc... if I did have the money. I'm not sure that I would given her current attitude. My attitude sucks sometimes too, so she comes by it honest. I just don't feel that is an excuse for me to let her get away with being disrespectful, sassy, and downright defiant at times.

One of the main problems is, this child is so good at making me question my own parenting skills. I try to be lenient, I know that puberty is not easy to deal with. Have I been too lenient? Some say I have, she thinks I'm too strict. Where does parenting stop working, and a child's 'nature' begin? At this point, I simply don't know. I know that I have made mistakes, and will make more before it's all said and done. I am not super human, and I am not super mom.

All I know, is I do the best I can at this point in time. I'm always willing to learn and grow. I also know that I cannot let guilt over situations past, to govern my parenting at this point in my life. If I let that guilt rule my relationship with my children, I fear what will happen to them as adults because I would never discipline them. I would never raise my voice, I would never expect anything but for them to exist and that would be enough.

Bottom line is that for my children to simply exist, especially as adults, is simply NOT acceptable to me. I want them to grow up with something to offer this crazy world we live in. I have spent 31 years simply existing. That is not what I want for my kids.

I get up from day to day, and other than being a mother, jewelry designer, and soap maker, I am nothing. I know that is all something, but it is still lacking from what I could be contributing to this world. That is not a good feeling.I have never wanted to die, but some days I feel like this world would carry on just fine without me, and it would. I know that in order to be the best mother, and everything else I can be, I have to work through these issues.

I have to find my place in this world before I can ever lead a pre-teen girl to her righteous path. Does this mean that I won't keep trying? NO. We will survive this. I'm sure there will be plenty more melt downs, several journal entries, and more than enough moments of self doubt and self reassurance. Where will we be at the end of this journey? Well obviously I don't know that yet. But, I will let you know when we get there.

1 comment:

  1. I have had similar thoughts about being a parent. I keep hoping that the mistakes I have made will show my children what to avoid. I keep telling myself as long as I question if I am doing the right thing I can improve.
    Keep strong. Parenting is not for the weak of heart.