Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

When mom becomes a tiger

Usually in movies mothers are portrayed as either massively damaging, ineffectual, or June Cleaverish. Rarely is there a movie that shows mothers as they are, with all the lines we all use, and all the psychobabble we've all ingested from parenting books. Sometimes I wonder just how we all learned the lines and the rhetoric of motherhood. I mean, we all seem to KNOW instinctively when to use the "because I said so" and when we need to give an explanation. When we start to count to 3, and when we know how to step back and 'choose our battles'. Even the 'choose your battles' is right out of some parenting book, but we don't need to bother reading it, because as moms we seem to have made that philosphy part of our parenting skills.

I was wondering today when it was that I changed from a normal woman to a tiger protecting my cubs. I know how absolutely vicious I can get if I feel my kids are being wronged. But when did that kick in, and how did I learn this attribute? I didn't learn it from my own childhood, for my parents were never the kind that stuck up for me. I can't ever recall a moment when my parents fought for me at all. It just wasn't in their parenting repetoire.

I learned to protect my kids early on, and I've been doing it ever since. Recently I've backed off on sticking my nose into their business. I guess I instinctively learned that when kids are in high school, they need to advocate for themselves in most instances. Sure, I'll go to bat for them in IEP meetings, but if they have issues with teachers, they need to take the first step towards solving the problems on their own.

Today, the Boy got a phone call from the director of his school program. I never even spoke to the director. The Boy had an issue with his schedule for next semester and he needed to make a change. He really did advocate for himself, telling the director why he wanted what he did, and how he didn't want his schedule changed at all.

I was so proud of him. He completely handled this by himself. I didn't have to get upset or even involved. My ire, which usually is raised as soon as school is mentioned, has been laid to rest. With the departure of middle school from our lives, it is as if a cloud has been lifted off of us all. I'm totally loving high school.

But what I'm confused about is how I need to parent a couple of teens now that they're starting to assume more and more responsibility. On the one hand, I feel as if they don't need me anymore, which makes me terribly sad. On the other hand, I feel like trusting them implicitely is nuts. I mean, they are teenagers. Raging hormones and all that. Today the Girl asked me what I would do if they had a party while I was out of the house. Of course I answered that I would kill them right after I tossed out all their friends. I mean, that IS what I would do. But let's face it, teenagers DO stupid things like this all the time. Maybe there is another way of handling it besides going postal on my kids. I can't think of one offhand, but there must be an alternative to a lack of anger management.

The teen thing is a whole different ballgame. I'm learning as I go, just as I did when they were newborns. It changes so much, this parenting gig. Just when you feel you've got it down pat, there's new stuff to ponder, new challanges to face, new things to learn.

The one thing I have learned is that parenting teens is a piece of cake compared to toddlers. Maybe that might give you hope.

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Blogger Carmi said...

Just when we think we've figured out this parenting thing, they go and grow into another phase.

Glad to see the waves are smoothing out for you. There's hope for us yet!

9/1/07 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, doesn't this sounds familiar! You said it all, girl! I have this same problems. And I love my son.

10/1/07 10:59 PM  

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