I did not mind all the sacrifices but stealing my joy as a mother is beyond cruel
I will be deleting this thread, because the topic is meant to be a howl from the wind in the middle of the night, and because communication itself must also be sacrificed.
Giving up alcohol for nine months so that your little brain would not be harmed was a piece a cake.
Carrying you around on my back for most of three years, all around town, was exhausting a lot of fun. Reading to you for hours every night until you were eight or nine years old was a joy, even the entire Series of Unfortunate Events which you insisted on having me read to you when you were five, which we both loved.
Many people encourage parents when the kids are young. Oh, thats so good for him! you hear. The reading, the games, the walks. Surely you are doing the right things. You listen to the teachers, you read the parenting books. You scale back your career I could have had a bigger career, but what matters to me more is the kid.
Precious things got sacrificed too. I gave up a lot of time with my beloved sister, because she lived in another state, and you had school and activities and there was never enough time. I gave up a book club that was comprised of a few good friends. I put up with thousands of changes that are necessary to keep peace in the family, whether or not I fully believed they were the right thing to do. Moms and dads sacrifice a lot to keep peace in the family. Moms and dads dont always agree on the right way to do stuff, so you compromise and sacrifice and the only guiding light that helps you solve disagreements is whats best for the kid.
In middle school, I stayed up late many nights trying to help you with homework and occasionally almost all night helping you with a project. Helping you with the science fair. And in one of those irrational slaps in the face that you get from a certain kind of boy, I sacrificed the science fair itself, which I had so much wanted to go to because I knew it was the only such memory i would ever have, watching you present at the science fair, because youre my only child, and I loved science fairs when I was growing up. So that would have been such a special memory for me. But you really really didnt want me to come in so I sat in the car and waited, and cried. You came out eventually, and I hid my tears and put on a happy face, because I didnt want to ruin your positive experience, but you were already angry when you arrived, because I was parked too close to the front, or some other unexpected complaint.
Now, Im prepared for an early retirement in another place, where a peaceful house is waiting on the lake I can rest outside of this cold climate. Two extra years here, for your sake. Im carrying a mortgage thats more than I can handle so that you could go to a school that was supposed to be good for you.you didnt end up staying there, but thats another story.
But now, youre on the cusp of adulthood, and you seem to want me to sacrifice my sanity, my self-respect, and worst of all, 17 years of my most meaningful memories and the simple dreams that any mother has. Your anger and hostility overwhelms me, your sarcasm frightens me, your demands infuriate me, your recklessness worries me, your threats and your coldness break my heart. In the last four months, minor frictions have exploded into major chasms and bewildering behavior.
Who can I talk to? If it were up to you I would hold it inside till I explode. I talk to my friend when youre out of earshot, but no one comes to the rescue. Im too old to be a damsel in distress, I guess. Rescues cant be made, escapes are closed. Im not strong enough to withstand your behaviors. Im getting old, tired, forgetful, in pain. I tell a friend, I feel like a gazelle in a small boat with a lion. Sort of like Life of Pi. Am I a loser because I didnt fight harder for a bigger career? You say so. And in every argument, when I push back, you push harder. I am a willow, not cut out for parenting. Not like this.
Everywhere I look, I see reminders of those sweet early years the car commercial with the pregnant couple, the framed art from middle school on my wall, the young family playing outside. I ran across the books that said it all: A Series of Unfortunate Events. I scream at friends on the phone. My heart has.broken into 17 pieces, who can put them together again? Next weekend is Mothers Day. It is a cruel joke, and it would be best if it passes without comment.
Some will need time to reflect.
Many have experienced profound sacrifice and loss.
Take good care.
Not sure it will make a difference but its worth a shot.
If she has a shred of you inside her it will make a difference.
He holds onto his anger for months, and is utterly indifferent to parents pain
this is succinct and heartfelt and poignant and timely, a mother's lament
I hear you 🙏🏻
do not need me at all. Proud of them and miss them.
At some point when they have breathing space in their schedules, no reason that you shouldnt be able to expect them to share some time with you. Kids are irreplaceable individuals in the lives of their parents.
You ought to feel entitled to a day of their time Now and then, or a monthly ritually lunch or dinner if they live in town.
is included. The next time we will probably all be together will be one of their grand parents funeral.
I don't get to see my grand children very often.
My family was in Ohio for generations, my son still lives there. My daughters were born in Az and lived in four states before moving where they are now.
When teens go awry, theres no one around that can say, hey, I remember when your dad was little and he did the exact same thing
Or to say your mom still believes in you, she just worries about you like any mom does
Those conversations dont happen much when people are too far apart to be regular visitors.
Right now I really wish there was any understanding family member who could talk things over, between us.
The mid seventies and the eighties sure moved a lot of the rust belt out
Share. Don't suffer. Don't shut down your kid with a wall. Share.
Kids can be so tough, its certainly not all milk and honey. It sounds like you have given so much to your child, and so far, your sacrifices havent been recognized or appreciated. You have been as good a mom as you could, and thats something to be proud of, even if your child cant see it. Dont succumb to despair, you are more than somebodys mother. Find other things that give you pleasure and try to do them. And realize that other people feel like you do, with secret and not so secret issues of their own that burden them.
I cant go spend months in my peaceful house on the lake.
I thought he would like it there too. Being in the woods is supposed to be good for kids. But too late.
It's hard sometimes, late at night when you are angry or down, to focus on anything but the pain. But try.
Try to remember all of the little smiles, the baby talk only you and he could understand, all of the other little things that bound you together when he was small.
I think we are given these things so that we can make it through the teenager years. Teenagers are hard to love. They are selfish and moody, ungrateful and messy. They do all that they can to separate themselves from us, and it is hurtful and infuriating and it is their job.
Part of being an adult is being independent of your parents. Sometimes the choices a child makes to gain that independence are cruel and immature. Usually, they come around and make up for it as they get older.
Its sad enough to say goodbye in your heart as children pass through those beautiful stages and on to the next.
One must look forward, not backward, as a parent. But I always thought forward would include visits to the lake house from my son...
Great poem by John Updike, Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children (excerpted, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/40867/saying-goodbye-to-very-young-children for original)
Their eyes will be more skeptical, plugged in
the more securely to the worldly buzz
of television, alphabet, and street talk,
culture polluting their gazes' pure blue.
who knew you from the start, when you were zero,
cooing their nothings before you could be bored
or knew a name, not even your own, or how
this world brave with hellos turns all goodbye.
of high school there is often a huge amount of strife between parent and child, as the child seeks to find a way to feel comfortable about leaving the nest.
So if you can avoid taking it personally, please do. No matter what your immature, flailing high school student says to you, try not to say something awful in response that you'll never be able to take back.
I think this was the book. Good luck and hang in there!
In the future the testosterone will dissipate, the point of view change, his challenges to be a father will temper him and he will say
Thanks for being a great mom
Agreed with the above: don't delete. It's probably already a permanent part of the internet, anyway.
I hope things improve for you two.
What you just wrote could have been a letter from me to my daughter.
I feel your pain and anguish. Its gut wrenching.
There were times I was terrified that they wouldn't come out of it, that they would do something so reckless that they wouldn't live through it.
I sat by one son's bedside in the ER all night on his 18th birthday - acute alcohol poisoning. There were visits from the police. We sat in court while the other kid was being prosecuted for a stupid fight.
The headaches were legion. One of the things that I hated the most was the judgement of other parents. We should be there for one another, knowing that it's your kid this time, but tomorrow it likely could be mine.
But they did slowly calm down. Now they both have kids of their own. They both ask for help and advice with their kids. There are hugs and happy gatherings. I am proud of the men they have become - good husbands and fathers, hard workers, strong social consciousness.
So, please, have faith that your son will grow out of this turbulent phase. And keep the eye on the prize of that house on the lake. And don't delete this - there are parents who need to read this to not feel alone.
And all support and friendships gone.
Nearly everyone I care about is a plane trip away, its just the two of us, here.
The gazelle and the young lion.
Happened a few years ago. It sticks out because it was a bit of a turning point. Not because he was embarrassed but the beginning of so much extreme emotion. A kid being embarrassed, not wanting you to spend more than five minutes at the table, or not say anything? Fine, okay.
A friend of mine says that this one always dials it up to 11.
Im a science kind of girl. When I found out I was expecting a boy, I thought maybe we will have science and a love of the outdoors in common... Me not being welcome at his science fair is a lot like some moms not being welcome at the wedding. I dont care about weddings..
A co-worker was venting about stuff like your are experiencing. Older woman responded "parenting if full of little hurts"
and all kids go thru a phase where they are embarrassed by their parents.
sorry you are in such pain.
Right now a witness or a security guard might be helpful.
I can handle the embarrassed part. Evolving into total disrespect and disregard is another. And contempt...for what, I am not sure.
My relationship as a teen with my aging parents was considerably different. I worried about them, loved them, and cared how they were.
Both my kids put me through utter hell as teens and beyond.
My daughter started in 9th grade by refusing to go to school most days. Every morning was a screaming match and I would eventually give up and have to go to work. Slimy boyfriends, drugs (angel dust, ecstasy - luckily only 1 kid did heroin). Arrested for shoplifting. Many visits to counselors and a shrink who would prescribe one antidepressant after another hoping something would help. At 18 still in 10th grade she dropped out, saying at this point she might as well just get a GED.
She got a job at a nursing home in the kitchen and helping people with their meals. People depended on her to show up, a new thing, and she did, every day. She decided she didn't want to work in food service forever but liked helping the seniors. Got her GED, went to community college, transferred to a local 4-year school on an academic scholarship - there was a real smart kid hiding behind the attitude. She's now 31, an RN working on her MSN, married with 2 kids.
My son - HS honor student, accepted to a prestigious university - has his future detoured due to drugs. 5 years off and on (mostly on) a heroin addict. In recovery now 2.5 years and doing great. Good job, great girlfriend, managed to finish his bachelors and looking at grad school. But the years of his addiction were more hell than anything my daughter put me through and I'm still sometimes waiting for the other shoe to drop, can't help it.
Moral, if there is any - never stop doing the things YOU like to do. Go out with friends, get away. Remember your child is an ADULT and responsible for their own choices. I've also felt the "judgement" bullshit from others (he's this way because of his parents!) - they can go straight to hell.
The difference between an abusive spouse and an abusive kid is that its legal to leave the former and its a crime to leave the latter.
(The seventeen years i referenced included the 9 months of pregnancy.)
Thanks for your encouragement. Must have been so scary with your son.
Friends had issues with their son years ago. In PA after age 14 you can't make them go to counseling if they refuse, but you have to feed and shelter them until age 18. They told him when he was 18, one more thing and he was out. Which happened pretty quick and he lived in his car for a while. Surprisingly years later he's pretty responsible and a great single dad to his little boy.
My mom's theory about raising kids was that from the minute they're born you work on getting them ready to be on their own. Yes, it does hurt when they start showing more and more independence, but that independence is a good thing.
I made a whole lot of mistakes as a parent. Sometimes I wasn't tough enough. Other times I was too tough. I did what I thought was best at the time, and that's all I could do. Now they're adults. Sometimes they do things right and sometimes they don't, but the responsibility for their actions is now theirs. Of course I still worry about them, and lay awake nights sometimes worrying about this one or that one. But the ultimate solutions to THEIR problems are up to them.
As far as judgement from others, I agree completely. I have no time for other people's judgement.
I have an only child. He is 34 now, married, a hard worker. No kids, but he can still be cruelly thoughtless,
when he drinks he can be very nasty.
Raised him with my parents help.
Thank God for my dad who could help control him,
but he still tried to burn both houses, hurt animals. He thought shooting a bb gun into our walls was a good idea. Cut all my moms plants to pieces.
He has been on meds since age 10. I dont know where it comes from, you will get through it, i turned to counseling for both of us, i had friends on the police department who sent him to a camp for troubled kids, that helped alot.
Ill pray you find peace.
God. That must have been upsetting.
My own parents were gone by the time I was 23. So he hasnt ever known any grandparents.
So much anger. Is it like this in other countries??
Thanks for your prayer.
My son, the child of my heart, the joy of my life, turned into a surly monster his senior year of high school. He went from being an easy going, droll delight to someone I didn't know, and often didn't want to be around.
Simple questions on innocuous, seemingly neutral subjects ("Did you get your homework done last night?" ) caused him to erupt into abusive accusations of interfering in his business.
Many, many days I curled up and cried after he left for school.
I had been his strongest supporter. I had gone to bat for him when he was on the verge of losing his scholarships over a couple of incompletes. I received no gratitude for anything I had ever done.
That was half his life ago. He is now 34. Our relationship healed through time, and space. The truth is, he was ready for college, for independence.
He is a parent now. He understands everything much better now--how your entire life can be wrapped up in a little person who has such complete power to destroy you emotionally. He has even tacitly acknowledged that some of the limits I placed on him were important. And I know that he will do the same things I did. He will worry. He will try his best to guide his little people through the trials and tribulations of adolescence. There will be times when his children will rip his heart out, just because they can. I also know that he will always love them, no matter how badly they hurt him.
Hang in there. Things will get better. The time and effort you put into building a relationship with him will pay off.
Yep, thats part of it. Im more than ready to give it to him. On my wishlist would be a program like the CCC that takes boys at age 16 or 17 for a semi-mandatory year of independence and service. I dont like mandatory anything, but right now, it would be wonderful to simultaneously give him the independence he craves while also having someone else impose on him a taste of adult responsibilities.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Remember the countdown clock many of us had when we were waiting for the the end of GWB's presidency? I have it on my desktop now, counting the days until our 17-year-old hits 18 and will move to an apartment on her own. The last two teenagers just about killed us. I realized a while ago that it's kind of like my mother having dementia. I never cried after her death because I had already had 10 years of grief with lots of tears. She was already gone. Same with this child--I had to see that I was in grief while also continuing to do my job of being a parent. My influence is gone at this point; the job is very different and I do the minimum. It actually helped the relationship when I pulled back and worked from behind the scenes, but I didn't do it for the relationship--I did it because it was all I had left to give.
I hear that it is normal, that it is part of the individuation process, and we're not supposed to take it personally. HA HA! How can we not? I could not. Ouch ouch ouch. My heart never felt more stabbed.
As always with parenting, the key is self-care. Your son will be gone soon and you will be in your safe place. (If he's a threat, I'd get a P.O. box and not reveal your location until he's showed major changes.) He may come back to you and will reveal some of the seeds you worked so hard to plant. If not, you are not alone.
For now, feel the feelings and take care.
but we live to fail one another because of expectations. Children have to separate from their parents; how it happens is different in every family.
Mother's Day used to be about losing a child to war -- different color flowers signify sex, I believe. Buy yourself a corsage and know that you lost your baby in the "war." Your child will be back in a different way, as an adult.
Start planning and executing plans that satisfy you now. Go see your sister; don't make plans around your child, she is ready to fly. You gave her roots, she has wings, it's time to let go.
teen. As my child psychologist friend always says, they're at the age where even the sound of your voice pisses them off. I wouldn't give it to them. Remember, right now you are the stupidest person in the world but hold on to it and in the next 10 years when they will be stunned at how much you have learned in just a few short years, give it to them and have a laugh together.
My oldest has turned into a stranger and it is killing me. He was the happiest, lovingest little kid and there is wall between us now. I keep wondering what I did wrong. Big hugs to you, I get what you are feeling.
He is going through some stuff and the stress of it has changed him. Youngest is about to turn 28 and he is a total love, I understand him and the relationship is just so easy. Sigh. I was freaked out when they became teenagers and went to the dark side of the moon as I called it but they did come back around. The oldest is just so different now and he is so puzzling to me.
I remember both some of my own difficulties with my son when he was about that age as well as -- for the first time in this context -- some of what I put my mother through.
AND ALSO, the main thing I want to share with you. Once upon a time I read that these things are necessary in order for the child to truly become independent. Seems to me there are families that DON'T go through this, but then we don't really know for sure, do we? Maybe the child stays too attached, maybe there are things that go on that we don't know about. Or maybe it isn't really necessary for every single child.
In any case, again -- I'm truly sorry. Rest in the expectation that things will, in time, change for the better. Sometimes the best approach is to do nothing towards trying to get to that point -- IOW: allowance.
Best of luck, and a big hug.
How some families don't get this pleasure. Good friends have 3 girls now 24, 20 and 18. No midnight calls from the police. No screaming fights, counselors, etc. The worst thing any of them did is the oldest is taking a long time to finish college. They have no idea how fortunate they are.
Your words are beautiful and yet painful to read. Being a mom is the hardest work Ive ever done. Mothers Day for me is a bittersweet day. My husband and son have birthdays that sometimes fall on that day so Mothers Day goes by with no fanfare and Ive gotten used to it. This year will be no exception. However, we that have been in the trenches of motherhood know the sacrifices we have made. Were not perfect but weve loved as perfectly as we were able. Im sorry these days are hard - and theyll surely pass - but that doesnt diminish what this feels like now. Peace to you lostnfound.
I personally felt so grateful to my parents, 90% of the time. I think I said a mean thing to my mother only once, and I remember it clearly. Only problem I ever gave them was not cleaning my room.
I suppose I snuck a bit of wine in 11th grade, but they never knew.
I dont know if mine will grow out of this for a long not very kiddish in some ways, he has a certain intensity and resolve that is unusual.
Both of mine have mellowed a great deal during their thirties.
That would be awesome, but I will miss him in the meantime.
So you will let them go. Letting them go is just as important as other stages of parenting.
My boys came back and we are good friends today. Just remember respecting boundaries is an essential part of a relationship with an adult male child That took me a while...
Your son is at the age when his main drive is to be independent, no matter how capable or incapable he is of being truly independent.
Here's my story of my son at that age: The summer before his senior year in high school (age 17) he was picked up on possession of marijuana. He cheated his way through a diversion program, got fired from two jobs, and was not fun to be around. Then in the spring of his senior year things deteriorated to the point where he moved out for six weeks, and we didn't know for sure where he was staying, although we correctly guessed which friend he'd gone to stay with. I was terrified he'd stop going to school and flunk out at the very end of his senior year -- he'd already been accepted into college and had even been given a small academic scholarship which I feared would go away of the school found out about what was going on. Then he called me up, asked if he could return home. We said yes, but he was going to have to abide by some rules.
That summer wasn't too bad. He got two jobs, quit one because he didn't like it, but basically worked all summer. Then we drove him to his college, went through the parent orientation and waved goodbye to him on the steps of his dorm. A month later when we returned for the Parent Weekend he was completely changed (or was from our perspective) and we all had a terrific time.
I was genuinely amazed at how quickly things got better, and I asked him about that more than once. He said that he basically wasn't that kind of kid, meaning the one who couldn't get along at home and moved out. He also said that he was very glad he got his partying and wild behavior out of his system in high school, because he kept on observing kids who'd been well behaved all through high school and now were cutting loose. And a lot of them wound up flunking out.
What I want to tell you, as others have already, that we know how tough this is. We understand how you feel battered and bruised and just want this nightmare to end. It will. And hopefully it will end as well as many of the stories that have been posted here.
Hang in there. Do your best to ignore Mother's Day. It will be hard, I know. But I think from what you've said that your son is basically a decent human being. He's 17. He can't help being this age.
Even though it might seem hard: yes, you made mistakes. We all do. Someone can read your OP and righteously say: here's where you went wrong. But no. You didn't go wrong. You made mistakes. We all do. Am I repeating myself?
All any of us can ever do is do our best. It's all we have. We are ourselves the products of imperfect parenting. I gather you have been a single mom, which probably feeds into your guilt and anxiety. Pffft! Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad or less a mom because you were a single mom.
When I was 14 years old my mother worked up the amazing courage to leave her abusive alcoholic husband and drive the five kids still at home (oldest brother was off in the army by then) and move us from northern New York State to Tucson, Arizona to start a new life. It was not until many years later when I had two small children and was inside a pretty good marriage that I fully understood how much courage that must have taken. And even before that understanding, I always knew that she had done the very best thing for us. So I grew up partially in a single parent home, and I can tell you it was quite good. Yeah, it wasn't perfect, but no family or home ever is. All any of us can ever do is the best we can.
I truly feel for you, because while the specifics of your circumstances are different from mine, I get it. I've been there, pretty much. I want to hold out the hope that it will get better. Hang in there.
And here's something else. Don't forget yourself. You are at a point where you need to start pulling back in, returning to yourself, doing things that matter to you. Maybe pursuing a better career can happen. Maybe not. But as he leaves home please, please focus on you.
Came across this while pondering my own issues regarding a very grown 30 yr old child entering a new phase of their life.
Anyway, I was where you are about 12 yrs ago. My parent was also in ICU fighting for their life, I honestly didn't think at that time that "we" would make it. The situation to me was bad, really bad. Although not as bad as I've seen others. Communication had broken down, child was hanging out w street urchins etc.. It took everything I had to do the right things and just be a steady guide like I always was. The bad behavior came to a screeching halt after one particularly drunk episode. The child had an realization that deceased grandparent could "see" all the terrible behavior now and that was that. Who was I to tell my child any different? If that's what it took OK!! Your child will come back to you, somehow, someway. Just keep being steady. Here's hoping you have finally passed thru this stage.
So you might want to repost as a reply to the OP, or perhaps even PM her.
But yeah, rereading this thread I wonder how she's doing.