I feel like I'm totally failing at this whole parenting gig right now. Like I'm in way over my head. Like it's time for the final exam and I didn't study.
Everything up to this point has been relatively easy in comparison. I mean, the first two to three years, you basically succeed just by keeping them alive. They smile, they cuddle, they hit the milestones close to the appropriate times and you're golden. The next few years, you teach the pleases and the thank yous and the basic math and alphabet, and again - you feel as though you're a pretty freaking good parent.
Then they hit their tweens and you're all like "what the eff am I doing?"
It's almost comical that I was blessed with my son, because he is the complete opposite of me. I love him more than life itself, don't get me wrong. It's just that I find I'm scrambling to find ways to relate to him. If I had my way, we'd read a book together and then talk about how it made us feel. That seems like a successful bonding experience to me.
I tried this. It did not work. I started reading Q 'Harry Potter' and we got about 3 1/2 pages in before I threw the book across the room in frustration because I couldn't hear my own voice over his whining and complaining about how boring this dumb book was. I guess he was talking about his feelings regarding the book, though, wasn't he?
Here's the thing about me...if I'm not super good at something, I give up. Skiing, rollerblading, university, dating - just a small list of things I stopped doing because I sucked. I can't just give up being a parent. Nor do I want to, just to be clear...I don't want to give up. It just my thing, so I don't really know what to do with this drowning feeling besides just feel sorry for myself and wallow in self pity.
I can see Q slowly withdrawing. I mean, he's never been one to talk about his feelings, but I can see that we have nothing in common that's bond worthy. And that really scares me. How do I connect with him as he gets older if I'm struggling to connect with him now? I find myself riddled with guilt because I'm just not doing enough. I feel like I'm nagging and yelling more than teaching and inspiring and loving.
I feel like I've robbed Q of the kind of childhood I had planned for him. Two parents together, lots of siblings to play with. Summers filled with family road trips and weekends filled with family BBQ's. He doesn't get any of that. I wonder when he grows up what memories of his childhood he'll have. Me nagging him to help bring in the groceries from the car, because it's just him and me and we're a team (to which he responds...."if we're a team, mommy....we're a horrible team")
I have realized two things:
My sole purpose in life really is raising Q to be a successful, happy, well rounded person. I am devoting all my time towards this goal. Is that wrong? I mean, what about me? Do I count at all? Should I count? Or do I count when he's 18 and my "job" is done? Hmmmmm......
Secondly, if I can't connect with my child then I need to change my approach. If he relates to sports - then I need to (gulp) become more 'sporty'. For those of you who know me, you know that I am the least athletic person in the world. I have a very serious disconnect with my hand/eye coordination and it makes things like kicking a ball more humorous than anything else. (Well, humorous for others...frustrating for me). But I understand that if this is the way I need to spend more quality time with my son, then it has to be done. I'm currently looking for a lazy boy shaped bicycle seat for my larger than average rear end, if anyone knows of one. We'll go for hikes. We'll kick a ball around at the park. I'll have to save the painting nails and braiding hair for my niece, I suppose.
I guess the biggest challenge I have with parenting is that you don't really know how good a job you've done until they've grown. And isn't it too late by then?
So this Mother's Day, I'm reflecting on how I can alter my parenting skills now so I don't lose my child to video games and the teenage abyss. Am I alone? Do other parents feel this way? How do you relate to your child(ren)? Am I obsessive?
Because seriously, being an obsessive, Type A, worrier sounds nothing like me.
But honestly, this Mother's Day, I'm also feeling so blessed that I've been given the opportunity to be my Q's momma. I guess that's part of my fear - how do I give this awesome gift justice?
Now go hug your momma. She's done a lot of worrying over you. The least you could do is give her some huggin'.