Friday, April 7, 2017

Hard things

“That was the thing about the world: it wasn't that things were harder than you thought they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways that you didn't expect.” 

― Lev Grossman, The Magician King

Parenting Things are hard right now. I can't go into specifics, but the theme of hard parenting in general may be familiar in your own life, too. Parenting shifts. There's more pushback, more questioning, on both sides of the dyad. We need each other less, or in different, difficult ways. In my more childish moments, I hear myself saying "This isn't fun."

No one ever promised that parenting was always easy or fun or delightful or predictable. But things are harder in ways I wasn't expecting. I'm was already girding myself for my child's puberty, my own aging, his transition to adulthood--but the parent-child relationship when my little guy is 9?? I wasn't expecting this challenge.

He's not like he used to be. He's different from his 8-year-old self, his 2-year-old self. I had gotten used to that little guy. I was used to predictable parenting.

Here is the hard stuff, for me: exhaustion; loneliness; isolation; embarrassment. I say to myself: No one would understand this struggle, these specifics. I can't tell anyone about this. I shouldn't be honest about how I'm feeling to my friends, my family, my spouse. I'm the only one I know who deals with this. It's hard. It's hard. It's hard.

Where's my parenting mojo, my tenderness? This certainly can't be my baby. I hardly feel any of those loving, protective, mama bear feelings right now.

The real questions below the surface are the ones that break my heart: And how can I be mad at THIS child, who has so many challenges?? Really? You're MAD at him? You're mad at HIM? 

Yes. I think I am. I'm often mad at my child. This may be a completely standard situation for a mom and her typical 9-year-old. This may be a typical 9-year-old's change in behavior. This may show that parts of Soren's development are right on schedule. But when a child like Soren is your only child, this anger shakes you. 


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