I have three children. A thirteen-year-old daughter, a three-year-old son, and a four-week-old daughter. I love them all equally, I promise I do, but I and that eldest child of mine have entered a new phase in our “relationship.” I find myself not liking her. I mean REALLY not liking her. And this is where I, as a parent, as her mother have to stop and take a hard look at myself, is that okay? I wholeheartedly believe that my mission as a mother is to raise my children to be the best possible people they can be. To do that, you must respect and love every person you come in contact with unless you have been given a reason to do otherwise. We give everyone the benefit of a doubt, and we are allowed to make mistakes. It is up to me as your parent to ensure when you make those mistakes, you learn from them. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, and no one in this household will pretend to be. You are not, and will never be better than anyone else, regardless of their standing in life, and you are again to treat each other with respect. And no, I didn’t forget that I mentioned respect already, it’s that important to me. That, and lying. One of the many things I cannot and will not tolerate is a disrespectful individual who is also a liar. And as a mom, as a wife, as a person, I try to make that clear to each and every individual I interact with. I firmly believe in the “golden rule”, treat others as you want to be treated, and expect the little people in my household to hold themselves to this “golden standard.”
As I said before, I have three children, two under four, but I do have a teenager. I’ve often wondered when she would reach the age of “accountability.” When would the excuse, “she’s just a little girl” or “she’s a child, she doesn’t know what she’s doing” no longer mask her inclination towards deception? When would “I forgot” turn into, ‘“ just didn’t want to?” The requisite answer of “nothing” when asked “what are you doing?’ turns into an actual “something?” A something, that would cause me huge headaches, uneasiness, and an amount of distrust, that I am not comfortable with. When would we get here? Surely, it was not at the age of ten, when whenever she was asked to do something as simple as taking out the trash, it just simply wasn’t done. And why not? “I forgot.” Or the endless amount of lying for every simple thing begin. “Did you take out the trash?” Yes, she answers, as I am staring at a trash can full to the brim. “Is your room clean?” “Sure, mom, I cleaned it yesterday.” Of course upon checking it was not. No, in fifth grade, those things were being done because she was being bullied at school, no, she wasn’t being deceptive, she was acting out. Right?
What about in middle school? At age eleven, when cursory glances at her computer show multiple searches for porn, or the word “sex.” When asked why the sudden interest in these topics, or did you search for this inappropriate as hell for an eleven-year-old site on your computer? “ Your being the operative word here. Are you viewing this inappropriate content?” “No Mom, those things are disgusting, I would never.” Is the response I receive. Surely, this was not deception either, but just adjusting to being in middle school. It’s a big transition, and understandably there are some changes that one would have to deal with, that can cause anyone to act out at home. Right?
Seventh grade is probably even harder. You're 12 years old, it’s an awkward age and time. So when your mother asks you “ Were you up all night talking with your friends on your phone?” And you look her squarely in the face and say “No.” Even after you’ve checked her screen time and know this to in fact be a lie, it’s just a product of life changes. Or even the hormonal changes you know she's going thru as a result of the “change.” Or perhaps the pictures she and her friends are exchanging on snap chat, Instagram, and now discord. All of that inappropriateness, and explicit imagery, that too? Is that a product of hormones? Adjusting to middle school life? Bullying? Right?
Defiance: a daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force. Open disregard; contempt
Disrespect: to lack special regard or respect for: to show or express disrespect or contempt for: an insult
Lie: A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used to deceive someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar.
Defiance. Disrespect. Lie. Lying. Liar. Insult. Harsh words? Indeed. Are these the terms that come to mind when I think of my now thirteen-year-old daughter's behavior? Yes. So then I ask myself. If there was someone in my life who was constantly lying to me, practicing acts of defiance, insulting my intelligence, which I see as a form of disrespect, would I want that person in my life? Would I like that person? Would I tolerate that person’s complete and total lack of respect for me, by continuing a relationship of any sort? No. No. And Hell No. So then I ask myself, what’s worse, a person who does that to me who I can completely cut from my life, or a person who does that to me that I have to take care of? No. Matter. What. Someone who professes to love me? To Care for Me? I’ll answer the question for you, it’s the latter. Because the former individual can be cut off. I can take my losses, lick my wounds, and move on. Lesson learned. But when it’s an individual who you have to care for, be an example for, be the better person for, it’s a special type of hurt. A different kind of pain. And that’s where we come to the purpose of this rant.
I love my daughter. But sometimes, I don’t like her. At All. The first time I had this thought, it caused me no small amount of guilt. I couldn’t even conceive that I might not like my child. This precious blessing from God that I carried inside of my body for nine months, nurtured, nursed, and loved. What kind of mother am I? What kind of person was I? A damn good one turns out. A pretty normal one. And that’s just it, I’m a person. Not just a mom. A real, live person. With feelings, emotions, ups, and downs, good days, bad days, and everything else in between. Yes, one of the things that makes me the person that I am, is that I am a mother to three beautiful children. But that’s not all there is to me. I hurt, I cry, I get angry, my feelings get hurt, and my role as my daughter’s mom doesn’t change that. If you punch me in the face on accident, it still hurts the same as if you did it on purpose. The only difference? The intent behind it.
That's where it changed for me. When I stopped thinking of myself as just a “mom” and remembered that I am a person. And when my daughter, who is also a “person” in her own right, acts like a defiant, irresponsible, disrespectful, lying pain in my arse, then it’s okay when I just don’t. like. her. Now, her status as the human being that came out of my vagina, does mean that I am more apt to forgive her more times than I would the normal person. That I will continue to love, cherish, protect, and care for her, despite the disrespect and defiance. It also means that while I may not like her today, it doesn’t mean I still won’t when I wake up the next day. (I will, and always do). It just means that I no longer feel bad, when I feel this way. Nope, parents are people too. We were people before we were parents, and while for some of us, being parents changes us for the better, it doesn’t mean we need to forget who we are.