Caption: Some days, I feel as though I'm being fed to the sharks.
Ouch. Total honesty here. I need a break from parenthood.
Seriously, I want out. I love my kids. Even like them when they're feeling OK and are acting sweet. I'd love to be given a million dollars with the stipulation that I take them on a shopping spree. But dealing with teenagers can be a dreadful job. And dealing with teens on Lyme is utterly despicable.
As I write this, my son is quietly going about his own business, yakking up a lung from his recent cold that he can't seem to put aside. My daughter is supposedly doing homework but her bedroom light is dark, so...yeah, there's that. Her dad and I are probably taking away her phone. Again. Until her grades pop back up.
My husband said, "We must suck at being parents."
"Excuse me," I said, my mind thinking to all the research I've done, all the doctor appointments I've managed, all the consoling that had taken every tiny bit of energy from my body. "Do you really think I'm a bad parent? Didn't think so."
And no, it's not my husband. He's pretty darned good himself. Except for some of his political views, but that's a discussion we won't even have another day.
The bottom line is: we are tick-bornely challenged. How much of the behavior we sometimes or frequently see is due to hormones? How much is due to tickborne diseases that make their home in all the nooks and crevices in the body? How much is a double combo sub sandwich of Lyme and teenager-itis?
We've really tried to be good parents. We spend time with our kids. Take them places. Have Daddy/daughter dates and all that 1:1 time that they crave. Heck, maybe we don't ignore them enough. Maybe we don't give enough consequences, but that's because you can't have consequences for a kid with PANDAS really, except sometimes, when you know that a consequence will help deter a behavior (in other words, when the behavior is not a symptom.) Believe me, we tried. We had star charts and balloons and prizes plus negative consequences and ways to earn back certain privileges...and all for nothing.
Maybe I should spank my kids. Slap them right across their cute little butts. Smack those spiteful mouths. Hey, my parents did it to me. But no. I had to have this new-age philosophy that we should not hit our kids if we're trying to teach our kids not to hit others. Be a good role-model and all that.
I guess they did learn something from our no-hitting rule because they've never truly had a physical fight with each other. Not like my brother and I used to have, with kicking and hair pulling. (To protect his reputation, I will say that I'm older by three years and we don't fight anymore. Not since two months ago. JK.) But gosh darn, when you make kids give up physical fighting, they get mean with their words. Ow.
We have a rule against name-calling. It doesn't always work. Sometimes my husband has even broken the rule. Then I have to get mad at him. And that always ends well.
Last week, one of my daughter's teachers let me know that she thinks my daughter is a great kid, a breath of fresh air. I was high on that perception for maybe 24 hours, until my cherub's air began to reek from the nastiness and anger spewing from that not-so-little mouth.
I don't have wicked kids. In fact, they have their wonderful sides. My daughter actually said to me, "Enjoy this moment when I'm saying 'I love you' because later on...well, you never know about my mood." My son will text me a question and then text back with, "Thank you, dear." Weirdo. But he's a hugger.
I tried to practice mindfulness as I was driving home with one hungry, hangry child today. When confronted with, "You haven't heard anything I've said," I very calmly answered with, "I heard you say that you want me to take you out for something to eat, that you're very hungry. But we're close to home and going home." In other words, NO! I will NOT give in to your every demand, dammit!
And that's the core...when my child asks for something, and I say yes, I live the golden dream for a little while. I am the BEST MOTHER EVAH. But when I say no, well, I better freaking RUN! The child will attempt to engage. Beginning with the questions, "Why???????"
I think that the old European custom of apprenticing kids out to your friends for their teen years has a lot of merit. Maybe you only did that if you were a duke or earl or laird...I'm none of those, but please, won't you take my kids for a couple of years and return them to me when they're all sweet and sugary like babies again? Or, barring that, until they find a cure for Lyme?
Heck, maybe with the Lyme affecting my memory, I won't remember these years anyway.