For some reason being a mom is especially challenging this week. Or should I say apparently being a teenager in my home is especially challenging. Who knows why? But both kids are spontaneously combusting and splattering their angst all over the house.
“You’re being rude.” “No I’m not.”
“You didn’t clean the bathroom.” “Yes I did.”
“It’s time for bed.” “In a minute.”
“Don’t forget to take the trash out.” “Give me a chance before you criticize me!”
“I said it’s time for bed.” (Silence)
And so it goes.
But when its time for me to jump to the store to get treats for an end of the year party, buy a must-have summer dress, or drop off a work permit across town…its “Mom…let’s go.” And I jump.
Something is askew.
They have both had their fair share of heartache the last week. Grades weren’t high enough, friends weren’t nice enough, girlfriends not accessible enough. I can tell when they walk in the door if we are going to have a moody or a mellow night.
I told my son that sometimes he just needs to roll with the punches. In frustration he replied, “Why can’t I just punch back?” It was an honest question, he really wanted to know. That statement alone showed me how much he still needs me. And I said, “What happens when you punch something? Someone ends up getting hurt.” And looked at him knowingly. He shook his head as if he understood. Then I said, “God doesn’t want us to hurt people in our trials because we are hurting. We have to be better than that.” He got it.
It is a tough lesson because his gutt instinct is to fight back, fight for, fight against. Fight, fight, fight. My pastor often says, “Meek isn’t weak. It’s the ability to show strength through restraint.”
It was him yesterday, my daughter today. I keep having to be ready to dodge the right hooks slung at me from flared tempers without getting riled up myself. I admit I’m about 50% effective. They do know how to push my buttons.
Martin tells me I give them the upper hand when I lose my temper and yell because that opens the door for them to yell back. He says, I need to calmly take away computer privileges, phones, or tell them they need to ride their bikes to run their errand instead of me getting angry and then everyone saying sorry and it being over with no consequence. Martin knows it is easier to say than do especially for a highly emotional person such as myself but the man gives good advice. He’s been a great support to me. He always tells me, “They are great kids and you are a great mom. They are teenagers and it will get better.”
I must rise to the occasion with my children as I am having to with my home. The repairs are getting tackled but it is overwhelming at times. The pool heater, and filter tank this month. Expensive. Plumbing issues next month. Slowly but surely. I will roll with the punches as I’ve advised my son. Like him I have to fight against the feeling to punch back. And boy, how I would love to throw a good one into my ex’s unsuspecting stomach muscles.
It keeps getting back to the fact that I didn’t choose to do this alone. But never-the-less I am. And sometimes that really gets to me. I’m stuck holding the bag so to speak. Picking up the messy bits he walked away from.
BUT and this is a big but. I am managing. And I’m doing it my way. It is working.
Think about it. When a boxer “rolls with the punches” he is shifting his weight, stepping to the left, then the right to minimize the impact of the attacks. He uses his cunning, and his muscles. The more he does it the stronger he gets, the smarter he gets. There is benefit.
When my husband first left I was getting knocked down. PUNCH and I was flat on the floor. I was grabbing a hold of the ropes trying to drag myself to my feet only to get punched again. Now I am stronger. “I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” I CAN roll with the punches because I’ve practiced it.
My kids will get there. They just need to be cheered on by their trainer like Mickey for Rocky. I need to tell them like it is…when it’s bad it’s bad and they need to make it better and here’s how. And when they succeed I will be the first one to jump over the ropes and lift their arm in triumph. I can be that person.
We have small triumphs all the time. They are the same kids that woke up at 5:30 AM this past weekend to man a garage sale and let their mama sleep. My son rode his bike to the donut shop to treat us, my daughter put up the signs she painted that said, “QUALITY GARAGE SALE”. They dealt with every customer exchanging as much money as they could bargain. Even when I was awake they were in charge. I was proud of them. They are good kids.
They just need to learn by practice to roll with the punches in the face of being wronged by others and disappointments. I’ll show them how.