Friday, November 2, 2012

Girly Anxiety

"Mom I need anxiety pills."

Good thing I like my life random because that so came out of left field last night.

After our Halloween adventures we were having a little chat catching up and preparing for bed time.

Our collective Thursday was about to be a little busy.

The last week or so has kind of been a blur.

She has been trying to get her first job. Back and forth we went to the site and to get paper work together etc.

Her new boss was supposed to call on Friday or Monday.

He did not and she was going to call him on Tuesday.

She did not. Her boyfriend talked her out of it. Usually he is impressive but this time his advice might not have been helpful. 

Wednesday she popped into my room late in the afternoon almost evening with me out the door at 5pm and no time to spare.



What??? We still did not have the shoes that she needed. We spent a day going to like half a dozen stores and only at the end of all of that did she say she would wear some that she had tried on at Payless which was store #2…

Not only did I not have time to take her shopping that evening but I had a final at 9am Thursday morning. The forecast was also iffy for rain which would have just made the whole thing more miserable.

She went to trick or treat. I went to take my final and off to Boorittos & Gifts.
During our chat after it all I told my daughter we could get up early and I could just be late to my final while I helped her shop.

I arrived at school around 10am and took the final closer to 11 after reviewing the notes. I think I passed.

A few hours of work and my daughter had school.

Both of us skipped things we had planned or were scheduled to do earlier this week. I was supposed to attend a local MeetUp of Twitter folks. She was not feeling well for class on Tuesday.

I picked her up from work and took her to school. I came home to do a load of laundry including her new uniform which she had changed out of.

She headed out after that for a little R&R. I had one last final for the quarter.

For the weekend she went crabbing with her boyfriend and his uncle then to the water in another place and sleep over with the Besty.

I was not home I spent Friday & Saturday with friends at a conference. Wednesday nights and Thursdays early then late was when I was in school so those previous days were filled.

It was all of this and other random thoughts that had my daughter all anxious. I told her these things are normal even if they are a bit jumbled together or thrown at us last minute.

I tried to tell her having a lot on one’s plate is not the reason people take anxiety pills. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Canceling the Mom Taxi

We all understand. Kids can’t drive. In these years as kids get closer to jobs and driving privileges their calendars are full of activities.

In days of old children walked to school. Then there were buses and now we have carpools. With friends and activities all over town it has become the norm.

So what happens when there is tension in the relationship or a tight turn around in the schedule?

Drama that’s what.

I have day classes two days a week this quarter. They get out a half an hour before my daughters' only classes on the same two days.
I was driving her to school. I was also driving her almost anywhere else. If I want us to walk somewhere (very rare) she does not want to go.

Another half of the time she has hip and back problems. Still when all is well she walks for hours and miles with friends.

She mentioned to me during one conversation how she was going to use her pocket change to take the bus to her boyfriends house.

The last time I asked her to take the bus for school and offered to get her a bus pass (which would have covered these random trips too) she balked. “Too weird, too scary” she said.

Oh how the times change.

I got home late from class the other day making her late for her class. She pitched a fit.
The next day I decided if she can take the bus to see her boyfriend when I am busy, she can take the bus to school two days a week.

Further her expectation that I be on her beck and call like an unpaid taxi any time I am not seemingly otherwise busy is over!

"You are my mom you are supposed to provide transportation" she told me. 

Beep! Wrong answer.

I am supposed to make sure she gets to school. After that there is little I have to take her to do. We gave a ride home to a friend last week. 

We were at school on a non scheduled day. How does said student who lives less than a mile away from us get to school and back each day? She has to walk. Either her mom has no car or takes it to work. Either way that teen is on her own to get around.

The Mom Taxi is not a need and should not be an expectation. 

It is a luxury like Mom the Maid.

In between our two days of school I have a day off. I like to take it easy in the morning but I have a night class from 6pm-10pm. Also a fellow student carpool scheduled for that day.

So after the transportation changes my daughter came to my room asking for a random ride to the boy friend’s house. It is the middle of the day and no one at his house is available to pick her up.

Someone would be available by the time she was ready to come home. I felt the familiar pang that would have led me to fire up the mom taxi in previous days.

She did not want to walk but she wanted to use her bus fair if I was unwilling or unavailable. 

I reminded her that I gave her bus fair for school not pocket change for whatever she waanted to do. Further that not being mom the taxi means I was not going to leave home for random afternoon transportation especially when it does not go along with anything else that I have going on.

She decided she was stuck and would not go. A bit later she had a change or heart and decided to walk.

This generation needs a lot of TLC but also a good dose of reality, responsibility and resourcefulness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not Back to School Living

Oh September! We always get excited because it means birthdays. 

Hers and then mine in the space of three days.

I love my baby girl who is of course not so much baby these days. This is the big year 16. 

I want to get Miche bags and she wants to take drivers training so she can get her permit.

"Lord help me. lol"

I just have that knot in my stomach about this child I have raised behind the wheel of a car. 

Any car but especially mine.

I know this is normal and should pass. It just makes me laugh as I try not to sink into a pit of worry.

She falls up the stairs and has made a habit of tripping over my new book bag on wheels.

She thinks yellow lights mean go faster. Wait, no she knows better...

I hear all the anguish of families sending kids off to kindergarden. On the other end of the spectrum is the collective sigh of the mums with older children tired of them being in her hair or underfoot.

As a homeschooling mom even of only one these things were just never our experience.

In our heydays someone in one of the many homeschooling support groups we belonged to would dub an upcoming parkday as the official end to summer freedom for those doing more traditional school at home.

I know in some homes there is a marked change from summer to schooling time. In our home only the seasons changed.

The Not Back To School Parkday event would usually be well attended and find families in a great mood. We would see old friends and hang out a bit later than usual.
Back at home I would just have my baby as always. It has been a joy to have her home. The days where she crawls all over me and lets me hug her without restraint have ended. Still she pops into my room or interacts with me via social media like an old friend.

We move about the kitchen. The cats tag team us. Sometimes she is running after one of them or outside trying to befriend a new one.

Around the house I find her bits and things. 

Notes that say 

“I love my boyfriend”, 

scraps of art in many textures: cloth, paper, plastic, glass our home has been tagged.

There is just a calm, a peace and a joy even with the teenage issues a foot. We are not perfect and there are those pesky misunderstandings. I know these days are numbered.

I am serious about outsourcing our cleaning and charging for the inconvenience.

She sleeps with the light and the radio on. I take her to classes two days a week. There is the expected automation in other areas. 

The day we went on the college tour she had on my pants I think it was. 

She has been busy doing haircuts and dye jobs this summer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Solution Idea

So after a protracted blow up a new idea has popped up.
I know my daughter and I know what she is capable of. I know she has some challenges. Still here we are.

I would not say we fight. That is my daughters phraseology.
I know we disagree but I do not expect us to always think the same. Disagreement is fine with me as long as there is respect.
I have given my daughter a lot of room to live and breathe. 

Chores are minimal and the only other thing required of her is school.

When she goes off to visit friends she does and has done extensive housework. Because it was needed. Because she was asked. Without being asked.

In some ways she is like me. She rises to the level of the needs at the time.

So I asked her why she flat out ignored me when I mentioned she was slacking on her household duties.

Back pain and allergies she replied. I noticed that the bottom storage cabinet in the kitchen she used to keep organized and now is just a wreck.

The tub needed to be scrubbed and the bathroom rug needed to be shaken…

It hurts to bend and our bathroom has no window only a fan so cleaner fumes can build up.

Maybe if we worked on these things together. We do need to cultivate the time we spend together. 

What I have been doing is going downstairs to hang out. Sometimes I take the laptop. Most of the time I do not.
Her radio is always on. We laugh, talk, listen, sing, share. It seems to be working out well. I don’t criticize and she does not complain. 

The indoor out door neighbor cat has been enjoying more of our hospitality.

She does not want to wash dishes or clean the cat box. The last time she tried to vacuum her and the machine got into a tiff.
Still she wants to get a job and get busy out in the real world.

I asked her “What are you going to do about all these chores when you move out?” 

Disposable kitchen ware, microwaved meals and a bathroom with a window.

I guess that could work for a while. She is also talking about having roommates.  That has a way of self regulating.
For now I am more a roommate than a mom. I have executive authority but her will is fully established. 

She wants to get a job and do no chores. How about paying rent? Just enough to cover I don’t even know what since it is not really about money or chores.

The funny thing is this desperate idea about going to work started at the beginning of the year when we could not get financing but needed to buy a car.

She suddenly was not content to just be a dependent. I was not thinking she needed to go out and start working so soon. It never occurred to me to charge her rent when our commitment was to share household duties.

Merry Maids here we come.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Eruption

What is anything we get into disagreements over really ever about?

I do not know which is worse feeling like we keep getting stuck on the same issues or that every time we conquer one another one is around the corner. 

Never the less here we are.

So there is the ongoing issue of chores our relationship and mutual respect.

Normal stuff right?

Things began to pile up undone. I finally said something. I was rebuffed and ignored multiple times.

Now I can be confrontational and directive but that is usually not my way. I start off by making suggestions. Maybe I should ask more questions…

When things are good, once I mention things that should otherwise be getting done things get moving in the right direction and nothing more is needed.

Instead in this case outings and adventures with friends were on the agenda. 

Her “Can I go see my boyfriend?”

Me "Sure go ahead."

This extended into a two day marathon. With multiple siblings, a family from out of town staying in their house and the moving to a new first home out of a small duplex rental over there can be a huge time sucking vortex.

Anyone who knows a teen knows they would rather often be anywhere besides home. I do not mind letting her go when I know there will be activity and supervision.

It is not unheard of that they walk to see each other but more often than not the trips are carved out around transportation by one side or the other.

Off she went on a busy day. The day was so full with housework a teen in house wanted their hair dyed and that had gotten shelved. Thus day two was added after the long hours of one.

Fine it is summer a time for hanging out.

I was thinking when these adventures were over and things settled down my suggestions would get headed.

No such thing happened. Suddenly the month changed and suddenly on the heels of extended engagement it was time for an anniversary celebration.

“Say what?” I asked.

How have I been missing this every 30 days and why then had there been such a push to get together just a few days prior?

(And what about the household work that was being avoided?) Things left unsaid.

“What is the plan?” 

I asked looking for a time line or a time frame. I got nothing which I just knew meant 6-10 hours. Arrive after lunch stay through dinner and until bed time.

I called foul and my teen almost pitched a fit.

A few days ago I got a note in panic. Are you mad at us? Are you worried about us? What have we done?

Umm how did this become about anyone or anything besides the neglected housework? (A lack of (clear) communication).

Oy Vey

Words were said…

Monday, August 6, 2012

Error Mode Mom

Some days I wonder: How did I get here?

When things go wrong I try to look at the structures and rules we have in place.
In this moment they might seem a little lax.
We have lived a relaxed life.

I grew up with an unwritten code of conduct.

The thought of writing one up seems awkward... 

There has to be another way. 

It does not help that I have been a little distracted.
We are both going in our individual directions.

Words have been said.  Things have been left unsaid or at least it feels that way.

Things will be going along ok or even very well.
Then we hit a snag.

I try to live free of old hurts. If something is bothering me I like to get it off my chest. I do not hold grudges.

These are good tools for life. I wish I could make sure everyone had them.

Not everyone is so confrontational or forgiving. Some people just do not know how to communicate. Am I raising one of them? If so how did that happen.

I try to appreciate the basic differences between us and filter for whatever are doing or have tried. Some things just are. Others are actually result based.

It can be difficult to see where these lines are and how they criss cross.

The teen moved downstairs for a change of pace.
She said it would help her keep order in her room better.
I have not seen that.

We did have the multiple house guests over the past months and seasons. I know this put an emotional strain on everything. So, not much has been said.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our July 4th 2012

Oh the joys of parenting a teenager when it comes to social outings.
The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It is not overly commercialized like Christmas and Easter. 

It is not left over from some other idea of things people used to do. 

It is uniquely American.

I love my country and appreciate living here…all ills aside. 

I even have respect for the political process never the less life at home has kept me too busy to do more than vote.

Even that it is my favorite time of the year we do not have a serious tradition for the day. When possible I have made home made ice cream.

Usually I like to take us out far enough to see the public fire works display without getting us caught in the crazy traffic. 

The first time I tried that she was too little and it scared her to be at Cal Expo when the noise started.

Fast forward more than a dozen years and we got invited to a BBQ & Pool fun party last night. I mentioned it to her and she came unglued.

The invite was from strangers off MeetUp. She did not want to be with strangers and we had not heard from any friends or family that were doing anything or inviting us anywhere.

I thought she had decided to attend just to humor me or if I would pay for a session at the nail salon. No, I am not above bribery for the sake of a family event.

When she chickened out I was heartsick.

"I just wanted to do sparklers close to home with you" she told me. 

Who just wants that, I would have thought. 

We do not even have a grill. The forecast was for temps in the high 90's. A pool was sounding divine.

I went alone to the pool and BBQ party. Then had to leave early to get back home in time. It felt like a let down. 

We thought about going to the drive in. We couldn’t really agree on what to see. 

I was not sure we would have time in the dusk to light our few items and not miss the movie start time.

The night just needed something more…

The boyfriends' family to the rescue! As I came home to shower, from being in the pool, around 7:30 pm she was hounding me. 

"Mom they are trying to reach us" she was saying to me from down stairs somewhere.

"They want to know if we can we join them to light off fire works tonight?"

Sounds okay, was my thought as I tried to figure out what to wear suddenly and pin my hair back up. I had just released it from the push combs that hold it in place.

I fixed myself the first cup of warm coffee I was able to drink all day. The temp was falling. We got in the car but I grabbed a sweater. (Thank goodness.)

Boyfriends' Mamma is a picture diva so dorky me and QueenMiss are immortalized and there are a few…shots of the display that was put on.

Socialization Success hahahahah!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Emotional Growing Pains

So we had one of those conversations the other day. The kind that start one way about one thing and end up another way about a total other thing.
If that sounds convoluted...we are sorry…

Life is complex like that.

We were discussing this blog. Then we were discussing a past issue that should have made it here. The next thing I knew there was real hurt on the table.

It surfaced through anger and frustration of course.

We were sitting together watching tv and then poof she was gone away from me.

The argument we were discussing was of course not the real issue.

I swear this stuff keeps me on my toes.
I let things cool down then I want to try and unpack what was so upsetting.

What it came down to was our communications styles and the fear or discomfort she has experienced trying to gain her independence.
A typical modern day teenager she is all but surgically attached to her phone.

Through it she keeps tabs with those she is friends with and plans her activities. My phone on the other hand is likely to get misplaced which is further confounded because it is usually on silent.

So when she has a random thought while out with friends and calls me I do not answer.

Instead of leaving a message or sending a text to let me know what the issue is she calls again and again or not at all. 

Eventually we reconnect and I figure, crisis averted.
In her mind to not have me at her beck and call feels like abandonment.

Thus she feels alone in the world which makes her angry.


Yes people feel how they feel. Those who love them have to deal. It is as simple and complicated as that.

To her credit she has tried multiple times doing the same thing so it is not just one instance that she is annoyed about. 

She has also brought this issue up to me from time to time. 

Again I would say once she is home safe and I do not feel like she was stranded somewhere in peril that is enough for me.

On my end she knows I ignore my phone so it is not personal. 

I tell her all the time if she would text or leave messages more I would reply more. I do not think she believes me.

She also has not had an emergency that I regret being unavailable to help her attend to.

There have been situations and heightened emotions maybe that is half the tricky part.
I sent her a note.

I told her some of these issues, since it morphed out to more than just her and I, were about growing up. 

We learn to create what makes us comfortable from the things that drive us insane.

"Go into personal assistant mode" I told her. 

"When you are going to leave the house, find my phone. Set it to ring and bring it to me. Don’t call me on a whim unless you just want to chitchat. This will improve our communication when not at home together."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Home Cooked Double Date

It happened some time last year. 

The daughter and her best friend at the time both had new boyfriends. 

One had the bright idea for the boyfriends to meet each other. 

I did not know where this was going to take place.

What do you know it happened at my house.

I did not mind. My policy is that a boyfriend is not really real if the parents cannot meet him.

This meeting however turned into quite the event. Both girls were here having spent the night if I recall properly. Both boys were dropped off at some point during the day.

Now there was a gathering in my yard. 

Next the girls decided to make a big dinner for the guys. On the menu was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, water melon and ice coffee.

I made the drinks. The kids made everything else. Off they ran to the Mexican grocery store across the street. They picked up chicken drum sticks.

I tried to stay out of the way. The boys did too for a while and then they just could not resist the busy young ladies looking cute and making jokes.

My kitchen is not that big so I had to put a stop to all that non sense eventually. I sat in the living room with the young men as they waited through the afternoon. 

The boys were cute quiet and polite. They got a long well enough for strangers who had just met.
I knew the girls were delighted to be orchestrating a fun in house adventure.

Dinner was served and everyone ate heartily.

Dessert was light but it hit the spot. They were so full on soda and food they did not even enjoy the ice coffee. Instead a half of a game of Scrabble was played.
Finally one family arrived to pick up a young son and then another. I think it went well. 

I believe in parents and families seeking to get to know who their kids are hanging out with. I think welcoming suitors in to a family dinner is a perfect opportunity for this.

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