There are days when as a parent of two teens, I can’t turn a trick.
Thankfully, today was not one of those days. We had a rather pleasant afternoon over lunch celebrating my mother’s birthday as a family. My mother has the most amazing knack of bringing out the best in my children. Mind you, they also bring out the best in her and today was no exception. I suppose she’s a safe zone for them, a whole lot of love without any need for prodding them to do stuff. Gratitude thy name is mother and I love the fact that my children have grandparents they can and do turn to.
This last year or so of parenting has left me sitting here feeling very ineffective. Forget the fiscal cliff, what I’m talking about is the parental cliff and I’ve sailed right over. On my way through the free fall, I find myself latching on to any small branch of commonality with others similarly in free fall, swapping stories in an attempt to gain any insight into how to cushion this landing. Then there’s the desperate clutching onto anything resembling something remotely positive or connective from said teens.
Every parent strives towards producing independent adults who will contribute positively to the human race. And by contribution, I don’t mean splitting the atom, creating the next big Internet phenomenon or brokering world peace. Whilst, all of these are wonderful objectives and worth striving towards, really all I want for my children is to happy and independent in whatever lawful path they choose.
And there’s the rub. To get to that point, our children have to make their own declaration of independence. And the process can be brutal. Deep down inside I applaud this final snip of the umbilical cord. In fact I would be more concerned if it didn’t come. The issue really is that whilst it’s happening, the family still has to function and we all need to still take care of business. Except that now their business is no longer my business except when I should have known it was my business from the subliminal messages that now pass for parent/teen communications.
Which is why I feel like I’m currently walking on egg shells without a safety net.
The approach to a teen requesting them to do the most basic of things involves the strategy of Sun Tzu, the diplomacy skills of Henry Kissenger and the timing skills of Warren Buffett. The slightest miscalculation can have lingering repercussions and usually
someone me ends up losing a finger, or even worse, credibility. And all of this happening at a time which certainly feels like my parental report card is being handed down showing a series of Fs.
I wish I had some witty wisdom to impart on how to get through this. However, it has suddenly left me, no doubt buried under the piles of clothes in my teens’ bedrooms.
Perhaps I really should follow my teens’ advice to “Not take it so personally, mum” and instead go searching for my recently departed sense of humour. I think I’m going to need it for what’s still ahead.