Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Who is this kid? Who is this mom?

At 18, I found out I was pregnant.
Obviously, not being married and fresh out of high school, this was an unplanned big surprise to me...
Coming from a relationship with my mother that was not so perfect at the time, I planned to do everything "BETTER"!! 
I had NO idea what I was in for. 
After his birth, finding a joy and love in a child I never knew I could feel, I have also found a hurt that NO ONE else could ever put on me.

I have been a single mother for 15 years.  and YES - there have been hard times and OH YES, there have been many many mistakes.
I'm not perfect
nor did I ever claim to be
But I tried.... oh how I have tried.

My son is now about a week away from being 16.

And looking back over the years, I realize, being a mother is a constant looking back at what I did wrong.

I did my best to make sure my son always had not just his needs met, but also most of his "wants".  Turns out now all those things are taken for granted and being told NO makes me the meanest mom in the world.

I did my best to make sure the house was clean and clothes were washed and our place was nice, no matter where we lived.  Turns out now my son seems to be ignorant to what "cleaning your room" actually means, and even getting dirty clothes to the laundry room is a chore, much less turning on a washing machine or dryer.

I did my best to make sure decisions were made that would benefit him in the long run rather than making decisions based on a whim or a mood.  Turns out now all his decisions are based on what kind of mood he happens to be in that day.

I did my best to accentuate his talents in sports... basketball and baseball.  I did my best to make sure he always played and had what he needed and was praised for good efforts!  Turns out when everything was easy and handed to him, no effort was required on his part.  NOW anything that requires hard work or effort is not something he wants to be a part of.  He just wants to have fun.

I did my best to talk to him about peer pressure and alcohol and drugs and things he would soon be faced with.  Turns out I had NO idea how much more pressure there is on kids these days and things I thought he could stand up to, he didn't.

I did my best to raise him with values and work ethic and love and compassion and desire...
I did my best to show him how HARD we have to work everyday, but there is still time for fun...
I did my best to show him that no matter how hard life gets, his mom will always be here...
I did my best to show him that tough love means I love you, but I have to prepare you for hurt...

I did what I thought was right at the time, but I can say today that the more I thought I did right... the more that things just constantly remind me that it doesn't matter. 
Right or Wrong? 
There is no right or wrong!! 
All you can do is instill all the values in the world in your child and show them that you love them.
At some point, you have to release those mommy strings and LET THEM FALL.
and ohhhhhhhhhhh how that HURTS.
and ohhhhhhhh how it makes me feel like a failure and like I DID do everything wrong.

And every time I get a letter from a teacher at school, or a phone call from another parent, or a comment from my husband, or hear a story about a party, I am just reminded that after all these years....  I don't know who I am anymore... I don't know what to do anymore... I don't know where the line is between loving and letting go.

I don't know this child that resides in my home anymore.  And I don't know me anymore.
All I know is most days, my heart just hurts.
My pushing only causes fights.  He pushes back.
He's trying to spread his wings too.

So I walk away.... and let him fly.... and watch him fall.  And try to be here when he needs me.

I don't know who I'm supposed to be anymore?
Did I EVER know??

Link up here to pour your heart out with Shelly - or go and read some of the other posts.


Anonymous said...

Tammy, this post took my breath away. I see my future. We have not started off too well. My son is so overindulged and spoiled and already has attitude with me at 7 years old. He has no sense at all of responsibility because I have made sure that his world was comfortable and safe at every turn. I thought that is what a good mother would do, but I am learning otherwise.. the hard way. I am trying to turn it around but gosh it is so hard. I am constantly looking back and what I did wrong but seem to be paralyzed to change it now. Dont even know how to start.

Shell said...

Oh honey, you were only doing what you thought was best- and it sounds like you did an amazing job. Hang in there!

singedwingangel said...

OH I hear you loud and clear. As a single mom with my oldest I did my best to do my best. My husband adopted him and loves him as much as he does our natural kids. It never seems to be enough, never. So my now 18 yr old who is bipolar runs as hard as he can. While I wait for him to fall. Though I say now that there are things he will fall from that I will not pick him up from. Just like I did he will have to learn some mistakes only you can correct. I don't think you did anything wrong I think a lot of today's kids are just like your son. and mine.

Aunt Crazy said...

I could have written this post myself, actually, my post today is similiar. I was 18 when my son was born, he's 18 now. He's spoiled rotten.

The thing is, you raised him right, I raised mine right. The choices they are making right now, the things they are doing, it's them doing what teenagers do, leaving us to hope that when these years pass and responsibility and adulthood take them over, they will remember the foundation we set for them. They will turn out just fine, as long as we allow them to wake up breathing each morning between now and then ;)

Making It Work Mom said...

Before I ever judge the parents of any inconsiderate or rude teenager I also think that could be my child in ____ years. Teenage years are rough no way around it. I think you truly don't know if you did your best work as parent until after the teen years. I think having a good teenager is just luck...

Annie @ Annie's Heart said...

I have heard this cry from other moms of teens and I am honestly not looking forward to those days. I will have 3 teenagers at once. My kids are right now 4, 2 and 4 months. I'm in for it big time. And boy am I scared.

I commend you for your honesty. You raised him right and now he is making his own way, albeit the wrong way.

I hope this story makes you feel better:

There was a boy raised in a Christian home. he was very active in church youth group, quoted scripture, great in school, a very good boy. Then at 18 he just left home. Not a good bye to his mom, nothing. Just left. His mom knew where he was, he just didn't say good bye.

The next 4 years he spent experimenting with drugs, drunk out of his mind, dropped out of college. He wasted yrs 18-21. Literally.

This is my husband. I met him when he turned his life around. At 23 years old he decided to clean up and get his life right with God. All that stuff his mom and dad taught him growing up? It stuck with him. He gave up drinking and thankfully never was addicted to the drugs. Today we have 3 kids, he owns his own business and is very active in our church. I love him from the depth of my heart.

You never know how well he will turn out after this hard time passes!!


Annie @ Annie's Heart said...

Hi! It's Annie again. If you ever wanna chat you can email me LOL

annie.shultz at


Galit Breen said...

ohmygoodness! This post is unbelievable! Heartfelt, honest, true, transparent. He's a lucky boy and you are an amazing mom! I am so, so very glad to have connected with you and am looking forward to many more reads! XO

Cora said...

I was a single mom for thirteen years. It's a tough, TOUGH job. And you're right, there is no right or wrong. We do the very best we can do for our babies.... and the rest is up to them.

Your son will find his way. He just needs to stumble a bit and explore first. All teenagers do. Please don't beat yourself up for that.


Tami G said...

Thanks Cora! :)