Anxiety, Mental Health, Parent Support

I am a frustrated parent!!!!

Have you ever been so frustrated and beaten down by parenting that there were days that you regretted the decision to have children?

How about this one? You wish they would run away and not come back; or the low of all lows- wondering if it was possible to get into a minor car wreck without major injuries, but it would keep you in the hospital a few weeks so you could have some peace- however you quickly rule this one out because your self-preservation tactic is too great, and you can only imagine what state the house would be in when you get out.

Laugh as you may, ALL of these thoughts crossed my mind when our family was in the height of crisis with our teenager.  You know you are in parenting hell when you think a few weeks in the hospital might be better than dealing with your child. 

Almost two years have passed since that unstable time and I have to say, while I can clearly recall when and where I had those thoughts, I can’t summon up the feelings of despondency I felt at that time that would make me think that way.  I have come a long way, done a lot of hard work and now feel like my children are getting a much better version of me.

I recently shared with someone the moment that I realized why so much has gone wrong in our relationship of mother and child. One night, during his stay in wilderness I couldn’t get him out of my mind and sleep eluded me. I though writing a letter to him might help me. I sat down to write around 4:30 am, needless to say five hours later I got out of my seat and was holding an 11 page single spaced document, which I named the Mom Manifesto, as to call anything eleven pages long as a letter seemed ridiculous.   It was in this stream of conscious writing to my son that I came to find my truth. 

That letter was the true catalyst of the massive shift that was about to occur in our relationship.  It was the start of our healing, and I am pretty damn proud of myself for having the courage to actually send it to him; I am even more proud that my son read it, accepted it, appreciated it and was willing to restart the rebuilding of our relationship.   I now like the mother that I have become, and I am well aware that the work must continue every day. 

Excerpts from my Mom Manifesto

“I realize now that what you needed from was so very simple, and well within my ability to provide it to you. You just needed my unconditional love and acceptance, 100% of the time. You needed it on the days you did your homework with speed and accuracy, and you needed it on the days you refused to do it as well. You needed it on the days we cuddled in my bed as much as the days you struggled with friends, and the list can go on….”

“I needed to see beyond myself, and to give you a sense of security that a parent should provide. To some degree I was really more worried about myself than you. I somehow connected if I did everything right, you would turn out “right” and in turn I would be a successful parent.  I put conditions on my love. I doled out my acceptance and love to you as a reward when you met my expectations of success. That wasn’t fair to you or to me. That was wrong for me to expect you to validate my parenting. The times you couldn’t meet my expectations, I blamed you for what I considered to be my failure as a parent. I know that I did you wrong with that, and I am sorry that I chose to put that burden on you.”

“Yes, you were right every time you accused me of being afraid. I always got annoyed with you when you said that, and I never knew why, and now I do. I feared you doing something that would reflect poorly on me as a parent, and then I wouldn’t be a successful parent. I am going to try to pack that fear away, and allow you to fail or make mistakes, they will be yours to own. You will make mistakes, let’s hope they aren’t huge and life altering, but either way they will be yours to own, not mine. I can finally release myself of the fear. This does not mean free reign, as you are still the child, and I am still the parent, but it does open many more opportunities and doors for us. For this new knowledge and understanding of myself has set me free, and while I am sad that it has come to this with us, I truly believe that by me sharing my story with you, it is an important part of my healing as a person, mother, and wife. It has been a long time since I have felt this at peace. My hope for you is that you can find some peace for yourself as well.”

“I became consumed with being a successful parent, instead of just being the parent you needed. For many years of your life I convinced myself that some of the things I was choosing to do where for you, but in reality they were about me being a “successful” parent. I made my need to succeed the focus and not your emotional needs.”

“Instead of me learning to accept the unique and good person you are, I tried to change you to meet my expectations. My actions, I suspect resulted in you feeling that you disappointed me, that I was ashamed of you, that you were a lesser person, and that you weren’t loved by me. While I may have never actually said those things, I am sure my actions silently sent those messages to you. So this is where the cycle began. I made you feel bad, you acted out, I got mad, you felt worse, you act out more, I got madder and it goes on that way for years, until it breaks. It finally broke for both of us this year, and I am really glad it did, we needed to fix it.”

4 thoughts on “I am a frustrated parent!!!!”

  1. AMAZING courage and insight, Cheryl! Yes, I have had similar thoughts in moments of parenting hell and have also come to a similar realization of imposing my wants on my kids…after the fact of course. I realize now that it takes a different type of parenting once our kids are pre-teens/teenagers than when they were younger. I tried really hard to be a great parent but got so caught up in it that I forget to make a shift when they got older. Then all hell broke out with my oldest and, for my own sanity’s sake, I was forced to look at things differently… Who would have ever imagined how much we would learn about ourselves in the process of raising our kids!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you have amazing insight, and I know just how much effort and energy goes into making changes in ourselves. Great job mom.


      1. Your sharing is raw and uncensored. You do not protect yourself and this is the only way we can change is in our thoughts. I only wish I had this when I was raising my children and am so grateful that my daughter reads these.

        Liked by 1 person

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