Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I often find myself hiding in the bathroom

The last few days I've been thinking again how interestingly difficult this whole parenting thing is.  And I think this is the 100th or maybe the 1000th post related to difficult parenting so we should probably throw a party or something.

A few days ago my teen came into my room and laid on the bed next to me.  And stared at the ceiling for a while... so I did, too.  And when he finally talked he said he has seriously considered leaving and traveling the world.  He's 13.  So I reminded him of the episode of Andy Griffith where Opie plans to run away from home and join the Navy because everyone thinks he got a good report card but he really didn't.  But Andy talks him out of it and imparts some parental wisdom.  So I tried to do the same, and quickly proved I'm not as good a parent as Sheriff Andy Taylor.  


Apparently there's just not enough to do around here, he says.  And he wants his own room.  And as the days have passed I've heard how epic it would be to get his ears pierced.   And I've heard the words, check it - way too many times.  I read an article today called Do Teenagers Still Have Brains? But I still have lots of reading left to do.  And I think Ethan looks an awful lot like Fonzie from Happy Days in this picture.

And there were pillow fights in the den.  So that completely takes the mystery out of why our couch is looking like it does. It was play time in between smallish periods of essay writing.  Chris says he works better this way - the work a little, play a little method of doing homework.

And a teacher called and wanted to talk to me after school.    And another teacher contacted me over the weekend via email.  Different circumstances, different kid.  But same mom.  Me.  And then it happened again.  Because bad things, like movie stars dying, always happen in 3's.  This time I heard from the middle school math teacher and we discussed at length the lack of ambition of the kid in question. 

Frustration.  With some fear mixed in. 

Frustration that makes me admit that parenting is hard.  So just short of giving up, I often find myself hiding in the bathroom.  And wondering if the world is really going to hell out there or if it just sounds like that.   

I read somewhere that we have to practice or perform a task for 10,000 hours to develop a level of mastery.  So if I've been a mom for 13 years, times 365 days a year, times 24 hours a day.... I should be an expert parent 10X over.  I've accumulated well over 115,000 hours of mom time.  And still each day brings surprises, challenges, and a certain humility that comes with any job that is still - new.

Because as a parent, no matter the amount of scheduling we attempt, and confidence we try to portray to the world, newness still shows up.  With each new grade level, with each new friend, with each new hobby or sport,... with each new age of each child - comes an ever changing environment requiring quick thinking, fast reflexes and lots of calming deep breathing exercises.

ou have to do something for 10,000 hours before you achieve any level of mastery.

And 115,000 hours later I still don't feel like an expert in the field of motherhood.  So I look to others for guidance, opinions, experience.  I look to other parents to support me in my parenting and fill in the blanks where maybe I missed a spot.  That goes for teachers, too.  Because there's an awful lot of parenting going on in the classroom every day.  

And maybe other parents let their kids do more than what ours do.  Fun stuff as my kids tell me.  Apparently every other kid in America gets to stay up later, and they have awesome phones and they go everywhere and eat out all the time..... and I'm okay with that. I tell my boys that I'm not all those other kids' mom.  I'm theirs. 

And maybe one day my kids will run off and join a video game cult for other deprived kids like themselves... and then we'll know that our parenting technique failed.  But until then... here I am... every now and then coming out from hiding in the bathroom..... still collecting hours of experience to become a master at the practice of  motherhood. 


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