Silencing the Noise

Recently blogger, Love Hurts, posted an essay called, “am I a good mom?” I can’t say that I ask this question specifically; it’s more that I review collections of incidents and do assessments and think about where I could do better, how I could’ve done worse and be glad I didn’t.

I’m constantly looking to improve, but overall I have gotten to this space in which I try to be kind to myself. I try to give myself a break. It is an odd thing to have no kids one day and a kid, a teenager no less, the next day. It’s hard work. I get it half wrong or just all wrong every day. But I figure Hope seems happy, she’s safe, she’s fed, she’s loved, she’s learning. I must be doing something right.

I’ve come to believe that my worries about parenting are triggered by factors and individuals outside of me and Hope. There are the comments about what I let Hope “get away with” as we continue to work on big issues from her past. There are the side eyes I get because I’m apparently doing the most. Then there’s the passive aggressive commentary when I’m apparently doing the least.

I try to stay inward focused on Hope’s needs just so that I can tune out the noise. The noise doesn’t add any meaningful input into my life or parenting. It does serve to further breakdown whatever confidence I might exude on any given day. It makes me question the things I absolutely know I got right and cry more over the things I wonder if I screwed up royally.

What’s interesting about the criticism is that it rarely offers a suggestion for a better way to do anything or if the commenter might pitch in to help. Sometimes they offer suggestions, but they aren’t helpful because the offering is made without tons of nuanced information about my and Hope’s journey through trauma and adoption. So it really is just noise.

Today I am sitting in a conference room in the mid-west in a meeting away from Hope. Today she is out of school. Nanny 1 has left for the day and the other nanny won’t be in until this evening. Hope is “Home Alone.”

homealone

Hope has food.

She has a list of chores and activities.

Appropriate PPV movies were purchased this morning.

The crockpot is going for dinner.

I will call to check on her throughout the day.

Hope’s got an emergency contact list and access to two building concierges who can help out if necessary.

She’s 13 and will be home alone for maybe 10 hours. She will likely sleep 4 of them easily.

I did play a bit of resource Cirque du Soleil trying to have someone there to entertain/watch her today. My machinations didn’t work, and so she’s home today alone.

And you know what?

She’s going to be fine.

Are we both a little nervous? Yep, because I’m not downtown; I’m 1200 miles away.

Am I confident that the likelihood is small that she will burn the condo building down or some other cataclysmic event will occur? Yeah, I’m pretty confident.

Do I think by the 3rd check in call/Google hangout that she’s going to go all snarkily, “ Mom, geesh, don’t you have something to do?” Yep. And I will smile and tell her I’ll call her back later.

And do I think that she will be happy to see Nanny 2 this evening? Yep.

Will I celebrate her major achievement in demonstrating teen responsibility when I get home tomorrow? Yep, like a boss (provided the condo building is still standing)!

explosion570

Do I wish things had worked out differently? Yeah, but they didn’t.

Does any of this make me a bad mother? No, I’m pretty confident it does not.

Parents make tough decisions with available resources all the time. It’s what parents do. I know through this journey as a new single mom that I have much more empathy for birth families and the challenges they may face along the way. Sometimes things go really, really wrong. I’m fortunate to have resources, to understand systems, to be able to pull things together to fill most of my gaps. My heart breaks for those without those resources and ability to navigate the rocky landscape; it’s easy to see how a cascade of bad, tragic things can happen.

So instead of internalizing the critiques, staying pissy about them, and finding ways of “punishing” those who poke my mom’s eye, I’m going to send out some energy to other moms, new moms, adoptive moms and any kind of moms who need it. You’re doing fine. You’re making tough decisions, some will be great, and some will suck. You will triumph, and you will stumble. I hope that you don’t experience or internalize the negative criticism floating around about your parenting and that your would-be critics think to ask how might they help you be more successful rather than point out your perceived flaws. The former would be so much more productive than the latter.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

7 responses to “Silencing the Noise

  • Mimi

    You’re doing fine. You’re making tough decisions, some will be great, and some will suck. You will triumph, and you will stumble.

    The bolded part is the one that needs to be reiterated to new mothers over and over again. You’re doing fine.

    We can tell that you’ve thought this through many, many times on how to make this the safest situation possible for Hope and she also will be fine. Well done, Mom.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      And she is doing fine. I was so fretful about coverage and how some folks in my life would react that it didn’t occur to me that Hope would view this as a huge opportunity to show me how responsible she is. She’s got the laundry going, she’s cleaned the kitchen, she’s played me some Bruno Mars on the piano, which she seems to have a natural knack for BTW. She is so proud of herself for stepping up, and I am thrilled that she’s risen to the occasion and exceeded my expectations! Hope rocks! It’s really such a blessing. We are soooooo celebrating later this week. 🙂

  • Annie

    It is fine! She will take great pride in being able to handle business herself. Sure, it is a risk, she might come down with the flu or the power might go out or whatever. But think of the rewards.

  • Instant Mama

    Needed to hear this again. Thanks. And super glad your expectations were not only met but exceeded by your daughter. Woohoo!

  • A Year Gone By | AdoptiveBlackMom

    […] We struggled with all kinds of things. […]

  • Cara

    Loved reading this. So many things you write about experiencing with your daughter I’m going through as well with my kids (13&11). I know it’s not to the same extent considering Hope’s past experiences but it’s soothing to the soul to read these words from another mom who gets it 🙂

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