The Throes of Frustration

So, moving heaven and earth to help your kid is hard work. This weekend I took to my couch like I haven’t done in nearly a decade. It was delicious.

Sunday evening rolled around, and the weekly drama of getting back on schedule begins to unfold. I do laundry and wash hair and cook, all the while Hope begins to get spastic about homework she neglected all weekend…sometimes homework that was due last week sometime.

And my internal kettle begins to simmer.

By Monday morning, she has a rotten attitude because as usual she didn’t finish much homework because she was “tired,” and my endless nagging about being on time and moving through the morning routine begins. By the time she saunters into the kitchen for breakfast, I’m nearly undone and throwing my lunch in my briefcase and ready to give Yappy his calming drops.

Then we go through the morning ritual of playing chicken with catching the bus.

Have I mentioned yet that my internal kettle is thisclose to whistling? #imalittleteapot

Now, intellectually I really am learning how the ADHD brain works, but from a practical perspective, dammit, why the hell won’t she just do what the eff I tell her to do when the eff I tell her to do it???

Seriously, we would all be in such a much better place if She. Just. Did. What. I. Told. Her.


I fantasize about one day not having to nag her because she will be able to do things in a timely matter, thoroughly.

I also won’t lie, I also fantasize about popping her one good time in that smart mouth. #dontjudgeme

Each week there is a snarky “What” or eye roll or bold face untruth that forces me to use herculean strength keeping my hand at my side. Oh, I do buy into the whole don’t use corporal punishment, but the truth is, that my sisters and I turned out great with it. Now, we probably could write some righteous country songs about skinny belts just getting out of the shower, but the point is that we would ne’er have dreamed of talking to my parents like any of this. I know that this isn’t the best way to parent Hope; I know that, but #realtalk my palm is a little itchy.

The waves of frustration with Hope overwhelm me sometimes. The times when we have just nice tranquility are so amazing…and so rare.

It’s hard to tell how much of this is just routine teenager stuff (in part because I was *not* allowed to do some of the things I feel like she gets away with), how much of it is trauma related, how much of it is ADHD related and how much of it is just a reaction to my own parenting.

I just don’t know, and it probably doesn’t matter.

I think what is really the hardest part is knowing that I’m doing everything, everything I can. I’m constantly researching “solutions.” I’m constantly kicking over rocks and finding nuggets of information that help me get to a new level of understanding or to gain a new tool to help us. In the end, I have a lot of information and a lot of tools and in my own way I’m throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks and nothing does.

I hope that years from now something I’ve done will make a difference in Hope’s life, but right now, it’s not even guilt or failure that I feel; it’s just utter, unrelenting frustration. The frustration that hardly anything ever seems to go right is just hard to sit with for so long with no end in sight. I’m frustrated that I can’t fix this right now.

But raising a kid is a long haul kinda situation, so immediate feedback in the form of her behavior, her desire to achieve, her desire to be whole and more…well all of that is always elusive. I’m realizing that ultimately it’s this kind of feedback that is all that matters to me. It is a nod that things are going well. A tell that Hope has bought into my vision and value for her. It’s the recognition that she wants something for herself besides a bag of Taki’s.

There is guilt though. I’m aware enough to know that it’s still much too soon to expect this of her. She’s lived a harder life in her few years than I have in my 43. And we’ve only had a little over two years to course correct. It’s not fair to expect her to be *there* yet.

So, in the end; I am always feeling…off. I am working so hard and the one person who I want to chase the gold ring, still could not care less, not even a little. I’m still not sure after two years what to do with these feelings. It is hard to balance them. It’s hard to push them behind all the feelings I’m supposed to be feeling about how awesome motherhood is supposed to be.

Well, Hope actually caught the bus this morning. I suppose that’s one less thing for me to be frustrated by or about today. But it’s only 8am; I’m sure the day won’t disappoint.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

15 responses to “The Throes of Frustration

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    Yes it is hard but good for you for not responding with corporal punishment. Yes I am old school too but in hindsight I can see how it did not work for my brother or myself. Breathe, focus on positive and know you have the strength to get through this.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Thanks. I don’t ever intend to respond that way, but really, it is impossible to deny the desire. It is hard focusing on the positive sometimes, but you’re right, you have to. I also know that I’ve got to do a better job of being positive with Hope during these times. I know I’m not and that doesn’t help. I can be contributing to the strife we experience by not finding something praiseworthy to focus on with her. 😦

  • My Perfect Breakdown

    You are doing great!! I can hear how much you care with every single word and I suspect with more time and more continued effort Hope will continue to make small steps forward. (Which of course won’t help with your frustration anytime soon, unfortunately) ☺

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      I do see huge improvement overall with her, but I know that there’s still so much farther to go. I hate feeling like I’m contributing to her frustration, which ultimately contributes to mine. We’ll get there. Thanks.

  • Beth H

    You are doing a good job ❤

  • vibrantwriter

    I can so relate to your “off” feeling when it comes to expectations, reality and the time it takes to rectify behaviors from past traumas. The smart side of my brain tells me we should cut ourselves some slack and not focus so much on comparing our childhoods (and what our parents would have put up with) to those of our children (because they are not the same due to some very drastic happenings). The not-so-smart side of my brain gets easily frustrated when the back-talk is absurdly ostentatious and the you’re-not-my-“real”-mother slurs are hurled to inflict emotional wounds. Sigh. I don’t have any words of wisdom to impart, I just wanted to let you know I’m a kindred soul here, fighting the good fight and loving a child adopted from foster care. I’ve been lurking reading your blog for a little while now and thought I would comment on how much your situation resonates with me. Thanks for writing and keep on keeping on.


    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      The comparison is such a trap isn’t it?

      Hope has never hurled the “you’re not my ‘real’ mother’ slur at me, and there’s good reason for that, but she will say, “You chose me, YOU adopted me.” She likes to remind me that as the adult in the relationship, I did this (whatever this happens to be) to myself. I chose my discomfort and my sacrifice. It slays every time because it’s true; it’s more true than the mother slur for us. It’s a doozy. 😦

      Thanks for following and “lurking.” Come on in, stay awhile, make yourself comfy, there’s pinot in the fridge. 🙂

  • Casey

    Do what the eff I tell her BAH HAHAHA YESSSSSSS. Seriously. I had this conversation yesterday with our son. I’ve had to learn to give him one thing at a time. One. Thing. Like, “Brush your teeth” (pause) “WITH toothpaste.”

    Once, after yet another “you’re not my REAL mom,” Hubby retorted, “well, you’re not our REAL daughter.” She cried. “That hurt my feelings!” He asked how she thought it felt for us to hear it. She hasn’t said it since. Sometimes it’s about getting them to see things from a different (less egocentric) perspective. They truly can’t help being self-centered; that’s how they survived—we just have to teach them how to consider other people now. 🙂


    Also: auto-correct messed up your title. That should be Throes. (Happens to me all the time. Spell-check is both the ultimate tool and the bane of my existence.) 😉

  • Belladonna Took

    Well … maybe motherhood isn’t going to be that “awesome” for you. Maybe we all have unrealistic Cosby Show ideas about the awesomeness and wholesome joy of being a parent. But hang in there … chances are you’ll get to be a grandma, and that is pretty awesome! (Yeah, I know that’s not comforting but it’s the best I’ve got for you right now. That and a cyberhug.)

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Grandma???? LOLOLOL, dear Holy Homeboy help me…can I get her through high school (and preferably college) before we even think about that!

      Lalalalalalala–I can’t hear you. 🙂

      Hugs back! 😉

  • thecommonostrich

    This will be long, but I swear I have a point. Stay with me.

    My sister is a child psychiatrist with three sons, one of whom just turned 15. Recently, he has become a complete flake- forgetting homework, forgetting… well, just about everything. I was talking to her about this recently, and she said she has to remind herself that teenagers go through a specific cognitive developmental phase. Learning new skills (like abstract thinking, long-term logical sequencing, etc.) means that their brains have to “prune” in order to make room. Yes, their brains are eating themselves.

    In highly non-scientific terms, all teenagers are zombies. Take solace. Or refuge, depending on how you think about it.

  • Killing me Softly | A Sista's Guide to Adoption

    […] ~ ABM (via The Throes of Frustration) […]

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