Tag Archives: Single Mommyhood

Grown Lady Chats

So, Hope and I have been talking a lot this last week. And by a lot I mean, so much that I could kill a bottle of wine each night after our chats.

As I’ve mentioned on occasion the Constitution of the Sovereign Queendom ABM provides Hope limited privacy rights.  I mean, clearly, she has a door on her bedroom and bathroom and I don’t routinely rifle through her things. That said, if something is fishy, I maintain a benevolent monarch’s right to have all the tech passwords and access to all messages without question. I have only needed to exercise my right to invade on one or two occasions prior to last week.

This most recent episode was triggered by super shady behavior by Hope, and her dying need to tell me about what was going on but knowing that she probably shouldn’t.  So, at dinner one night, Hope rambled on for 30 minutes some disjointed story that included no names, some “friends,” lots of giggle and teen angst and just all kinds of boring yet fishy details. It was hard to follow, but I picked up enough to know that I needed to exercise my rights to start logging into some accounts for some late night reading.

And so I did.

And then I needed to lay down, so it was good that I was already in bed because what I read would make any good Southern woman need to take to her bed.

It was super clear that me and Hope were in serious need of a chat about grown lady issues.

I reached out to a few close friends, worked through some of my emotions and gathered some useful advice and steeled myself for what I hoped would be a casual, non-confrontational, supportive chat about sex. A chat that would be followed by me taking several shots of whiskey in the privacy of my bathroom as a part of my recovery plan. This wouldn’t be our first chat about sex, but it would be the first time that we needed to talk with a lot more detail about choices, values, self-worth, self-esteem, so-called friends, emotions and behavioral patterns.

When I finally got up the nerve to talk to my daughter about sex, she was mortified.

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Hope tried to bury her head in the couch.

I persisted, and we had our first real grown lady talk. I kept my composure, there was no yelling, little emoting beyond trying to be empathetic and patient. I was firm about certain things, but acknowledged that some choices aren’t mine to make. I insisted on making an appointment with a health care professional to answer some questions—I mean, I could answer them, but I know the value of having a 3rd party say what should be said and that’s worth the $10 co-pay.

I wanted her to know that while I’m not her friend, I am the safest person to talk to and share things this deep with. That’s what I’m here for.

Afterwards, she retreated to her room and I grabbed a few shots and leaned into my couch.

In the aftermath, I wasn’t really sure what she thought about the talk. I mean, I high fived myself, because I thought I did pretty well. I kinda wished my mom was willing to talk to me like I talked to Hope about grown lady stuff. I thought to myself, “Self, you *might* be on the road to being that cool mom you aspire to be!”

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And then, just when I thought I’d cracked the door to our grown lady chats, the flood gates opened. #IWASNTREADY

Last night on the way home from an outing Hope resurfaced the conversation with way more details and an offer to read a series of messages that I hadn’t read during my privacy invasion.

Oh dear…I don’t want to read those messages. Nope, nope, I don’t wanna. You can’t make me.

Nah, I’m good.

Distewwwmuch! Distewwwmuchtoosoon!

We stayed in the car for 30 minutes talking about grown lady things, with me genuinely happy she feels safe talking to me and asking questions, while also really needing to take to my bed immediately because I was…done for.

Oh yeah, we are all into the grown lady chats now.  I know this means I’m totally slaying this mother game this week, but the loss of my own parenting innocence is kinda sad. I mean, I’m not naïve; I knew Hope was having all these thoughts and feelings; I remember what kinds of things I wanted to know and experience in high school, and I only imagined that it was like that and worse now. I just didn’t count on finding out so much so quickly. I know that we will establish some kind of boundaries with time, and so I’ll treasure this time of knowing so much and being able to parent, coach and mentor her into womanhood.

Sometimes I really sit down and think about how Hope is already in high school and this chapter will be over so soon, but we just found each other. We’re having all these experiences, and we’re cramming all this life into what feels like tiny chunks of time. Before you know it, we’ll be on to the next mother-daughter crisis.

Two years ago, I knew Hope and I would someday have to have grown lady chats, but it seemed so far off into the future.

And now we’re here.  I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made and how quickly it has happened, but I’m also like, wow, it’s all flying by so damn fast. I know it’s a mess of confusion and hormones and emotions for Hope right now, but it is also a mess of emotions (and probably some wretched hormones) for me too.

So, for now, I’m open to listening to every hair raising, slow-blink inducing grown lady chat that Hope wants to have with me.

I’m also stopping by the liquor store on the way home, you know, for my private after party.

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Wiring My Jaw Shut

So as I wrestle with my emotions in trying to motivate Hope as well as provide her the support she needs to be successful, Absurdly Hot Therapist recently told me to really work on practicing “non-judgmental parenting.”

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So after I finished laughing and thinking about how hot he is in his shawl collared therapist sweaters and cute colorful socks, I was like “Dude….”

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Oh, don’t miss understand, I get it: Safe environment for Hope, protect Hope’s ego, support Hope, let her know I have reasonable expectations, but am totally cool with her working up to them…Yada, yada, yada.

Ohhh.Emmmm.Geeee.

Listen, I feel like I have the most amazing family in the universe. I also feel like despite our best efforts we can be a judgy bunch.

Like, PhD in judgy sometimes.

And oh, despite my best, dedicated, work hard efforts, I am soooooo a judging everything.

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Oh yeah, it’s a problem, I know.

So, I’ve been working on it. My version of working on it looks like this:

“Don’t say anything because you might lose it.”

“Keep your pie hole shut.”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.”

“Do NOT respond to that smart a$$ text message.”

“Whooooosaaaaaaa.”

“Nope, not falling for it, not gonna do it.”

*Heaving breathing*

“Get yourself a martini, like right now before you rip her head off.”

#realtalk

This, this is my internal monologue.

We were in to see our primary care physician for double appointments today; I was shocked that my blood pressure was normal. I swore it would be through the roof. I would’ve bet the farm on it.

Seriously, I’d like to just get my mouth wired shut for the next year or two, then I wouldn’t have to worry about my mouth popping off when Hope said/did something unbelievable.

I’m honestly not sure how people survive this. I feel like all this new fan-dangled parenting might just kill me. My parents see me interact with Hope and this, this is the face they give me.

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It’s all with so much love.


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“You gonna just let that slide? You aren’t going to check her?”

You see, I try not to judge Hope and I feel even more judged.

Ain’t that some ish?

Now, I am not justifying my continued judgment of my daughter, but seriously, this feels like a no win situation for me, no way out. It is crushing my spirit right now.

Oh and my tongue has a bunch of chew marks on it from me biting it so hard.

I am staying the course though. I am working on letting Hope just fall into the natural consequences of doing or not doing whatever it is she’s supposed to do. She fed me a bunch of BS today about why she can’t/won’t do something to bring a grade up from a 28 to a 60.

I’ve bent over backwards like a yogi.

Her teacher has bent over backwards on a mat beside me.

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I finally just told the teacher to let that grade ride; seriously, why are we killing ourselves? We care about her, but we understand and know how to work these algebra problems. She’s the one who has an opportunity to raise her grade.

The choice, ultimately, just has to be hers.

Le Sigh.

I wish that letting it ride really gave me peace. It doesn’t. I am still scared for her, but I’m going to take a big step back and try to just breathe, let her breathe and let the chips fall.

I still might need to get my jaw wired shut, though. I’m wayyyyyy too hot tempered to keep repeating all the mantras.


When Life Gets Real…

You’re not going to want me anymore after we’re together for like a month.”  ~ Hope

Oh good grief, here we go.  I’ve read the books on loss and abandonment.  I get it.  I do, but wow.  Sitting in the middle of this conversation was hard for both of us.  I love that my Hope is so transparent and forthcoming, but this stuff just kind of comes out and catches you off-guard.

Hope’s rationale was that a fun weekend together isn’t real, and that when real life starts after she comes to live with me, school, work and other stuff would be real.  It would be different, and I wouldn’t want her.   She said this was better than just jumping onto all of that stuff, but she was worried.

So, in some ways she’s right.  This weekend is very artificial.  It is an extended date for an arranged relationship.  We won’t be going to the museum, the great wheel or the Cheesecake Factory every day after we start our new lives together.  It will be different and likely weird for both of us.  It’s bound to get tense sometimes.  But I don’t ever plan on sending her back.

So, eventually after hearing her explanation, I replied, “You’re right that it will be different, but I don’t plan to send you back.  How do you know you won’t want me anymore?”

“Well…I don’t know.  I know I’ll want you.”

“Good.  Sometimes I don’t know how I know either, but I know I want you.  I just know.  We will work together at being a family, and we will be ok together.”

Overall, we’re bonding just fine, I think.  We have moments of light discipline, but we talk about why there is a need for it.   Today in order to just be a little more real, we’ll do brunch and lay low most of the day.  We started reading our huge novel out loud last night and watched cartoons for a while.  I have a day and a half left with her; less is more at this point.

Hope will give me great big challenges.  Some aspects of how she moves through the world seem to suggest she’s more like a 5 year old, while others clue me in on the fact that she wishes she was older like 16 or so.  We spent an hour at the touch pools in the aquarium as she touched everything she could, like a little kid (she was the biggest kid at the touch pools most of the time).  She has moments of hyperactivity that are somewhat exhausting.  Other times when she’s just a tad withdrawn, and I have to make a decision to draw her out a bit or let her be.

I hope she will have a chance to visit me before she moves, but funding seems to be an issue, so I may return to have a short weekend with her.  I think we’ll be talking every day from here on out, so we can try to hold this bond together and strengthen it.

Still learning:

  • Gift shops are the devil.  Seriously, Living Sand for $20?
  • Our sweet teeth are a problem.  We will have focus on less processed sugar and making yummy treats at home.
  • We look the part!  A cashier at lunch commented on us as a mother/daughter pair.  It caught both of us off guard, but then we smiled.
  • I am exhausted.  The quiet this morning is great, but I think I’m going to roll over and snooze a bit more.
  • My rough origami skills have improved modestly.  Origami is definitely not one of my talent gifts so I’ll stay in my lane on that.  It’s been a nice way to spend some time together.
  • I love this kid, but this isn’t going to be easy.  This isn’t a new lesson, but I am getting constant reinforcement of this lesson this weekend.  It really is stepping into a new purpose.


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