Tag Archives: teen daughters

Holy hell… a long summer and I’m forced to face my bullshit

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So this is how it always starts, so full of hope and beauty. Summer is finally here. I started this summer with a trip “home” to the Rhode Island shore, just me and my husband in a little cottage on the ocean for a week… all the seafood I could eat, outdoor showers, basking in the sun reading crappy books, no whining or complaining for a week. It was beautiful and I needed it.

I returned home to face the fact that I was now camp director for 2 teenage daughters for the next 11 weeks… 11 weeks of hell sprinkled with intermittent beauty, a family camping trip, the occasional minute of a cease fire between my daughters, a trip to the beach here and there (usually by myself as I ran from the house before I said something to one of the kids I would regret later). I realized many things by the end of the summer but the most important one was: the 13 year old is going to camp next summer and the 16 year old gets a job. We didn’t plan camps because we had no money to pay for them so I was trapped with 2 children who wanted to play on their phones all day and watch YouTube clips. Having 2 teenage daughters in the house together for 11 weeks was a foolish foolish plan. If they weren’t going after me they were going after each other… of course they were, duh, they are 13 and 16.

this is what it felt like:

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I just had to include this photo… my neighbor was taking a photo of our kids playing and just happened to catch this, the look on my daughters face (which is a hysterical coincidence) kind of sums up how I felt this summer.

So to add to the craziness I had been applying for jobs since the Spring, sending out resumes and going on interviews for the few places that called me in. It was a hit to my ego for sure, I mean I consider myself a competent intelligent person with a fair amount of skills to offer and it was hard to even get an interview! The Interior Design jobs I had were drying up (mostly because I am absolutely horrible at Marketing myself) and I needed to bring in some money so throughout my hellish summer I was also in constant panic about paying the bills and as all the back to school crap started I realized I had to shove my ego even further down, suck it up and apply (once again) for serving positions. I applied to 3 places and had 2 interviews scheduled about a half an hour later… So back to the Serving life I go.

I have no idea why it took me so long, well actually I do… because it’s not a “career”, because it’s not something people are proud of, because when I wait on people my own age I can sometimes feel their judgement. But you know what, I’m changing it up in my own mind because Serving for the past 15 years has allowed me to stay home and raise my kids, it’s allowed me to be the Primary Parent, it’s allowed me the flexibility to take on side projects that make my heart sing, work in my studio and make some damn art, bake cakes when the world is getting me down and take long walks through the woods with the four legged creatures whom I adore.IMG_2776

The best part is I walk away with cash in my pocket, and I’m done, no stress to take home, you work when you’re at work and then you are done and I can come home to my family. That’s not to say that waiting tables is stress free, it’s totally stressful, you never know what will happen when you walk through the door, what your customers will be like, if the kitchen gets backed up, you get seated 5 tables at once. There are a myriad of challenges and not everyone can handle the multitasking while continuing to smile and be friendly.

So I’m going to try and hold my head high, the career path 9-5 benefits kinda life will never be mine, and that’s OK, I understand that now because this life is pretty OK and I did what I had to to make it work for me and still work for my family. Because even though my summer was hellish I believe that me working a 9-5 would have made it even more so… and I’m pretty sure that my 13 year old would have burned the house down.

And now that I’ve made the decision, I’m happy… and when I’m happy I make things and when I don’t have to worry about making things to sell I can make things that make me even happier… like a sculpture of a squirrel wearing a hat and pearls.

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but you’re supposed to be the cool parents!

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Ok so maybe we’re not really all that cool because I just had to dig to find a 3 year old photo of us doing something other than a home improvement project but all in all I think my husband and I consider ourselves to be in the “cool parent” category. We still stay up too late, we still have parties, we still dress a little funky, still dye our hair… we’re not letting the fact that we’re in our um… mid forties make us grow all the way up just yet. I like to think we have a pretty elastic parenting style, we’re not too tight but there are boundaries. We’re usually on the same page so that’s helpful… our kids a more sassy toned than we would like, they are definitely sarcastic (which we have to let slide because we are a household fully drenched in snark and sarcasm), they are stubborn and like to beg and push more than we like but overall they’re pretty well behaved and let’s just say they have some spunk with a little attitude, so basically they do take after their parents.

So now we’ve raised these little beings and they’re growing up, they’re leaving the nest and staying away more and more hours of the day and you pretty much have to throw up your hands and hope for the best. I mean you can’t follow them around all day telling them to remember to say “Thank You” and “Please”, be nice to friends, respectful of teachers, wary of the weird guys who offer you money to look at your feet (yes this did happen to my 13yo). So you send them away and they start to come back with way more information then you wanted them to have (like explaining why some weird guy would want to look at your feet) and a huge case of the “blah blah blah’s parents let her”. I really fucking hate blah blah blah’s parents sometimes… what are they fucking thinking letting their kid watch American Horror Story, stay up until 12 on a school night, skip school because blah blah blah feels like it, eat mini brownie bites for breakfast, etc, etc. Why am I suddenly the strict parent? I’m sure blah blah blah’s parent do let her do some of these things, I’m sure some of it is pure bullshit blah blah blah tells her friends to be cool too. So here I am on a Saturday in a full day feud with the 13 year old on why she cannot watch American Horror Story…

“because it’s too sexual and has rape scenes”

“I know about sex Mom I’m not stupid”

“Obviously you’re not stupid and you know everything but you haven’t seen everything, seeing a woman performing oral sex is different then knowing about it”… (yes I actually got this far in this fight)

“I’ll just close my eyes when they’re having sex”

“No because you won’t be watching it”

“Mom, you always shut me down, what if it’s a reward for being good?”

“Starbucks money is a reward for being good, not letting you watch a show you’re not ready to watch and that shows graphic sex, that’s you getting what you want, which I’m assuming is the only answer you’re going to take or you’re going to be a shit head to me all the rest of the day”

and then it came, the phrase I had been waiting to hear…

“but you’re supposed to be the cool parents!”

It slayed me, in hindsight it was a well placed blow in her battle, my kid is a very strategic player and we have thought she should be a lawyer since she could talk because her arguments are usually so well thought out and damn she’s convincing, but damn this one was a clear punch in the face. So I did what any other parent would do after a day long stupid battle, I cried. She looked at me startled. In that moment I had to truly look at myself as a parent from her side. In the eyes of my daughter I am nothing but rules, do this, not that, do this, be nice to your sister, be a better friend, get good grades, go to bed, rule, rule, rule, follow, follow, blah, blah blah. So for her me being the cool parent is never going to happen, it’s impossible to have boundaries for a teen and be the cool parent in their eyes. My only hope is to keep true to myself and hope when she’s older and has kids of her own she realizes that because I stuck to my guns and had rules but still allowed her to be as much herself as I could, that I was a cool parent. I mean I let my kid go out of the house dressed like a hooker… because I’m not the parent who will control her style, I allow her to wear what she wants and I trust her to be where she says she’s going because so far she hasn’t blown my trust. So blah blah blah’s parents can say “I don’t care what her parents let her wear to school” and “just because her parents let their 13 year old go to a Rave doesn’t mean you get to”… so really I’m just another “she gets to” person for some other parent who wonders what the hell I’m doing and thinks I’m a bad parent.

But I have the proof that I’m doing something right because as the tears rolled down my face my daughter leaned forward gave me a long hug and said “I’m sorry Mommy I didn’t mean to make you cry.”