Sunday, June 20, 2010

parenting 101

Being a first time mother stepmother, to a teenager, comes with serious challenges.  When your children are born, you have years to get to know each child.  You develop a certain bond, you know that child, inside and out.  You've been there every single step of their way.  They're a part of you.  You made them.  Because of that you love them unconditionally.  Then later on, down the road, you might get remarried or "cohabitate" with another person that has their own children.  So you're now a parent with stepchildren.  Because you had your own children, you love your new stepchildren with a more patient love.  Because you have experience.  I have never had that.  I've never created a child to know that kind of love.  A piece of me has never become someone else, a new being.  I don't know that love.  I never will.  So my love for Justin comes only from the dream of knowing that kind of love.  It's not unconditional, because I've never know that love.  (Yes my parents show me unconditional love.  Yes I love my husband unconditionally.  But that is a different kind of love.).  Atleast it is for me.  I love him because I have to.  Not because it comes naturally or because I want to.  I've had to make myself.  It doesn't mean that I don't.  It's just hard for me.

So my parenting is all my own.  My child came to me at the age of 15.  I knew him before that.  He'd spent the night.  But he didn't move in with me until 1 month after my hysterectomy.  1 month after I lost my dream of ever becoming a "mother".  It was emotional.  It was the hardest thing I have ever had to live through.  And now I have a 15 year old teenager, attitude and all, moving in with me.  That I'm supposed to love.  And do this unconditionally, while I grieve my lifelong dream of becoming a mother. 

Hmmmm . . . . what to do.  I like him about as much as I like a roommate that I cannot stand, who's disgusting, and smelly, lazy, questions everything I say, shares my only bathroom (BOY), who's never been taught anything, ever.  (I'm not kidding, I'm speaking 100% as honest as anything I've ever said in my life.  Literally, he was never taught to do anything).  He smokes pot.  Has sex.  This is the only child teenager I'm ever going to parent.  This is my life!

Justin didn't need a parent.  He was grown and I was never going to "mother" him.  So I had to become a motherly, positive female influence, "wise" guiding friend, to my stepchild son.  I'm learning as I go.  I've already made some huge mistakes.  But in the end, my goal, is to NOT screw him up, anymore than he already is!  To accept him just as he is.  To help him make good life choices.  To make him my family.  Because he's a part of my forever family.

I'm older than you, I'm responsible for you, I pay your bills, buy your food, clean your clothes, provide a roof over your head, cook for you, etc, etc, etc.  You're going to respect me.  I'm going to respect you.  But my idea of respect and your idea of respect are completely different.  You're going to do you chores.  Which consist of washing the dishes and taking the trash out.  Period.  This is not up for discussion.  I do everything else.  This is not asking too much of you.  Period.

We have gone round and round over this subject.  I have talked, pleaded, "disciplined", taken things away, rewarded.  I've tried everything.  But I don't want him to hate me.  So I have to be the bad guy, but find a way to get through to him.  On his level.  It's been very difficult.  The other day he was asked, again, by his grandmother to wash the dishes.  The 3 of us got into it because he started giving Laura lip over not being asked nicely.  Seriously Justin?  WTF?  You live in our house, we with supply you with all the creature comforts of a home and the luxuries of being an only teenage child.  And you're going to tell us to ask you nicely?  You know this is YOUR responsibility.  Laura and I worked all day.  ALL DAY.  Laura just worked in a roach and mold infested house pulling down old wallpaper in the 100 degree heat with no air conditioning and I have a broken toe.  What did you do today?  What's that, you SLEPT all damn day?  And before that you stayed up ALL night playing video games.  And I'm supposed to ask you nicely to wash the dishes so I can stand up with my broken toe to make you dinner?  I wanted to slap his face.  I was so flipping pissed off, I was seeing red.  My blood was literally boiling and steam was coming out of my ears.  I'm almost positive I looked like something out of the Exorcist!

I left the house.  I called William.  He told me, you're his stepmother now, you need to learn to handle this Buffee.  Fine.  But I don't want any crap over my parenting skills.  Nonewhatsoever!  Justin LOVES Popeye's.  We needed dinner.  I was not cooking after all of this.  I went and bought me and Laura dinner at Popeye's.  I came home, told Laura to stop washing the dishes and to sit down and eat.  She wouldn't, said she'd feel to guilty.  Whattheflipever!  I started eating and Justin came in.  He asked for his dinner.  I told him to make himself a bowl of cereal.  (Hey, it's food, he's not going to starve).  He stormed out.  Oh well, still not feeling bad, not at all.  So a few minutes later he came back and overheard me telling Laura, if he wants what we're having and wants to enjoy the things that we enjoy, like Popeye's, then he'll learn to do his chores.  I didn't mean for him to hear that, it just worked out perfectly that he did.  He came in and told his grandma to sit down and relax, that he's going to wash the dishes.  He handed me the power cord to his PS3 and told me not to give it back to him until I'm completely satisfied with the kitchen.  And then he started cleaning.

I call this Buffee's tough love.  I did end up giving him 2 wings and made him some Cajun rice to go with it.  I'm not a complete stepmonster.  But I've had to learn that delicate balance of being his stepmother and being his friend.  It's very difficult.  It's a new adventure everyday.  But I have learned to love him in my own way.  We have a good relationship for the most part.  Atleast I think so?  Who knows?  He's a teenager.  I remember what that was like and I remember my relationship with my mother.  It is what it is, but it's ours.

Wow, I never intended for this post to be this long.

So yesterday I got up and once again the dishes were left dirty.  OMG I'm going to kill this kid!  After all of that, we're going to go through this AGAIN!  So I woke him up and told him I'm going shopping, you need to PLEASE have the kitchen cleaned and the dishes done before I get home.  This is what I came home to.

The kitchen was clean, but the dishes were dirty.  WTF?  AND there was a note on my chalkboard saying, Don't touch these dishes, I will do them!  Bitches!!  No he did not!  I forgot to snap a picture of the sign, but this was my response!

I thought once again, maybe he'll get the picture.  No such luck.  This morning I woke up to a dirty kitchen once again.  What is it going to take?  I'm at a loss for words and patience.  I sent him a text, because like every other teenager out there, asleep or not, they read their texts.  I told him he had better get his lazy butt up and get in there and have that kitchen cleaned within the hour so that I could make his father a nice breakfast for father's day before he goes to work all day.

Sigh.  It's a constant struggle.  Some days I feel like I'm failing and I'm never going to get the hang of this.  Other days I feel like a rock star of a stepmother.  

1 comment:

adrienzgirl said...

You are doing just fine. I have had all of mine since birth and I get the same shit. And I will raise you one Justin and ADD my teenager from HELL!