The other day, when we were in Tahoe, Maya was trying to pick out a t-shirt as a souvenier, and this t-shirt had to be SPECIAL, because she was getting one for herself, and a matching one for her BFF, Jackie. I noticed that the one she had picked was an adult size (they didn’t have any kids shirts), and it looked kind of long…a huge NO in the book of Maya. So, I pointed it out to her, and she got mad. And snippy. And rude. Which escalated into a fight, in which we told her that she has every right to feel picked-on and angry, but she does not have the right to be rude and snippy to her parents.
Fast forward two days. She’s trying to decide between beginning band or another elective (there are only two choices in 6th grade) for middle school, and I’m afraid to open my mouth with an opinion. Of course, now she REALLY wants my opinion, and a little guidence from her mama. So, I finally told her what I thought, which was that band is available every year, whereas this other elective is a kind of survey class of electives, and is only available to 6th graders, so it might be more fun, and she can take band next year. She was thankful for that opinion, and signed up for the survey class.
Does anyone else feel like you’re constantly walking this tightrope? Wondering when your opinion will be welcome, and when it will be seen as criticism? When your child needs you to BACK OFF, and let them make their own decisions, and when they need you there, to be a mama and guide them through? And I wonder, do mothers of boys have these same issues? Early seperation, perhaps? Or Dads? Or is it just the mother/daughter relationship that manifests itself this way?
The thing is, I remember all too well being in her shoes. I grew up without a father, so I don’t know how that would have been similar or different, but I do remember, painfully, the pre-teen years of insane hormones, and thinking every comment my mother made was one of criticism, that she thought I was ugly, stupid, annoying, whatever (mostly because I thought these things about myself, and I was projecting my frustrations). Talking to her years later, she said these times seemed to come upon us the most in the few days before she started her period – so I’m sure the estrogen in the house was way out of whack – and that may well be happening here as well.
Remembering those times, the self doubt, the frustration, and the assurance that I was a crappy person in my mother’s eyes – it gives me perspective into what she’s going through…or at least, what I THINK she’s going through. I don’t want to project my past onto her, to suggest feelings that she may not be having, and somehow make it worse.
I’m telling you, being a mother? You need a safety net AND a helmet.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkRwHMa-5tc
(This song makes me think of that time…of the self doubts and feelings that went with them..Pink, Don’t Let Me Get Me)