"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Parenting Confessions

Parenting is the hardest job I've ever done. I started with such high hopes and optimistic ideals, as I suppose most parents do. Now, 16+ years in, I often wonder why on earth I ever thought I was capable of raising another human being. What was I thinking? Me? The person whose life is hardly an example of wisdom and good choices. Good intentions just don't cut it when it comes to parenting. Wisdom, patience, compassion, time, energy, selflessness, a supportive network--a good parent has all of these things in abundance, and I sometimes feel that I'm lacking almost all of them. 

The last several months have been challenging for me and my daughter. Many in my life know the details of much of what I've been dealing with, details that I won't share here on such a public forum. I'll just say it's been an incredibly stressful, worrisome, frustrating, maddening, scary, and often tension-filled several months. Our house has not been a happy home for much of the time. I've wanted to run away from home. A lot. I fantasize about no longer being a responsible, concerned parent. I question every decision I make, wondering if the boundaries I'm setting are helping or hurting the situation. I wonder if complete indifference is the answer. Maybe if I stopped showing that I cared so much about things that alarm me, the behavior would stop. But, the thing is, I'm afraid to stop caring. It seems unnatural to ignore the red flags, step away and let the cards fall where they may, hoping for the best. And yet, everything I do is met with indifference at best, and harmful rebelliousness at worst. 

It's easy to get caught up in hopelessness, despair and blame. I know I've made many, many bad parenting decisions and my daughter has faced horrible things in her young life that have affected her deeply. Some days I want a do-over. I want to rewind the clock and have the life I planned on, the one where I have a happy, stable, successful marriage, sharing parenting duties with a loving, supportive partner. Together we raise a happy, well-adjusted, caring person. 

The reality is much messier and the issues we're facing didn't emerge overnight. There is no easy, quick solution. I recognize that I'm not well-equipped to deal with this challenge. I'm too emotional, high-strung, reactive, impatient, demanding...the list goes on. I'm worn out by 12 years of going it mostly alone as a parent, juggling the demands of motherhood, full-time work and life's many other challenges. The last five years have especially kicked my ass, and I know my daughter has paid a high price for my struggles these past several years. 

A mother's love is fierce. Is it enough? Can just loving her and ignoring everything else be enough to steer her from the rocky path she's on? Can I just love it all away--all her struggles and pain? Am I trying too hard to control the outcome? Should I stop trying so hard? Can I love my way to being a better, stronger, more patient and wise parent? I don't know the answers. I can only keep trying in my very imperfect way, seeking help and answers where I can, hoping that eventually the good I've done as her mom, and my fierce, endless love for her will outweigh my many mistakes. 


  1. Love wins. That doesn't mean there won't be heartbreak, but in the end all that remains is love.

  2. Hang in there. Every parent I know has second guessed their decisions, and we all get tired of the constant demands. It's your child, really what can we do but keep fighting for what they need....even when they wish we wouldn't. It gets better. It really does.

  3. Keicha, I hear a lot of pain and hurt and overwhelming confusion in your words and it hurts my heart to see your heart so challenged. You HAVE been through a lot in the time I've "known" you and I'm pretty darned sure from what you reveal and don't in this post that I know precious little. And that's OK. But what really matters is that you do your best, you talk with (not to), even when you're not sure you are being heard, you protect, you fight for the relationship and you trust. And most of all, you love. You will be in my heart with thoughts of healing and growing and change.


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