And, it kept getting worse from there

Okay, I’m allowing myself one platitude.  We’re better off than most parents of teens.

And, we are better off because we maintain such diligence. 

It ended yesterday in a rage at work.  Not that I screamed at anyone and not that anyone noticed, but I balled up my fist and smacked myself in the flat of my other hand three times, which someone likely heard.  And anyone that walked by could not have missed my bald red head, undoubtedly glowing like a beacon and surpassing the bright florescent lights.   Oh, and the people that were copied on the email.  The guy that made me so angry, his boss, and her boss.  Bad form to copy someone’s bosses boss, eh?  Yep, it is.  I’ve gone back and read it.  No bad language, no outright sarcasm.  Just a very bold and demanding request to fix a process that I haven’t been able to get anything done about for two years along with a really good suggestion for how to do that.  Tone’s not too bad.  It’s what I was feeling when I wrote it, most of which I did not convey in the final draft, that leaves me feeling regret.  I didn’t even call the process stupid.  But, just that loss of control, after so many years of working to keep my anger in check, led to a very restless night.  If regret could change the facts, they would already be different.  Given that my only choices are to live up to the mistake or to commit hari-kari, I’ve surrendered to a likely “talking to” on Tuesday.  Not the first.  Probably not the last.  I am an emotional over-achiever. 

And, please, this is not the time to tell me to let things roll off my back.  This blog isn’t about someone that can do that.  It’s about someone that can’t let it roll off his back, has to deal with what he feels, and about what he does next. 

On Tuesday, the purple tank top got worn to school, with the white sweater over it.  I found out that, despite the promise to wear the white sweater all day, it didn’t happen.  Still torn between taking the tank, or taking the scissors to the tank.  I’d gladly waste $5 on that lesson.

Wednesday, we got feedback about inappropriate physical rough housing with the boys at school.  She is a draft horse that thinks of herself as a teacup poodle and she does not realize how physically intimidating her size is and she doesn’t know her own strength.  She lacks the ability to moderate her behavior.  She’s even gotten too rough with me in play, without the ability to see that as the mistake it truly is, bearing the consequences it always does.

She’s been texting a boy from school.  A couple of boys, in fact.  Wasn’t too worried about that.  Except I found out last night that one is 18.  Rob heard the shouted “but I didn’t KNOW he was 18” that was my response to “you knew I’d been texting him” and after she’d stormed off to bed and I’d retired to our room, Rob asked “who’s 18?”  I was afraid that vein on the side of his head was going to burst when he found out. 

And, then, after we’d taken the phone for the night, another boy sent a highly inappropriate text…okay, that’s enough dirty laundry, but really, too many bad choices for one week and two parents that thought they were doing the right thing by extending the privileges that we thought she should be extended as a freshman in high school. 

Today, the phone is in lockdown.  Can only send and receive to me, Rob, the next door neighbors and my best friend; all her emergency contacts.  And, that’s it. 

The privilege of extra chores will be extended. 

I know that my reaction at work yesterday was an extension of all the feelings I’d been holding in at home.  The lack of control I feel.  The betrayal I feel.  I fought for some of those privileges she got, promising that I’d be vigilant as my half of a compromise. 

Nothing is a mistake.  Everything serves a purpose.  My release of anger, not aimed at her, because that would be less helpful than stirring up a hornet’s nest at work, itself not very helpful.  Her loss of privileges.  Yesterday’s recognition that I have to be extra careful about how I express my anger and where.

It’s actually probably a good thing that this happened in the first week of school. Now, we can get down to the serious business of ruining her life.

Like I said before, it’s what we do next that really counts. 

Be well and know that you aren’t alone.  I have you to share with and you have me. 

Parenting is damned hard.

Not living up to my expectations of myself is damned hard.



Tanit-Isis said...

Sometimes, you need to extend the privileges, let them make the mistakes, and then lose the privileges. That's part of the learning process---not a mistake on your part. Every once in a while we've had to bring the rain on our older daughter, and while the process itself isn't fun, at the end of it all she's always learned something, maybe something she couldn't've learned another way. I'm certainly hoping this will still apply when she's a teenager (which is coming very quickly...)

I guess I'm saying, the privileges (probably) weren't a mistake. Neither are the consequences. Good luck!

qltmom9 said...

I wish I could say it gets easier. It doesn't...it actually becomes MORE difficult. But, you love who they become anyhow. I appreciate your emotions (as an emotional overachiever myself). I have enough emotions for me AND my man (an engineer). LOL! I'm SO glad you love Syd SO MUCH.~


JoAnne said...

I'm so sorry! I am also a person who would let that bad work decision work at me all weekend, and it really sucks that 1. it is a weekend and 2. it is a "holiday" weekend.

My daughter is 25 now and I have been in the same place as you are now. I have used the scissors on the tank top. And I've felt the betrayal from a child. And it really sucks. Hang in there! (I already know you will.) You can do it!

Becky said...

As a parent of two boys, I am totally unqualified to address this situation! BUT, as a parent, I think raising a female in today's world is super scary, and I admire you for hanging in there when the going gets tough. I remember days when I would rather sleep in the floor at work (AAAACK!!!!) than come home and face the day's pain in the ass problem. Each day had one. I think the top would be cut up for quilting scraps in my house....but I've been known to be extreme sometimes...(Like throwing all the toys in the floor in a garbage bag because they weren't picked up after my 3 times asking). My son says to this day he still doesn't believe I did that. Bwaaaahahahahahahaaha!!!!!

Elizabeth said...

It just plain stinks when what's going on in your personal life crosses over into your professional one. I had a moment like that this week.

And I routinely don't live up to my expectations of myself.

I've said it before, but Sydney is blessed to have parents who care enough to be a part of her life, to save her from herself, to help her become the best she can be. Teenagers brains just don't work right. Just do it with love and someday when she's got her own little Sydney running around, she'll love you all the more and thank you for it.

xo -E

Marla said...

Lane, when I was raising my kids, sometimes the only thing that got me through the day is to pray they grew up and had kids of their own to be just like them!! (just a little humor to get you through another thankless day of parenting!)

Unknown said...

Going through the same thing, my daughter is the same age. Although, having 3 older boys, I let a lot of things roll off my back anymore. Every time she's mad at me, I figure I'm doing my job. Just realize, that one day, she will thank you for the great job you're doing raising her. You just have to get through the next 4 years!

Pauline said...


Pat your back! ♥ PYB, ♥ PYB, ♥ PYB!

Anonymous said...

First off, I don't have any children, so I shouldn't say anything. But I am. It sounds like you and Rob are doing a great job and I wish more parents were as involved in their children's lives.
Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

lw said...

Get out the scissors and lose the tank top. I came home when my oldest was 13, and she was watching a slasher film on our VCR-- something I'd forbidden. So I took the tape out and I broke it and threw it away. Not sure what the boy who'd rented it for her did about it.

When she does start dating, don't be afraid to card the boys and mention that you will press charges if anything untoward happens. I caught three different (young looking) men over 18 trying to date her when she was 12-14.

Keep up the good work-- she'll thank you later. We'll thank you now-- for being so vigilant and loving.

Unknown said...

Rob, I wish I could tell you something wonderful and magic and make it all go away. As you say, it is all a learning lesson. A long and hard learning lesson!

Cindy said...

You can be hypervigilant and the most caring parent in the world, but I think that teenaged girls are wired to make poor decisions. And then they make some super bad choices and finally realize that maybe Dad did know what he was talking about. As a parent, you just hang in there through the tough times, and let Syd know that you are right beside her no matter what, even if you are angry. (And I have watched enough teenaged girls to learn that the bad clothing choices seem to be the worst in the freshman year, and then get better. At least a little more coverage.) Hang in there...it's a tough age for Syd.

Coloradolady said...

In defense of Syd...was it not close to 100 degrees in Austin this week? Lane...she was HOT in that sweater!!! :-)

Oh, this is so typical of the age. SO TYPICAL. Girls are so pressured by peers at this age it is awful and it will result in poor choices I am afraid. Hang in there. One thing to remember, She knew the rules...that is why she agreed to wear the sweater in the first place, but out of sight, out of mind is what fuels teens.

My guess she is trying to find herself and fit in at the new school. It is hard for girls. But...that being said, there are right and wrong ways of doing that.

I thought that tank was cute...but cute for maybe a movie date or out to eat, something social...not school. I can't say let it roll off your back because I have had my share of distress the last couple of days myself. I am blaming it on the blue moon. Maybe that is what happened with Sydney too! ;-)

Take care...and keep doing what you do...it is important!

Carla said...

I thought the tank was cute but surprised the school didn't make her cover up or change. That was always a battle in middle school when I was an assistant principal secretary.

Don't beat yourself up for losing contol. It happens. Maybe it shouldn't have but sometimes things hit at just the wrong time.

I have a long list of when those times hit me and I lost it.

Hang in there. Have an awesome week.