Do you ever feel helpless as a mother? Like no matter how hard you try you just can’t ever get things right? You’re constantly a mess. Everyone in your family seems on edge. And you just can’t get your life together? Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now. And it’s not fun.
This morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and wasn’t able to go back to sleep before my 6 a.m. alarm went off. During that time I was tossing and turning and contemplating life. And I came to realize that I can’t control every little situation involving my children anymore. They are growing up and they are in control of their actions. And that scares me a little. One could say I’m a bit of a control freak. I like things a certain way and if you don’t do them how I like them done then I do it myself because it’s easier for me to do it than to teach you. I know, it’s a major flaw, but I’ve embraced my crazy.
Today I’m feeling a bit helpless because I can’t control every little aspect of my daughter’s life anymore. She’s 14, so sure I can control some of it still, but she is going to make her own decisions and mistakes, and she’s going to have good and bad days and I can’t stop that. I have to let her out from under my wing and teach her how to fly. I know it’s time to loosen up but I just have a hard time accepting it. I have to let her have her own adventures that don’t always include me, and I have to learn to be OK with that.
I find myself stuck in the middle because my son is totally opposite of my daughter. If you’ve read my column before then you might remember he is Autistic. So I can control more of his life than I can hers. But with him it’s necessary to keep him safe and to help him thrive. I can tell him what to wear to school, I can lead him in the direction that I want him to go, and he will follow because that’s how our relationship works. But I can feel him pulling away a little more the older he gets. He’s 11, so he’s still young, but soon he will be in the middle school, and then the high school, and my controlling behavior will have to move to the side so that he can learn to make decisions for himself, rather than me always making them for him.
More and more my daughter has started to make me feel less needed. I know she’s always going to need her mom, but the dynamic is changing, and that’s scary to me. I want to be involved in her friendships and relationships, and I want to know everything, including the drama, but I need to realize that it’s not realistic to want all of that. She’s going to keep things from me and that’s OK. As long as she knows she can still come to me for anything.
I’m a hot mess. I am always running late; I seem to forget something almost every day. Today I had to drop my son off, go back home, pick up his backpack and take it back to the school because I forgot to tell him to grab it on the way out the door. Sometimes I wear the same shirt two days in a row, and don’t realize it until I’m getting ready for bed. I can’t seem to keep my house clean for anything. My laundry has been behind for years. Yet here I am, waking up every morning and trying to navigate life with a teenager and pre-teen, and at the same time trying not to feel anxious about not being needed anymore.
I don’t know how to stop this feeling of helplessness. But I do know that it will go away after a while. They say that being a parent is one of the hardest things you will ever do, and I can confirm that whoever THEY are, they were correct. So today I’m feeling helpless, but I’m hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day where maybe I will start to feel less so, and more confident in my ability to raise my children. I realize that it’s OK to be a mess at times, but maybe I can try a little harder to get my life together.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.