You Are Not Alone

Your son didn’t do his homework. Again. And he lied about it. Again. And he spent your 2 dollars in change from the book fair on sugary snacks at lunch instead of bringing it back home to you as instructed. And you think to yourself, “What am I doing wrong?”

“He knows better. I’ve taught him better. What am I not doing that I should be doing? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing?” What are the answers to these self-abusing questions? You want to know. You need to know. So you ask. Scores of moms. Friends. Teachers. Coaches. Your own mother. –After heaping upon her apologies for your own childhood behavior. (Kind of like putting salve on a scar.) And here’s the little nugget of truth they all share with you. Nothing. You are doing nothing wrong.

They are kids. They are boys. They are girls. They’re 6. They’re 9. They’re 13. They are not perfect. (No matter how much you may want them to be.) They will challenge your authority, push your buttons and generally make you question your parenting skills. And your sanity. Because they can. And that’s good! For them AND for you. They learn their limits, dabble with independence and personal growth and learn right from wrong. You give yourself a generous dose of introspection, devise new ways of doing things and teaching lessons and come up with solutions to save you both from yourselves.

And all these other moms have a great deal to offer. Stories of their own experiences and struggles with motherhood, childrearing and guilt trips. Some leave you feeling better. Some worse. Sometimes, all these moms can offer is sympathy. Other times these co-conspirators can offer tried-and-true ideas. Rewards, punishments, heart-to heart talks, nagging, etc. Some will work. Some won’t. But you’re willing to try. Anything.

And the most satisfying –and perhaps, liberating– realizations you will (hopefully) walk away with are these: You are normal. Your kids are normal. And best of all: You are not alone.


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