Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Appreciation: I am enough

source
Am I enough? For most of my life, I've lived under an umbrella of self doubt.

Insecure, and lacking confidence, especially in my younger days, I always felt inadequate. I lived in the shadow of my younger sister, who, as I saw it, was smarter, prettier, and more confident. As a teen, I did stupid, attention seeking things because I thought that would make me "cool". As I've gotten older, I look back on those days and cringe. What was I thinking? I have grown confident and comfortable in my skin. I've had success in my career as a nurse practitioner. And as a runner, I've performed well on the road. Lately more than ever, I feel good about myself and where I'm at in my life.

But there's one area of my life where I'm struggling, and that's as a mom. My oldest son continues to find new ways to challenge me, and even though I dole out parenting advice in my job all day long, I'm at a loss as to how to deal with him. I see teenagers in my clinic for their annual physicals, and they're participating in sports and planning for college and the future. They're pleasant and engaging. I can't help but compare them to my oldest son and all the trouble he's given us the past couple of years. While there are times when he talks with me, most of the time I can't even get a hello out of him when he comes home. It makes me sad. But to keep my perspective, my youngest son is one of those teens who's doing it right. This is a good thing because otherwise I'd feel like a total failure as a parent, instead of a partial failure like I do when it comes to my oldest son. Because parenting him has shaken my confidence like nothing else.

or go for a run...
My oldest son plays me like a ping pong ball. I know what he's doing to me, and yet I'm powerless to stop him. He tries to hurt me. He tells me I've "done everything wrong". Mothers' Day? Told me he had no idea it was Mothers' Day. Right. Last night he told me he quit his job. "I've got money saved." Tells us he's got another job lined up for the summer, but he hasn't even talked to the person who is supposed to hire him. Money aside, I'm worried about all that free time he's going to have on his hands.

Happy Mothers Day, right?
Everyone gives me advice on how to handle him. Nothing feels right, and I don't know what to do with him. It's hard for me to sit back and watch him make bad choices. I've been down that road, and I'd love to save him the pain that I experienced in my younger years. He's going to have a tough life, and as his mom, I don't want that for him. But I say nothing and worry and watch. He's going to have to figure it out for himself. Like I did. Clearly, he doesn't appreciate having me in his life. It's hard for me.

Don't we all thrive on appreciation? Why is it that even though I hear all day long from my patients and their parents how much they appreciate me, it means nothing when I hear my son tell me everything he's said to me in the past 6 months has been a lie? He actually admits to trying to upset me. It's a good thing I get positive feedback from my job. And all that success I've had on the road this year? Small potatoes compared to the way he makes me feel. This guy is kicking my ass every chance he gets. There's an old adage that says no one can make you feel bad without your permission. Whoever said that must not have been a parent of a teenager. I don't let him know he's getting to me very often, because I don't want to give him that satisfaction. I just try to be supportive without pushing him away. It's a difficult balance. I want to throttle him. Instead I just zip my lip and cry a little inside.

What he thinks I'm like...
I try to give him his space. I resent the role I'm playing in his life right now. I still have to take care of him. I feel like his punching bag. Is it wrong for me to feel a sense of relief when he heads out the door to school? Or when he goes to work? Besides knowing where he is and that he's safe, when he leaves, there's peace in my house. When he's gone, there's no heavy metal blaring from his room, no sweet smell of those damn e-cigs that he smokes--don't judge, I have to pick my battles--just to bug me, I think. I find myself actually taking deep breaths (not just because the air is clean) and relaxing tight muscles when the door closes behind him.

Feeling unappreciated and that I'm not mom enough, I head out the door for a run. My music plays in my ears, and now that I'm done racing for a while, I get to just run. The familiar route through my neighborhood and the tunes that I listen to so often allow me to run mindlessly, alone in my thoughts. My legs feel loose and I look up at the sky, feeling appreciative that I have running in my life. And as I run, I remind myself that I am enough. I appreciate that running gives me confidence, that running makes me realize that I am enough--not only on the road, but off the road too. I'm good at my job, but I don't think I would be as good at it if I didn't have running to boost my confidence in myself. I remind myself that I'm a good mom, no matter how much my son tries to convince me otherwise. He just doesn't see it right now. He's trying to find his way. I get that, and I remind myself of that frequently, no matter how much he hurts me. I only hope that someday he will look back and appreciate all that I've tried to do for him. And also realize that I am enough. And I hope that one day he will come to the realization that he is enough as well.

I don't know where this quote originated. If you do, let me know so I can give credit. 

Are you enough? What makes you feel appreciated?

This week's #dishthefit and Wednesday word link ups overlapped for me. So I'm linking this post up to both. I'm looking forward to see what everyone else is saying!





71 comments :

  1. I have three younger brothers and all three of them treated my mom the way you are describing! They are now all in their 20s and 30s and have a much better relationship now--I just remember those teenage years being HARD for her. You are enough! Keep your head up and just think of it as a very long stage he's going through (probably the least pleasant--sounds a million times worse than the terrible 2s) I have four kids of my own so I know these days are coming <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for telling me this. I see signs that maybe this will pass...and then he pulls the rug out from under me. Parenting is not for the weak!

      Delete
  2. I was 20 when I found out I was pregnant, the thought of becoming a Mom scared me to death! It has been a tough job and I have had to learn and accept a lot. They do come around and they do appreciate who you are, don't change! That part of your character they are watching. Now if I could gain that confidence in the wife department I would be set, but today we are deciding, I am enough and moving on! Happy Tuesday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I'm ok in the wife department...I think! Boy this parenting thing is HARD!

      Delete
  3. I don't have experience in this department (yet), but it sounds like you're doing all that you can. Your son will eventually appreciate all that you've done for him. Just remember that he's at a stubborn age (trust me, I deal with teenagers on a daily basis as a high school teacher).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep telling myself that! Some days are better than others.

      Delete
  4. This was hard to read. As a parent I can only imagine how hurtful your son's behavior is and how helpless you feel. It's so very hard to watch kids make decisions and life choices that you know will come back to bite them later. Parenting is such a test. I'm glad you have running to take these issues out on the road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I have running--my job--my friends to keep me realizing that I am enough. It's pretty hard, for sure.

      Delete
  5. Back to back reminders that I am enough! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sista, you are more than enough! I take huge comfort in the fact that my 1st one turned out fantastic, after the typical teenage transgressions. The 2nd is the easiest. Such a pleasure to be around and wants to go to vet school. The 3rd? OMG. MOODY and unhappy most days. I say he's just like his Dad. LOL. I fear he will be the biggest challenge. Just love them no matter what...and they will appreciate you one day! And keep running!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love him so much that it hurts! I think this is why I'm hurting so bad. And I don't want things I do or say now to damage my future relationship with him, when and if he comes to his senses. Talk about walking on eggshells!

      Delete
  7. So sorry you're having such a tough time with your son. Remember he's his own person, and although parenting can help kids learn to make good choices, ultimately there's a lot of things that come together to make him who he is. You're a great mom and I know he'll grow to appreciate that as he gets older.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hopefully something will soon click for your son and he will begin to appreciate how blessed he is with family that cares so much. I understand the struggle, my son who is older, is battling depression and some other issues and it's heartbreaking to watch. I tried, but often wonder why wasn't the happy life we tried to give him enough. I work in a high school and see a lot of teens come to visit completely different a few years after HS, there's hope!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder that same thing! We all do the best we can, right?

      Delete
  9. This is a tough one. I don't often feel like I'm "enough," but that's my own self-esteem issue rearing its ugly head; I don't lack for appreciation, thankfully. My husband is always very thankful for everything I do (as am I of him) and my co-workers are very appreciative. The kid part is way out of my league; I don't have children and I was horrible to my parents. I don't appreciate them and I'm SURE they don't appreciate me, either - ha! You're a great mom because you actually care about what he's going through and still feel a need to take care of him, even though he's acting like an ass. Don't give up...he'll come around; it just may take longer than you'd like!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there's that self esteem thing for sure. And I can't believe you were ever horrible to anyone--you are so kind and thoughtful!

      Delete
  10. I feel for you as a fellow mom and as a teenager who gave my own parents such a hard time. I didn't actually realize it until I turned 36 years old how much of a jerk I was. At 36 years old, my mom had a 16 year old. I remember that day turning 16 and realizing that I'd have NO idea what to do with a 16 year old either. I stopped blaming my parents and realized that I wasn't helping either back then. I think you are doing the right thing. Be there for when he decides he needs you, be there behind the scenes when he doesn't. You may not get a thank you for years or understanding ever that you were just doing the best and the most you could. But know that you did enough and are enough! Hugs to you, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom was 20 when she had me, and I don't think I stopped blaming her for all my problems until I was in my 30s too. Isn't that terrible?

      Delete
  11. Such a great reminder to accept and love ourselves...and not always question or criticize.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm so sorry about the struggle you are going through with your son. It sounds like you are doing everything right, and as hard as it is, he does have to make his own mistakes and learn from them. It is terrible that he tries to hurt you emotionally, and I sincerely hope he comes around and realizes that what he is doing isn't right or fair to you. Please keep reminding yourself that you ARE enough. You are more than enough! You are an amazing, strong, passionate woman. You are an athlete. You are a role model, and you are a wonderful mother!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like to think all of those things, but I am really being tested these days!

      Delete
  13. oh, sweetie! First, thanks for sharing and the reminder. I am going through a horrible, irreparable falling out with my family and have just had to make the decision to move on with my life. I can no longer carry my burdens and their issues. I am so sorry for your struggle and hope you have a better outcome. I can empathise with your running, too. I run the heck outta stressful days. Hugs!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry about what's happening with your family! That's so hard. You're wise to move on and take care of yourself. Hugs!

      Delete
  14. I am so sorry darling and all I can do is send some prayers of support to you. You are enough! Love and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, Wendy... I'm so sorry you are going through such a rough season of parenting! I really have no idea what to say because I'm not there yet - we are just entering the toddler years and, heck, even toddler parenting stresses me out some days!

    The experience I do have is from being a teenager myself (quite a few years ago!)... and I do hope that your son will realize how much you have done for him when he gets older. As a newbie in the journey of parenting, I have a whole new appreciation for my mom (and dad) and for all they put up with in raising my brothers and I. It's so easy to take your parents for granted until you are a parent yourself.

    Hang in there and dwell on the good (Philippians 4:8). I pray that your son will have his eyes opened to realize how blessed he is to have a loving mom like you!
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read somewhere that 17 is the new terrible 2s. And I believe it. If you can weather the storm of toddlerhood, then you're prepared for the teen years. Right. Thanks for your kind words!

      Delete
  16. So many hugs, Wendy. Parenting is hard as heck, and I know it might not seem like it now, but he will look back and see that you were there and never gave up, no matter what he threw your way, and he will respect and appreciate it. I know he will.

    Being a parent is the most wonderful and the most thankless job. There is no manual, no way to know if we're doing it right or screwing it all up. We just have to do the best we can and hope that it's good enough.

    You are certainly enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I have a life outside of my family because this would surely break me. Instead, I'm just hanging on for the ride...

      Delete
  17. Oh Wendy, the struggles with your son sound so emotionally taxing. I can't imagine how hard it must be sometimes. You are enough and you are doing a good job. Unfortunately some people just have to learn the hard way. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never expected this! Thanks for all your support.

      Delete
  18. I am so sorry how things are going down. My son is 5, and the idea that he could treat me like that when I am older, is so hard to accept. But, you are doing an amazing job. You are an amazing mom and person, who has every reason to hold her head high. A mom friend of mine takes her kids on occasional hikes, because on the way down, they are so tired, all the juicy info starts spilling out - she uses it as a way to get to the deeper things they usually don't talk about. Maybe there is something like that for you guys. I thought it was a really clever idea. But, just know we all support you, and understand that there is only so much that you have control over. And, how you use your running time is perfect! Thanks for sharing such a deep part of your life's story. Much love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know when my boys talk to me? When we're in the car, driving somewhere. It's so weird, but it works. My oldest drives himself places, so we don't get as much opportunity to talk, but when we're in the car, it works like a charm.

      Delete
  19. I don't have any parenting advice for you, but I certainly have a virtual hug! I was not a troublemaker exactly, but I'm pretty sure I gave my mom every grey hair on her head when I was a teenager and young adult. I totally understand wanting to protect your child from making the same mistakes you did! But then again, I also remind myself that I turned out pretty awesome in spite of some very sketchy years, so I'm sure my kids will, too. :)
    All you can do is your best, mama!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs are accepted! Thank you and thank god for running!

      Delete
  20. So sorry about all of this, Wendy. :( I still have about a decade to go before I deal with the teenage years. But for what it's worth, whenever I read your posts about your struggles with your son, I feel your frustration but I am also impressed by your strength and resolve as you work through these issues. The thought of one of my sons treating me like this in 10-12 years makes my heart break, and I can only imagine the pain it causes you. But you soldier on. And I have to believe he will appreciate your unwillingness to give up on him one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so funny, because there are days where I know he appreciates me, and I bask in it. And then he turns on me...when I wrote this post, a few days ago, it was so raw and painful. The last couple of years have been difficult. I'm hoping he turns it around.

      Delete
    2. I hope you can hang on to the thought that his negativity is not ever-present. As hard as it is to deal with it, believe me, I know it is, the fact that he does appreciate you and allows himself to show it at times is a sign. You are perhaps the safest person to push to the limit. It's a test to see if you will stop loving him if he goes too far. And, despite the rawness and the pain and hurt, of course you won't.
      Along with all the others here, I send you hugs and love. I hope the day he "sees the light" is sooner rather than later. Whenever it happens, you will be there with open arms.

      Delete
    3. I keep thinking that, that I'm the safe one, just like with toddlers, they test you because they know you aren't going anywhere. It's so very similar! I do remind myself that, but of course, some days are better than others. Thanks so much for your kind words and thoughtfulness. I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  21. Wendy you are amazingly enough and the running awesomeness that comes with hard work and believing in yourself is just a bonus. I've been truly blessed with 2 kids that did not go through terrible 2s or angst filled teen years. I won't give you advice but I will say I'm here if you ever need to just talk or vent. I'm just a phone call or a skype away.

    Much love friend. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely love your support. And I loved that you put this topic out there when you did. Writing is so cathartic for me. It's like you knew what I needed. Thank you, my friend! <3

      Delete
  22. I think our kids work a lot of us over! LOL But they will find their way. I was self conscious as a kid but as I got older I got more confident. College really helped me find my voice! My husband jokes me because he says I walk around so confident it's like I'm the main star and everyone else is just a supporting actor in my movie. LOL. He kids but sometimes I wonder if he halfway means it. I believe in confidence, just not conceit. I am having some challenges with my eldest and it is putting me through the ringer of sorts but I pray and am confident this too shall pass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, then, we are in this thing together. I really appreciate your support both here on my blog, and in the blogosphere! I'm so grateful for all the friends I've met through blogging. Thank goodness that I "am enough!"

      Delete
  23. Oh...Wendy....I feel for you! Being a parent is the hardest thing. And yes everything can be going right and you can be feeling great, and then one thing happens with your child and you feel like a failure at everything....because your most important job is being a parent! But all you can do is continue to do your best....and hopefully he will figure it out....because he has to figure it out for himself. I'm a big believer in tough love and not being an enabler....Too many parents these days are not good at that....my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you 100%--we both see it in our jobs. I've always been the "mean" mom, the tough one. But everything goes out the window when you have a rebellious teen. People that I've talked with, who were troubled teens but are now productive adults, have all told me that they are grateful their moms were tough on them. Even though they hated it at the time. I take that advice to heart.

      Delete
  24. Oh Wendy, this makes me so sad. I'm not to the teenage years yet obviously, but we are all doing the best we can.YOU are doing the best you can and I guess you just need to have faith that he will come back to you. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's like swimming and just keeping your head above water....thanks Sue. We're all in this together.

      Delete
  25. Oh man... I'm so sorry to hear the frustration. I work in youth ministry with kids that age & they definitely get that 'attitude' & its tough to get through. You're doing a great job though giving space, but being aware of the situation. Hang in there momma!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's really a tough challenge...running a marathon, definitely easier than raising teenagers!

      Delete
  26. Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful that you opened up about this! My kids have been challenging too. I know that punching bag feeling. And being told you suck as a parent really hurts. I try to remember that I am being the best parent I know how to be, and hoping that some day they will appreciate that, even if they disagree with the choices we made. I hope you have support as you go through this and I do hope he comes around soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just really great to know that I'm not alone; that other moms are going through this as well. I'm just hanging on for the ride...

      Delete
  27. Hugs mama! Motherhood is SO SO SO hard!! You are not alone. YOU ARE ENOUGH!! :) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so nice to know that I"m not alone. It's so hard!

      Delete
  28. I read this an struggle to understand. Wendy I may be on the other side of the fence but I see.......a strong woman, a dedicated mother, a kind person, a fierce runner, a confident mind, smart, unique, fun, lovable gosh I could go on and on. It may just be words but I hope I lift you up today. I know the struggle is real with your family but I promise later when you look back this is such a short amount of time in your life and I do fully believe your boys will come around. Keep you head above water your not sinking yet! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I read this an struggle to understand. Wendy I may be on the other side of the fence but I see.......a strong woman, a dedicated mother, a kind person, a fierce runner, a confident mind, smart, unique, fun, lovable gosh I could go on and on. It may just be words but I hope I lift you up today. I know the struggle is real with your family but I promise later when you look back this is such a short amount of time in your life and I do fully believe your boys will come around. Keep you head above water your not sinking yet! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thanks for all that! You make me feel good! I'm glad I have so much good in my life to offset what's happening with my son right now. I"ll tell you, parenting is not for the weak!

      Delete
  30. You are enough, and don't forget it! It will get easier as your son matures and realizes (and is willing to admit) all that you do for him. Hang in there!

    Thank you for linking up!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I agree with what Tricia said above. I see you as a strong woman and mom. I am a new mom and I'm already fearful for the teenage days but just know that it's a phase and it will pass. YOU ARE ENOUGH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Lots of ups and downs with motherhood--I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I sure am glad I have running to get me through the tough times!

      Delete
  32. What a beautifully vulnerable post; thank you for sharing this story with us. Hang in there! As a runner, I can relate to the freedom and confidence that it provides. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggled with sharing this because it was so personal, but I think that it illustrates why we need to have more than just our role as mom. We need to feel that we are enough, and running helps me achieve that.

      Delete
  33. Love this post...I struggled with an eloquent response, but have been feeling less than enough myself these days in many areas. Maybe that's why this hit me so hard.
    You are more than enough my friend...I hope you know how special you are. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raising teenagers has shook my self confidence like nothing else in a long time! I know you understand. We're in this together.

      Delete
    2. I'm always here...if you need to cry, laugh, vent, scream, whatever. I empathize, and had a nice cry in the shower just tonight...xoxo We're in this. Together.

      Delete
  34. Late to the party..... (sorry, I have been up to my eye balls in graduation "stuff"). I wish I could give you a big hug (over a big glass of wine) in person. Kids are tough to figure out, especially once they hit the teen years. I often wonder if kids try to challenge their parents as a means to level the field....they don't want to see their parents fail per se, but they want to see their parents' imperfections...to be reassured that their parents aren't "perfect" so it's OK that they aren't "perfect" either (????). It's hard to keep your composure when they are beating us down, not knowing if we should let them see how strong we really are, or if we should just be real and let them see the hurt. Catch-22, huh! You have a gut for a reason, and it's always best to follow what your gut is telling you to do. You are perfect in being real, keep your chin up! ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, we need to plan that glass of wine...how long are you going to be in town this summer?

      Delete
  35. I'm sorry you have to go through this. But none of that makes you a failure as a mom. In fact, reading this, I think you're a great mom. I also have two sons, one of whom has ADHD and presents plenty of challenges. I worry about him getting older and getting into trouble. He's only 10 now. Many adults don't understand why he behaves how he does and don't even try to hide their dislike for him. They think he acts that way on purpose. The one benefit for me is that I'm very understanding of other kids with challenges - and the suffering their parents go through. You sound like a great mom to me.

    ReplyDelete