There are times when I have loved being a single mother. There hasn’t been anyone to argue with about what I think is best for the kids. No one to tell me what to do or where to go. I don’t have to okay anything with anyone; their father gave up that right years ago. It is just me making decisions.
And that means it is me taking the blame, too.
Ask anyone what it is like to have a teenage daughter and they will rant on about the disrespect, the rude behavior, the attitude. I’ve talked to plenty of mothers over the last year or two–“Is this normal?” “Is she supposed to hate me so much?” “Am I really as stupid as she says I am?” Every mother nods, smiles and reassures that it’s just teenage girls; they are a force to be reckoned with.
Logically, I know that. I realize her frontal lobe isn’t developed, that teenagers generally do think the world revolves around them. I know that she is just saying it to upset me. And day after day, it does. It wears on me and I wish I had someone to hold me up when she shoots me down who could come in with a deep, masculine voice full of authority to tell her it’s no way to treat her mother.
I have friends, dear friends, who support me and remind me that it the daughter isn’t the authority and even when she makes cruel assertions, they are just the spouting of an 8th grade girl. They remind me to take deep breaths and let it roll off my back like a duck in water.
So I try. I inhale through my nose and fill my lungs, exhale slowly, purposefully through my mouth. And again. But there are days when those breaths dissolve into sobs and I ache for someone to step in, help us manage these treacherous waters. Those are the days the anger boils over at events long past, at relationships since faded and I wish more than anything that this young teenaged girl had two people to guide her. Two people who loved her and each other, to be the object of her wrath — instead of only me, alone.