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A Single Parent Rant

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Oh how I love those who have the guts to be left leaning but also politically incorrect!!! 

I'm there wth you. I should have never had kids. Yet I had my first at 17, somehow having visions of him growing up with garlands of flowers around his blond head and listening to the birds chirping as we walked off into the sunset surrounded by all of our terrific altered-counciousness friends who love him as much as I do. Yeah rigth.

Unlike you, at seventeen I was way too young to put my wild days behind me. I did good while they were babies (save the pospartum depression- to rival The Exorcist- with the first one) because I love babies. But they grow up. And I don't like toddlers or snotty children that much...even my own. I love them. But, well. I often don't like them, don't like myself, and especially don't like the part of myself that I see in them. Adorable they are, smart, beautiful. But demanding. I find kids are much harder to handle when not babies, contrary to popular wisdom.

I am bipolar. My eldest is....bipolar, yey. My youngest (born when I was 21, cause I missed 3 days of my pill) is a princess of a girl, thank god cus I could not have made it even this far if she was like her bro. My hubby ( living apart from me at the moment) is half sane, but has addiction issues. He was a great help when we still lived together, but not enough. My kids are in foster care for now (the last 6 months) and I am figthing to get them back...and really scared of succeeding.

A lot of pain would have been avoided if I had not had them. On the other hand I guess I would have missed out on a lot too, but...

Yey. They should fix (us I had to figth nail and tooth when I got it done at the ripe age of 22!). Or at least warn us. But, in my defense, I didn't know then that I would turn out to be THIS CRAZY.

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Well, it's kind of hard to know what to say to a rant. I must say it was a very good rant though!

The way I look at it, is this: you can't really compare yourself to any other mom. 'Cause June Cleaver hasn't had the life you have had. She was never dealt the cards that you are left holding. You are YOU, and have managed to get two kids to almost-adulthood and almost-adolescence (respectively) on your own, in spite of your own problems, and that is what is important. That is what makes you amazing in spite of the frustration and pain and "get off that fucking thing"s.

And the parenting thing DOES suck sometimes. To put it mildly. Forget the romanticized pictures of immaculate mothers wearing pearls while they vacuum. It just doesn't happen in real life, even for people who are not MI. There's a reason why Leave it to Beaver, and even Roseanne, were not "reality" TV.  ;)   (Not that even "reality" TV is particularly realistic but, you know what I mean).

Yeah, it would be just super if your youngest would buck up and cooperate with you, but if he won't, and it's getting to be too much stress, then I'd tell him he has to go back with the sheep. I don't blame you for wanting better for him. But you are right, it has to come from him, too. Not every kid can handle home school. Not every PARENT can handle home school. And there's nothing wrong with that, IMO. Maybe it would be better for him when he is older and more mature.

If I am doing the math right, he's what, 10 or 11? At his age, he may still need more structure than what you're giving (academically speaking). He may not be able to handle calling the shots on his own. I apologize if you've tried this already, but I will throw it in anyway, just in case: Why don't you try drawing up a schedule for him, with set hours for studying and etc. Make sure he has a separate area for doing his schoolwork, away from TV, sick brother, and distractions. Give him an assignment to do, make sure he understands it, and tell him he has a certain amount of time to do it. Tell him that he is only to get up to ask you a question or use the bathroom. Then walk away. Come back when the time has elapsed.

Now, in any classroom setting, there is discipline if the teacher sits down and looks up later to see one of the kids goofing off or away from their desk without permission or etc. You should not necessarily discipline him for not completing an assignment in time- maybe he was having trouble or didn't have enough time. But you should at least see evidence that he has done some work on it and wasn't sitting there playing around. Otherwise, he has to pay the consequence. This works really well if you make up a cool chart of "offenses" and suggested consequences WITH HIM. Let him be the one to suggest what should happen if he does not do his work when he is supposed to, or if he doesn't start his work when you tell him to. This can also work for other types of behavior, btw. It is also harder to argue later if he ends up needing to pay one of his consequences- if he had input as to what it was, and clearly knew what it was going to be, what is he really going to say? Even 10 year olds can come up kind of short on this one.  :) It also helps to have not just consequences, but incentives as well. Go a week without arguing about starting school, and get at least 8 out of 10 assignments completed, and <fill in incentive here.>

But, if you try this, you have to be consistent about it. And that DOES mean that initially, you will have to be on his back after EVERY individual assignment to make sure he is completing them.

Then once he's to the point where he is working without having to be goaded or disciplined, you can give him more to do in a larger frame of time without feeling like you have to "hover" after each assignment. As his "teacher" you should try to be accessible to answer questions, of course. But he should be able to do at least some reading and answering some questions on his own without you having to push him into it. He is old enough that if you tell him to start working, it is TIME to start working- it should not be a huge fight every day over it, any more than it would be if it was time for him to get on the bus.

Well, just an idea for you?? Again I'm sorry if you've heard this one before and it's of no help to you now. I've seen it work wonders before, though. Sometimes kids just need that clear framework to give them a little "push."

A last word about His Holiness (LOL!): he's 17. That look of disgust? You'd be getting it even if you WERE June Cleaver. 'Cause somehow I'm doubting that your son's name is Wally.  :P

Hang in there, HB. You are doing a better job than you think. Please stop beating yourself up about every difficulty your kids have. It is NOT all your fault because you're their mom or because you're a single parent or because you're MI or because of YOU, period. There are problems in EVERY kid's life no matter how polished and perfect Mom is. It is part of being human. The important thing is, you're trying, you care, you're doing the best you can. Let's face it, if you were as crappy a parent as you seem to think you are, that wouldn't be true. And the fact that you are posting your awesome rant here is proof.


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Hey Honkingbird...I am total agreement with Faith...I tried homeschooling my kids for 2 years...my son was kindergarten/1st grade...daughter was preschool/kindergarten...IT WAS HARD!!!! My daughter took to homeschooling quite well, academically...but socially she craved the attention and friendship of other children. My son couldnt grasp reading or math...nomatter what I did...nomatter how simplistic I tried to make it...and I didnt have the ability, the patience, the degree in teaching, to try and help him in areas where he was needing this extra help. PLUS there was my constant battles with my health, my epilepsy, which was in the way...I put them in school...and I feel I made the right decision.

If you choose to keep homeschooling him, I know in my town there are support groups and meetings for parents who homeschool....there are even feildtrips, and dances for homeschooled kids. You might look online for info on stuff like that in your area.

Dont worry about being the perfect parent, noone is perfect...and youre fine...everybody gets stressed.

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