I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then. -Alice
I've been having a rough time with my boys. Very rough. I know they've been through a lot with the divorce, my getting a job, moving a new county, and starting a new school. I know it's been hard on them because it's been hard on me. I've been trying to be understanding, to not be too hard on them, to not put too much on them, to make accommodations. I've been trying to go easy on them. No matter what I try, things stay rough. Goofy is angry, Walter is resentful, Alex is jumping on his bed. I just couldn't figure it out.
Our counseling session last week was very revealing. Walter is mad that I am not the parent I used to be. I'm frustrated because I don't know what to do about it, there is nothing I can do. I was a stay at home mom, now I'm not. The kids were my entire world. Now I have to divide my time, manage my schedule, make time to clean house, make time for fun. I can't just blow off all of my responsibilities to micromanage their lives! They have more of what they need, more of what they want, and are asked for less than they ever were. How is it so much harder on all of us?
The counselor suggests that it may be time to re-do visual schedules. To rethink how they are paid. To supervise and follow through. And I'm left thinking about the mom I used to be.
This weekend, I got it.
Walter had an appointment with his psychiatrist Friday, there wasn't much to report. When he takes his meds, they work fine. The psychiatrist reminded me that, as the parent, whether or not he takes his meds is ultimately my responsibility.
We went to Wal-Mart on Friday night, where the Goofy child threw a fit that he wasn't getting paid until the bills were paid and groceries bought. We fought all the way through Wal-Mart. By the time we sat down to supper, I had had enough. One more gripe from the Goofy One had me snapping at both Goofy and Walter, "You want to be paid for something? I suggest you get up off of your ass and earn it. I'm not giving you money." As if I need to hand them cash to pay for the privilege of raising them. I do enough of that with the roof over their heads, the clothes on their backs, the food in their bellies, and the many games and toys that they have.
Sunday, the neighborhood kids worked really hard on a man-sized snowman and am epic bucket fort. The first thing Goofy did when he came home Monday was run and crash into it with the intention of destroying it. He lost his tablet and the PS3 for the night.
Walter refused to answer his phone. 8 times, I called that boy. This is really getting annoying because I need him to have his phone so I can call him, but he's not answering so what good is that doing? *flash of brilliance* Leaving the house together, I held out my hand, "give me your phone." "What? Why?" "Because if you can't answer me, you don't need to answer them. I may not be able to take your phone when I'm gone, but I can take it when I'm with you."
Sitting in White Castle's drive-thru, Goofy remembered that he left The Neverending Story at his dad's house. I quietly praised the Lord, and he flipped the hell out. Next thing I know, Goofy's accusingly asking me why I'm happy. I responded that it's a beautiful day and there's a good song on, then I asked him why he was happy. He said he wasn't happy and that he was very upset that Walter said I was happy that he left his movie. Why Walter has to be an instigator, I don't know. It's one of our current problems. There's a lot of whispered judgments going on lately. Sneaky, round-about discipline. Things that will tick the Goofy Child off because I don't do well enough. Goofy's banging his head, kicking and punching the back of Alex's seat. He washed Alex's chair after supper.
Tonight there was fighting over video games. Walter and Goofy ended up sitting on the couch, bored out of their minds for the whole time I fixed supper. They cleaned up the living room afterward.
As for Alex jumping on the bed... all I have is a nursery rhyme that he thinks is hilarious.
I did fix the visual schedules to fit our new life. They have to do everything on their list (including meds and chores) to earn $5 per week. Alex is a different story. He gets $5 per week because he asked for it. (Not a democracy. I can make up the rules as I go.)
I really hope Walter enjoys having his old mom back because I'm feeling good about it. I think this might work.