Since I’m dishing out So-Called Mom real life lessons like candy, I’d like some advice myself. I mean, I don’t pretend to be an expert on….well, anything. Heck, I’m just a So-Called Mom. I realize since we are creating a network of sorts, I may as well tap into your expertise.
One of my kids is not like the others. I know….all moms say that, but it doesn’t make it any the less true. Or challenging. She’s just…different. For example, she’s so detail oriented, it gets the better of her. It means she often misses deadlines for schoolwork, because she’s fixated on also turning in the extra credit work – leaving the entire assignment too late and useless to turn in. Other times, she can be so spacey, she forgets some key fundamentals. It means more days than I’d like to admit where she has been left behind (at home, at the movies, at the mall). Or evenings when she’s meandered downstairs asking when dinner is going to happen, as I’m loading the dishwasher. Sweetie, dinner was three hours ago. It’s not like I don’t shout Dinnertime! And it’s not like we have it at ever shifting hours every day. If someone doesn’t come, I assume they aren’t hungry.
And here’s the other lesson: I can’t go around the house yanking everyone’s earbuds out making sure they’ve heard me. It’s like, you have a clock on that phone in your hand and a stomach. Those two things should signal when it’s time to eat! But I digress.
She also can go from zero to ninety over inconsequential moments like someone taking her mechanical pencil or laughing because her shoes are on the wrong feet. And I wish I could say all of this was hormonal (she is 12 after all), but she has always been like this. Or maybe she’s more like me than I realize.
We all say that she could be anything she puts her mind to: neurosurgeon, supermodel, musician. But there’s the rub: she doesn’t put her mind to anything long enough to catch and become her thing. She is out there, floating in space, but with no gravitational pull—at least nothing I have seen. She wants to do it all, and certainly could—but there is nothing that fuels her—that makes it so she eats, drinks and breathes gymnastics, or tennis, or animation or, or, or…And did I mention she is her own roadblock? Unlike with Leopold, where it seemed it was me who had to get out of the way, if MJ could get out of her own way – and stop meditating on everything, she’d soar.
Anyhow, I’m hoping you can help me out here. Should I be worried? Should I let her find her way, essentially leaving her be/letting her fail/letting her discover who she is? Or should I intervene? I think my biggest fear is that she will feel unsupported – already I’ve got 6 other kids and a husband to juggle. She often feels like the neglected one. Which I think is every mother’s fear. I feel like our girls learn to be strong women from us. They ultimately learn how to be treated in the workplace, and by their spouses and their own children from us too. We teach self respect, integrity and grace by demonstrating it well and um, just as important, also not demonstrating it well at all.
This likely bugs me, because she reminds me of myself. I always call her mini-me: darling, yes but also defensive and stubborn as hell. And she’s a perfectionist…to the point of inaction. Should I be steering her clear of the bumpy road that I’ve lived? Or should I accept it and invite her along for the ride? Should I challenge her, I mean really push her? What do you think she is craving so she can get her butt in gear and realize her true potential? How do I discover what rocks her world she she can make something happen and start to build some real confidence and passion?
So what do you say, Moms? Anyone have a clue what to do?