Not many, in my experience.
Obviously I failed the perfect parent test AGAIN this week with my latest fracas with the ADHDer. And the implications of this one, our most serious humdinger yet, were a little more serious than our usual lower-grade battles. He took his revenge to a new level this time, by posting as me on my Facebook page with the words “I am a terrible mother.’
It was (almost) funny with hindsight, (and the alternative to Rescue Remedy in the form of a good bottle of Chardy), but witheringly embarassing nevertheless. I suppose it could have been so much worse; I mean he could have posted a photo of me first thing in the morning, or that video of me doing my Dita impression after that burlesque party and way too many Mohitos on Australia Day. But nevertheless……it hurt like hell.
The message was only visible for a precious minute or so; the time it took me to remember my password under inordinately stressful conditions. Long enough for a couple of loyal friends to instantly jump to my defense, fearing presumably that I had finally lost the plot and was on the verge of a breakdown, (which I probably was, at that point). You might find it hard to believe, but I don’t really like the whole airing my dirty laundry in public thing – laundry is fine, the really ‘dirty’ stuff stays in the basket.
There’s a sisterhood of us sharing teenage hell at the moment. With the breath-taking evolution of our once ‘little’ people becoming adults, and the benefits that go hand in hand with that growth, (like them finally communicating properly, sharing humour, sharing clothes), come the complexities of learning to control developing emotions and impulsivity, to understand the consequences to actions.
Afterwards, at my debriefing with the old man, I questioned my own contribution to this new stage in the turbulent relationship I have with my son, and I realised to my horror that I was as guilty of the same childish errors of judgement as him.
Us working mums are all too familiar with the ‘getting home from work’ domestic ritual. You wearily open the door, (shattered after ten hours on the computer, after ten hours of worrying it you’re good enough, after ten hours of faking it, after ten hours of not knowing what your children have been doing in your absence).
You wearily walk into the chaos that has ensued, because it’s the school holidays and you have to work nevertheless, and you have two teenagers and a dog left to their own devices, (deep breath). The dog hasn’t been walked and is pandering for attention that you no longer have the energy to give (deep breath); music is blaring from every zone of the house; the televisions are harmonizing and the back door is open and welcoming every lonely mosquito in the neighbourhood.
The ADHDer is in your room (OOOF!), even though you’ve tried explaining to him countless times that this tiny 12sqm space is YOUR zone; he’s on your computer (BAM!), lying in your fresh new sheets (WHAMM!), and by the mound of wet towels on the carpet, he has obviously used and abused your shower, AGAIN (KAPOW!).
He looks up, oblivious to your mood and innocently asks you what’s for dinner. This is a trigger question. You know it and he knows it. You show no mercy. You tell him (spitefully) you’re making fish (purely out of consideration for his Omega 3 levels) and you watch the tell-tale signs of nausea flood his face. You are better than him at interpreting facial clues. He swallows and informs you that he WANTS ‘something nice’ (‘WHY CAN’T YOU EVER COOK ANYTHING NICE?’ is what he actually says. What, like another three bowls of Coco Pops, you think, the remnants of which are scattered over your bed?).
You start to froth and then erupt like Mount Vesuvius.
He is ill-prepared for your change in mood. His sinewy, growing adolescent body doesn’t have the experience to prepare for your verbal assault properly. He’s been in a good place all day, innocently trashing the house, while you’ve been repressed at work, building up to this outrage and resentment. Being a male and an ADHD male, he doesn’t understand your facial expressions or body language (as you frantically grab at stray Coco Pops off the bed, and forcefully kick your way though the wet towels that are getting caught up in your work stilhettos, all the while making as many tutting sounds as possible).
Bad stuff is said. Verbal bile that you know you’ll regret later, but unfortunately, you’re simply just not that perfect.
He says he wishes you weren’t his mother (ouch!), you say you wish you weren’t his mother either (childish). You are both in the teenage ring now. Verbal upper-cuts, right hooks, the match is on.
Fortunately you do have that lightbulb moment before it’s too late. There is indeed a God. For Dr Spock whispers magically in your ear somewhere in the midst of the intense heat, and the awareness that you are the adult finally kicks in.
And you stop yourself. You can’t deal with him leaving the house again, not knowing where he is. You hold up the white flag and walk away, like you should have ten minutes earlier. He storms off, huffing and puffing, you hope to calm down.
Your iphone flashes with a Facebook message. Apparently all is fair in love and war.