I love the sound of the rain as it angrily beats on the window. It’s really calming to me. On the other side of that coin, I’m not so much a fan of the sound of the calm breaths coming from my teenage sons room at 10 in the morning reminding me that he is sleeping his life away and has no plans. It makes me want to angrily beat on the window. Or his door.
It’s not that I’m not grateful that he’s not in trouble for breaking the law. I’m very grateful for that. And I’m grateful that he’s not on drugs or drinking his life away. I’m grateful that he has graduated…early even. I’m grateful that he’s well and not suicidal or homicidal. And I’m grateful that he doesn’t hate me so much that he left the day he turned 18. So in that regard, I feel pretty successful as a parent.
On the other hand, though, I kind of feel like a failure. I have an 18 year old who is living at home. And that’s fine. He graduated early. That’s great. He hasn’t quite figured out what he wants to do with his life. And that’s OK too. But he is super lazy when it comes to doing anything that doesn’t serve his immediate needs. He likes working out so he will do that pretty much every day. When I mention getting an actual job, there are a thousand excuses. And literally every suggestion I make is met with laughter or eye rolls. Not in a disrespectful way. At least not outwardly disrespectful, but to me, it is a form of disrespect because I’ve worked really hard my whole life to make sure my kids had at the very least what they needed. I won’t say they always had what they wanted, but I will say out of the three of them, this one, my youngest, has had it better than the other two and has had way more of what he’s wanted than his siblings got. And I think maybe, I have done him a disservice by spoiling him. And I didn’t realize until recently that’s what I have done.
He’s never really had to “do” anything, but be a decent human and graduate from high school. Those were the expectations. And now that I’m throwing the expectation of “get a job and pay rent or move out” on him, he’s looking at me like I just arrived from a new planet, am speaking a new language, and trying to teach him a new way of thinking. And in a way, I guess I am.
I guess I thought I was doing him a favor by letting him be a kid as long as he possibly could. Play ball. Go to school. Have fun with friends. And don’t knock anyone up. At 18, I was raising a baby, pregnant with a second, and marrying out of convenience. I wanted more for him. I want more for all of my kids. Not that having kids ruined my life, it didn’t. It just put things on hold for a while and I wanted my kids to be able to greet life on their terms full steam ahead. But this youngest of mine, doesn’t want to greet anything until after 3 pm when he comes rolling out of the bed and into the kitchen to eat and then heads out the door to go to the gym until 10 pm and then stays up until God knows when doing God knows what so that he’s too tired to wake up at anything resembling a reasonable hour.
And I’ve tried to talk to him like an adult. But I have not enforced any rules. And so now, I’m at the end of my rope. A rope that I created. And I’m trying very hard to remedy the situation in a responsible, loving way. I don’t necessarily want him to move out and have to face the world all alone. I’m not sure I’ve even equipped him for that, looking at his behavior these days. But I do want him to be responsible and eventually be able to stand on his own two feet. And I realize all kids are different.
My daughter graduated early. Before she was even 18. The day after graduation she was practically out the door. Bags packed, full time job, enrolled in college and living on her own. She is very smart and independent. And she’s a great human.
My oldest son, well, he was pretty opposite. He, too, graduated early, but he wanted to not work and not pay rent. He wanted to sleep all day and have no responsibilities and I snapped and made him leave. And he did. And he became self sufficient and he’s not been back. He’s successful and independent. And he’s a great human.
But, again, all kids are different, and I feel like if I tried that approach with this one, it would backfire and he would never talk to me again, because he wouldn’t see that I was just trying to make him self sufficient, he would think that I abandoned him and he’s already dealing with that issue from his paternal side of the family, so I don’t want to add to that trauma. So, I’ve been weighing my options.
First, I thought, I’d take his door off his bedroom. And then for every day he didn’t want to get a job, I’d add a new takeaway. The big TV from his room. Then, maybe, I’d suspend his phone service. Then every day he came home with pictures of 5 new applications he’s filled out, then and only then, would I give him the password to the internet that I would change daily so he would be so uncomfortable that he would want to leave or at least get a job so he could pay for his own phone line. But then I thought maybe all of that was wrong and I was just being a dick because I’m angry at his laziness and I’m comparing him to my 18 year old self who was forced to grow up. And he’s done everything I’ve asked, except get a job. But he did graduate. He’s not on drugs. He’s not in jail. He has no kids. So what if he wants to sleep for the next couple months, it could be worse right?
But it doesn’t feel like it, when all I want to do is instill some kind of responsibility. So I’m working on a new plan that is not so hateful and rigid, because I know that I am totally just dealing with the monster that I have created so instead of just turning him loose, I’m going to come up with a new plan that helps him become a more productive adult and makes me feel like less of a terrible mother.