I'm constantly told that I'm not strict enough with my kids. I'm told that they don't listen to me because they don't respect me....because I am not consistent with them and they need me to be harder on them. People tell me that I cant be a friend to my kids and be a parent at the same time. Recently I was told that I should "let my leash" out on my oldest because she needs some room. Yesterday I was told that my kids are just teenagers and sometimes they have to learn the hard way.
Seriously, my head could explode from thinking about all of this.
I agree that I am a pretty protective mom, yet pretty lenient in other areas, like letting them eat to many Popsicles. or riding their bikes into the night, and staying up late on the weekends, and sometimes (shhhhhh don't tell anybody) letting them eat cereal for dinner and then ice cream after that. I'm all for having fun together as a family but when it comes to other things like...letting my fourteen year old be alone with a boy, or letting the kids go into strangers houses, or crossing a six lane street on a bike, or have to much free time or unsupervised time while I'm at work, or going into strangers houses....that's when I get very very protective.
Why am I protective? I believe that children should be able to make mistakes naturally and then live with the consequences. But what if one of the girls were to fall pregnant at twelve or fourteen? Who gets to suffer those consequences? ME!!! Of course they are the ones that have to carry the baby, but they are under age and so me and their father get to deal with the extra cost and emotional expense. Or what if, per say, one of them becomes addicted to drugs? Who gets to deal with all of that drama? Well, they get to deal with the addiction but I have to deal with the other stuff that goes with it like taking them back and forth to counseling and the doctor and possibly a rehab clinic. I don't have time for that mess!
In my head it just seems simpler to not allow those addictions and temptations to take hold of them by not giving them the opportunity to even experience them. Some may say that its part of growing up...but I disagree. I made it through my whole life without having to "experience" drugs or sex at a very very young age. I think its ok NOT to do those things yet still experience life in other "safer" ways.
On the other hand, it has become nearly impossible to keep track of every waking moment my children have. I have tried and tried to keep account of all their activities so as to prevent the early pregnancies and drug temptations. I have literally driven myself crazy trying to keep everyone in this little shell. I am simply exausted.
How do I find a place that feels comfortable, yet still keeps the kids safe and accountable? How do I lay down the rules and feel positive about it? Im certain Im not the only parent that has these insecurities or struggles. The difference with me is that I dont have a husband to talk over things with and make decisions with. I find myself just living out of fear that my kids are going to get pregnant or do drugs and then as a result not live healthy productive lives. I cant keep my eye on all four of them at all times when Im responsible for getting dinner ready and paying the bills and bathing a four year old, and cleaning up the house, and keeping the laundry current, and keeping food in the house, and holding down a forty hour a week job, and keeping the kids in church.....sigh!
I need a husband....or maybe a part time nanny....or just some encouragment!!