Musings on Motherhood: Happy Mothers Day!

love and motherhood

Hi, I’m Michele and I work at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and I’m a mother and a stepmother.

Ever notice how as a parent you find yourself doing things that your mom or dad did? I remember how my mother used to come home from work and immediately start tidying up — and scold us for leaving our stuff scattered all over the house. It bugged me then, but now that I’m a working mom, wouldn’t you know it — I do the same exact thing!

And, of course, now I see my kids acting just like me. Sigh.

Being a mom is not without its challenges, to say the least. Here are four struggles I face:

1. My kids have questions about my past substance use. When my kids asked me if I ever smoked pot I was reluctant to tell the truth — because I know they think marijuana use is “no big deal.” I’m afraid that if I tell them I experimented with it as a teen, they’ll take that as a green light to use it themselves.

2. Sometimes my kids take their frustrations out on me. My children seem to have a really hard time when life throws them a curve ball and they often lash out at me. Science shows their difficulty controlling emotions is due to their developing teen brain. So, I try to build a strong bond and be there for them during tough times.

3. I don’t like some of their friends. Because teens want desperately to fit in, they sometimes end up in the “wrong crowd.” Sometimes it feels like the more I push my kids to stop hanging out with the bad apples, the more they want to be with them. Forbidden fruit, I guess. I try my best to set boundaries and help my kids develop healthy friendships.

4. It’s hard to strike the right chord as a stepmom. I always try to remember that my stepkids didn’t ask to be in this situation and it’s sometimes difficult for them. I love my stepsons as members of my immediate family and connect with them — and I know they love me too — but I never try to pretend I’m their mother. I think they respect me for it, and they know that my parents were divorced when I was a kid, too — so they know I understand what it’s like.

When faced with challenges, sometimes it’s helpful to check in with my favorite TV moms. I especially love Sarah Braverman’s character on Parenthood, because the relationship with her daughter is portrayed so realistically. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on what it’s like being a mom today and see things from the outside.

No matter where you’re at in the stages of parenting, I want to wish you a wonderful and reflective Mother’s Day.

Mother of Samantha (21) and Louie (19) and stepmother to Nick (31) and Joseph (27)

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