My senior school kid has been back at her girls’ prison camp for a few weeks and I’m already suffering. One day I had a beautiful child, the next the HSC devil dragged her away and left a lovely ‘personality’ in her place. Part way through Term 1 the pressure of big exams is already driving me crackers, so I’m starting a therapy group for mothers of HSC students.
Hello I’m Lou and I’m going through HSC stress. Symptoms include cranky cat’s bum face, lethargic dinner making, chocolate eating, bitching and moaning during over long phone calls with other mothers, slovenly housekeeping, delusions and fantasies about holidays.
My week looked like this:
Revolting moody child, homework piled up.
Revolting moody mother, work emails 30% finished
Coffee drinking, insomniac mother reading celebrity crap on internet until small hours
Under eating daughter
Over eating mother
Beautiful sunny child woman (weekends only). Highlight of week: 85% for essay mother helped with despite the tears. Mother calm.
Sunday nights at 5.30pm
Tearful tantrum throwing mother, only 61 pages of homework to finish.
I’ve had to call the chardonnay support group hotline three or four times this week.
When I tell my mother about my worries, she laughs and lets me know that the karma fairy has caught up with me. In the past fortnight I’ve finished a legal studies essay, written a piece on Warhol’s contribution to the art world and discussed the origins of World War 1 all while indulging her taste for exotic foods like feta cheese and olives. I’m up late every night doing all the study I should have done for my HSC back in the dark days of the 1980s. I hope I get a good mark this time.
“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don’t mean a thing.” Toni Morrison
My eldest child has been ‘dating’, and it scares me. I’ve met some of these guys, some of them are players, some of them are nice. She is testing the waters and learning that love can hurt. This worries me because it makes me question what I could have done differently as a parent. How do I keep her from harm? How do I narcissist-proof her and my other daughters? How do I warn them away from the creeps that I fell for? How do I teach them all that falling in love is magical but they must mind the gap? The gap between the face people show you and their real self. How do I tell them that the words people say are largely a mask and that their actions speak volumes? I’m trying to teach my gals about the ‘red flags’. I saw the red flags and I chose to ignore them. I will say to my gals, if your beau has no money and you are constantly paying for everything then perhaps he can’t get his act together (I’ve read that book, I also have the T-shirt, the ruler and the DVD). That bailing your boyfriend out of every financial disaster is no way to run a partnership. And watch out for boys who are tangled in a scary Oedipal relationship with their mummies. Some mothers aren’t able to say to their sons ‘grow up and be a man Peter Pan.’ But what would I know? I’m only their mother. The lyrics to this song are the kind of rubbish I listened to (and believed) when I was a teenager. I love the Rolling Stones’ music but I tell my gals if a man ever says these words to you, run fast and do not look back. That way co dependency lies….