Why is My Daughter So Annoyed With Me All the Time?

My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

I understand how she feels. After all, I was once 19 years old. I remember it very clearly.

Everything my mom did, I found unbelievably annoying.

I’ll never forget sitting with her in the car, getting ready to shop at Bellevue Square. She had parked the car. She was fumbling through her purse, making sure she had what she needed. She reapplied her lipstick. Dug through her purse for her wallet to look through credit cards. Searched several times to check where she placed the keys.

Mom and me in the early 90s.

Mom and me in the early 90s.

Would we never leave the car? Would I be stuck all day? I must have said something to her quite snippy, or flat out mean. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. Which made me more upset with her.

Isn’t it a sad feeling, transitioning from a mom who could do no wrong—from changing diapers, to cooking their favorite spaghetti, to taping treasured colorings on the fridge that were made just for you—to being the person of their abject disdain?

It’s a tough new role. Let me tell you.

But, having gone through these feelings myself, I understand. I’m visiting my mom this week in her assisted living center. I talked about it with her, what I’m going through now, and what I felt like when I was 19. Fortunately, she doesn’t remember me ever being a snarky 19-year-old.

For some reason, I’ve gained more patience throughout my life and that has been a blessing. I’ve also learned forgiveness.

19 years ago.

19 years ago.

Something else, I’ve learned through the years of parenting: this too shall pass.

It’s called independence and freedom. We want our children to grow and become separate human beings that can stand on their own. Sometimes they need to separate from us. A good time to do that is during their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. It’s a good thing. I keep telling myself that.

However, we also want to be treated with respect, and once again—someday—to be cherished.

A beach day with my daughter.

A beach day with my daughter.

I wrote more about separating from our kids and the experiences we go through when they leave for college here.

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From Play-Dates to Play-Groups, Just Let the Kids Play!

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I saw a blogger on TV talk about “banishing the play-date.”  You can read his post here.

I reminisced about my childhood. I played in and out of neighbors’ backyards, rode bikes from dawn to dusk — with no adults bothering me.

imgres-2When I had kids, I found they didn’t have freedom like we did.

I went to Mommy and Me with my son Robert at the Palm Springs Pavilion. We learned to sing songs together and play “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot” with a dozen other moms and babies that apparently needed the coaching.  Each week, we took turns bringing snacks of grapes or string cheese. I look back at this as a training ground for the proverbial play-date.images-5

Play-dates developed from the Mommy and Me group. We had a park day, which was actually fun and healthy. Moms sat together on quilts on the grass and talked for hours while our kids played on the now-banned steel playground equipment — a super tall, steep slide, a merry-go-round, and a stagecoach that they could climb into, on top of and jump off of. Sometime during their early childhood years, our city tore out the dated, dangerous equipment and put in rubber ground and safe equipment. My kids never liked to play on the brightly-colored equipment and our park play-dates vanished.images

One day, I got a phone call from a friend. She homeschooled her daughter and hand-picked her friends for a weekly Friday Play-Date. She hired a teacher to run play-group, and each week included a lesson, a theme, craft and snack, followed by 10 minutes of unsupervised play on her backyard swing set.imgres-1

I felt honored to be in the select group. My kids had made their mark. Months later, she took me to lunch at CPK and told me she had some big news. She was uninviting one of the boys. I hardly saw this is earth shattering, but perhaps there was more to this luncheon. Maybe it was a warning!

imgresYears later, when my kids were in high school, they reconnected with friends from play-group. NOTE: This wasn’t just a play-date, it was play-group. They remembered it as if they were fellow Mouseketeers, having survived a bizarre childhood experience.

By 7th grade, I was homeschooling my daughter. Every Wednesday, I picked up her best friend from school, and brought her to my house to play until her mom got off work. This was another sort of play-date. We moms thought it was an ideal way to keep their friendship going. Since my daughter loved arts and crafts — homeschooling allowed her to try ceramics, mosaics, and quilting — I said that the two girls could do an art project each week.

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But that didn’t happen. I was tired from supervising my daughter’s activities to the half hour, and my daughter just wanted to hang out with her friend. So, I retired to my room and left them alone. After a few weeks, the friend didn’t want to come over anymore. She said she was promised an art activity and she was disappointed that they weren’t doing anything.

That makes me think about our kids and their overly structured lives. I love having quiet time. I hope my kids do, too. We need to unplug, unschedule, and let our kids regain their creativity and inner peace. They need us to leave them alone and let them be kids.DSCN0116

Alpha Moms and “The Cupcake Wars”

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If you’re an involved Mom — i.e., room mom, PTA vice president, Scrip mom, etc. you might find yourself ensnared in what I fondly remember as the “The Cupcake Wars.”icecreamcake

On any normal morning, I’d drop my young kids off at school, smothering them with last minute kisses. The coffee klatch moms, led by their queen bee, wore matching short skirts, strappy sandals, and perfect pedicures. I felt the heat of their stares as they gathered in a cluster. I used to be in the inner circle.  What happened?

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What did I do to get ex-communicated from the Mom’s Clique? One morning, I woke up and realized I didn’t have one iota of strength to fight over centerpieces for fundraisers. I no longer cared who chaired which committee, or who sat with whom at which table. I flat out disagreed with a war against one mom’s joy of baking works-of-art cupcakes instead of the required chocolate chip cookies.  Not that these aren’t worthy and high goals, but I’ll leave cupcake massacres to the queen bee.

images-5We women are trained from childhood not to fight or be aggressive, and to be “nice.” We love to share secrets and confidences with our friends. But if a woman feels threatened, she may be afraid that her secrets will be revealed.  She could clobber you with her fists, but it’s more likely she’ll resort to indirect aggression, a skill we’ve honed through the ages. Or, she’ll attack some mom’s cupcakes! (I learned about this from my friend Susan Murphy, Ph.D.)  She says,”Catfights result when the power and self-esteem among women are not kept in balance–a violation of the Power Dead Even Rule.” (Read more about the Power Dead Even Rule in her book “In the Company of Women.”

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Back story on “The Cupcake Wars”: At our kids’ school, you could earn your volunteer hours by baking for hot lunch. Chocolate chip cookies were the standard fare. A friend of mine bakes incredible cupcakes (see photos) — she should open a cupcake business — they are that good. But, the cute cupcakes so distraught the moms baking chocolate chip cookies that the school board banned the baking of cupcakes altogether! The board felt it caused too much turmoil in the lunch line because there weren’t enough to go around. So, rather than try to work out a solution, i.e. rotate the cupcakes each week to a different grade, or having them on a first-come, first-served basis — they said no more cupcakes. They left it up to me to tell my friend that she could no longer bring cupcakes to school! Which was totally wrong, since I strongly disagreed with their decision. My friend couldn’t understand why her fun, delicious cupcakes were banned — and why they didn’t inspire other moms to be creative — yet it was okay to drop off a box of Chips Ahoy. (So, then I campaigned for “Fresh Fruit Fridays” — a story for another day!)

3539053509_f64da7a86dAre there any rules at your school, either as a parent or way back when you were a kid that didn’t make sense?  If so, what are they? I’d like to know!