Small Town Socialism
A Minute to Myself (93)

Mother-Daughter Conversations

“I don’t have a tone.” Pause. Continuation, “You’re just calling me to take out your anger on me.”

No, that was not part of a conversation that I had with one of my daughters, that was the part of a conversation I overheard in the school parking lot on Friday afternoon. A girl, together with five of her friends, was walking across the parking lot, as I was walking to my car. I couldn’t help but smile when I heard her talking to, I am sure, her mother; it was such a typical-sounding discussion, one that I could be having later in the same day.

Aren’t we supposed to take our anger out on our spouses? Isn’t that part of the traditional role of a spouse: mood deflector? I wonder if this girl’s mother is a single mother. Geez, the more I get into single motherhood, or the more their father steps out of the picture except to yell at them to clean their rooms, I realize how draining it is to be (or attempt to be) a positive influence on your children when you are mentally and emotionally drained. It’s hard to be understanding when you need someone to coddle your ego and body. It’s tough to get the tone out when you have no one with whom to decompress.

On Friday I came home from work, after picking up my older daughter and buying another box of invitations for my younger daughter, and just collapsed on the couch. This was after a confrontation with one of my more difficult behavior-wise students who gets extremely defensive when you ask her to stay on task and who has not learned not to talk back, and I have not learned to let that go, with anyone, especially not my students.

A few minutes after we got home my older daughter went to a friend’s house—she drove herself; my younger daughter went straight from school to volunteer at a haunted house at the local high school. So I was home alone and should have used that time as my time to decompress, but it’s hard to do that by yourself all of the time. It’s hard (yes, I am whining) to be your main support system. And so when they both got back and wanted something to eat and all I had to offer was the noodles and chicken cutlets from the previous night’s dinner I was not up to their complaints. I was actually talking to my mother while yelling at my daughter that that’s what there is and what do you mean you don’t like chicken cutlets you told me last week to make them!? On the phone my mother is telling me to calm down, and in here, at home, I am losing it. Eat the damn cutlets.

Why, why can’t they acquiesce? They have no documented behavioral issues, so what’s the deal here? Someone eat the food I prepared with care, love and thought. Someone say thank you. Someone remember that I am trying. Someone please tell me that the cutlets are great. No, not you mom.


Lisa Munley

Hi.. I really like your blog! I have a question but can't find an email address for you. WOuld you please email me at lisamunleyATcaDOTrrDOTcom?



This may be a small comfort, but they'll appreciate you later when they're a bit older and have a chance to look back. I don't know if I really "got" all my mom did for me when I was a teen, but now I'm so grateful for the sacrifices she made.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

JC, they are ganging up on me--they are both teenagers now. Yes, people keep telling me that they will realize what a wonderful mother I am when they are 64, but it's still hard, especially since there is no buffer here. There is no one who will say "be nice to your mother" or who can also get a "you're stupid" comment. It's not just being a single mother, it's being a single mother with the father around who is worse than the kids. So it's not just that they are acting their age, but each time they say something I feel that they are going to the dark side.

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