A Minute to Myself (147)
Talking to a Mom

Some People Have Worry Beads, I Have Enough Beads

The string of enough-beads that I have been stringing through the days of late has gotten so long that if I wore it I would be so weighted down that I wouldn’t be able to stand and walk into the next cause for an enough bead to be created and added to that string.

  • mr-ex is still here and as “vibrant” as ever. He has taken to calling my daughters into his room for a conference if voices rise when I am discussing something with them. Having him call them in disgusts me on so many levels: since he is not parenting he doesn’t get to pretend that he is the supervisor parent. He also doesn’t get to be the decider parent telling them what to do and say, especially when they never hurl at him the things they hurl at me because they are scared of him and because he is not involved in their lives, except in this role, while I have to somehow deal with them while they are fuming and spewing.

  • mr-ex appears to be one of the unemployed (he worked for a financial institution), although he seems to be trying to establish some kind of business. Not that that would impact me monetarily since he pays nothing to me for me or for the girls, but it does mean that he is in the home much more often than before--he is there just about everyday when I come home from work. You’d think that maybe he would be more stressed for money now and agree to really reduce the price of the house to sell quickly, but no, he seems even more determined to make the amount of money that he wants from the house.

  • At school I have spent the last week on our new unit, the Holocaust. I spent two days watching a movie (A Survivor Remembers) about a Holocaust survivor five times. Then, I had my students do an activity where they try to identify pictures of people to see if they can figure out if the person was a victim, perpetrator, rescuer or bystander during the Holocaust. That’s not so bad, what’s hard is that five times in two days I needed to read the biographies of Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, and Herta Oberhauser. Don’t bother looking them up, one was the “mastermind” of the Final Solution, and the other two were “doctors” performing “medical” experiments on people. Not a light-hearted way to spend my days at work. And we’re heading into more days of Holocaust and World War II research, and from past experience, I know that I will get upset from insensitive comments from teenagers, or even worse, from uncaring teenagers.

  • After a week of worrying that pseudo-separated man was in a coma or coffin after disappearing for a week after we had been back in touch for a few weeks, I found out that he wasn’t in either place. I did find, though, cause to change his moniker from pseudo-separated man to pseudo-man. Let’s just say that the disappointment that lead to that was utterly disheartening.

  • The other day, after I yelled at older daughter for picking up my laptop by the top when it was open, she actually uttered a word that I never expected to be hurled at me from my daughter. From my ex-husband, been there done that, but not her. Not the c-word from my 17-year old. Yes, I understand it’s a phase, but she just keeps crossing lines that I didn’t expect to ever cross. And since then I have been called that again, and the f-word and even given the finger. Any wonder that I left her at school today when I went to pick her up between her classes and told her I'll come back when her last class is over. (She then called mr-ex to rescue her from her evil mother--he did.)

  • And lovely, sweet younger daughter was mad at me because I went out with a friend the other night and I did not inform her that after dinner I would be going to a movie, because sometimes I need to pretend that I can do that—make a decision without consulting a 13-year old. So after being called the c-word, all that came out of the other mouth in the room was “shut up shut up shut up” aimed at me.

I went into my little room, locked the door (after Poops the maltese came in), and just lay down on my love seat. Sometimes thoughts are pushed aside by amorphous emotions. This was not meditation, this was me hitting the Wall of ENOUGH.



Hi Laura, I know that you won't feel better hearing this but just to let you know that I'm experiencing the same level of ungratefulness from my children. I'm fed up to be taken for granted and I hate being treated like a foot mat (tappetino, Italian), whilst "perfect dad" does not do anything for them but he the father-hero! Maybe we should go on holiday on our own and leave them alone for a week or so and they might understand...Or not? Take care. Ciao. A.

Liz A.

Oh my word. I guess it's not considered appropriate any more, but my mother would've slapped me to next week, she probably still would. I can't imagine how hurtful that must have been, but I'm sure you're right...This too will pass. Trying to find a silver lining here, I'd rather her crossing lines at home than lines in the backseat with a boy.


Oh, what a horrible week. The biographies alone would do me in. The thought of coming home to someone you don't want to come home to is dreadful. Hope things are better soon.


Ugh, ugh, ugh. I have a mental picture of your ex - my sister's X. They sound SO much alike and I'd like to hurl heavy things at both of them.
I watched an Anne Frank mini-series last weekend and cried like a baby. My daughters watched parts of it, too. They were horrified and kept asking, why. I think I'd be horrified if I actually understood it.
So I guess I should be satisfied that the worst things Sylvia yells at me is that she hates me, huh?


I would like to come there and give you the biggest hug. I had no idea you ex was still in the house. I'd have killed mine by now, really.

As far as your daughters, mine is 5 and I fear the day when she lashes out at me and they all do.

I adore your blog and as long as you write I will be here to read.

Amy Sue Nathan

I'm surprised that you wouldn't tell your daughter you were going to a movie after dinner. That's a common courtesy. If my kids go from one place to another, they have to ask. I don't have to ask, but I do inform. Always. If your daughter was angry and disrespectful when you came home, I'd venture to say it was because she was worried, but hiding that.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Antonella, it does help to know that there are others who can commiserate with me. It makes me realize that it's not just poor parenting skills and a tough home situation, it is teens and the things that they are going through.

Liz, I cannot express to you how grateful I am that she takes her anger and hurt and confusion on me and not on herself in the form of too many temptations out there.

JC, evil has its many manifestations. Some find a place in wartime, others need to contort themselves to fit into everyday life.

April, I'm sorry that I can commiserate with your sister, but at least she has a supportive sister. My students pleasantly surprised me this year by really delving into the research, which was surprising because on the first day of school I had two boys tell me that they don't think the Holocaust happened in the way it is portrayed. Yes, 14-year-old boys and their knowledge of the world. In the daughter department, whenever I do or say something I try to keep in mind that I am the mother and I will not act like an angsty teen. I try to be a role model, standing firm even as they say the things they say to me, and even as I drive off letting her steam in her own nasty words.

Jessica, you now have about eight years to continue building a solid foundation of love and respect within your daughter before you will really need it to convince yourself that she is still your sweet sweet daughter under all the attitude.

Amy Sue, she was annoyed because I ruined her plans. Sometimes, really, it's not so terrible to be a little irresponsible.



While I can't imagine how you continue to survive in your present home situation, I so know everything you are feeling when you and your Poops (thank God for the affection of pets) close the door of your little room behind you. Despair, grief, failure, and overwhelming sadness - and that's just scratching the surface.

As for your 17 year old, though she thinks she's an adult and we know how far she has yet to grow, and though your slimy X is manipulating her (which kind of makes it not her fault), she is 17 and not a child. Would you allow anybody else to speak to you that way? What do you respond when she does? How do you establish your authority and right to respect?

It can be the worst. My oldest truly HATED me and we butted heads every single day the last year she was home (senior in high school). Though she never cursed at me, nor I at her - her attitude was one her father had projected onto her. My final, only defense was detachment. Since all I was capable of was disappointing her, and her father was some kind of saint in her eyes, I turned her COMPLETELY over to his care.

"What? You need a ride and your father is 30 miles away at work? I guess you'd better come up with an alternate plan."

His armor eventually tarnished, but not for a few years - and that's not why I did it. I released her to embrace my own sanity, self worth and dignity. Yes, she suffered. Yes, she learned hard lessons. Yes, at 31 she still hasn't learned them all and her life has been hard. I didn't make that choice for her - she made it.

If you think the truth sets you free, you ought to see what detachment does.

The best happened just this past year, when my daughter, really through no fault or wrong doing of her own, just shitty life circumstances, moved back into her father's house (fist time after leaving at 18 years old). It lasted a couple of months during which time I finally heard the words I'd been waiting more than 15 years to hear from her mouth. "I don't know how you put up with him as long as you did."

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Judith, she will be 18 soon, and off to college oh so soon. What still holds us or me is that she still comes to me as a recognizable daughter, showing me things, seeking my approval and respect. She is still there, amidst all the pain and anger. We had a talk a few weeks ago and I apologized to her for not being able to protect her from him. She gets it (at some level and sometimes). I think she does see him for who and what he is.

I am like a yo-yo with my daughter. I keep coming back in the way I did last time. I try not to act like her, I try not to scream, I try to walk away when she gets too into a "muse." I keep in mind that I am the mother, and I need to set an example, not follow her lead. We all try the best way we can to handle these off-the-handle situations.

What a release for you to finally have your daughter recognize the validity of you and your position and actions. I hope you are able to create a strong relationship.

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