As I entered the way too full that is going to keep me here for way too long waiting room I realized that I am the only one in here past the childbearing years (much to my daughter's dismay when she regularly asks for a baby sister). There are about seven women in the room, two with toddlers and one with a 4 week old precious little boy. Two women are doing the three hour glucose test, remember that nasty stuff, killing the morning on their iPads that have replaced the outdated People magazine that I read back in the day. Each time the door opens I am hoping that the nurse will finally call me in for the joy of the stirrups, but instead another huge belly comes out attached to a tired and expectant mom.
The chatter in the room is about sleeping, or not sleeping, the size of babies and how cute baby 'gas' is. I had to open my mouth (shocked?) and share that my oldest is getting ready to go to college, and it was just 5 minutes ago that I was sitting here making a birth plan (which included LOTS of drugs).
One couple is sitting here, so cute, the only man in the room. Young love, coming to support his newly pregnant wife - yes, that was us. Do I dare share what is to come? And, I don't mean the sleepless nights and boxes and boxes of diapers. We all know that, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" drummed it into our heads on EVERY.SINGLE.PAGE. I'm thinking more about sharing about when the nanny quits (or doesn't show up), or when Teacher Work Days fall on MY work days. What about every single band concert, or broken braces bracket or argument about taking a shower? Nah, I won't share. I had a neighbor whose kids were a few years older than mine that used to say "you'll see". Yes, I did see, but I saw through my own eyes on my own time.
But, I might want to share about the first tooth lost, or the adorable jazz recital costume, the fantastic soccer tournament or the thrill of the college acceptance letter. Nah, I'll let the new moms have that joy on their own as well.
The roller coaster ride of parenting.The highs and the lows, the ups and the downs; truly a mind game, and I wouldn't trade it.
As part of my clinical practice, one of the parts that I really enjoy is working with parents. I often see them when they are at their wit's end: their son is skipping school and using drugs, a daughter is depressed, suicidal and won't leave the house, or the newly turned teenager is defiant and refusing to do anything asked of him or her. My role is two-fold; one of education and support. I support the exhausted and frightened, yet well-meaning parent. I ask them for their input reminding them that they know their child better than anyone else (something they have forgotten while enduring the feelings of Failure at Parenting 101). I try to normalize the situation explaining that so much of what they are witnessing is common, yet painful, teenage behavior.
The education piece is to re-teach these parents, who may have lost their authority in the tumult, that they are, in fact, the parents. They are in charge and they have authority and the final say. The over hormoned, self-involved teenager often misses that memo, preferring to operate instead via whatever is entering his mind via the all-too-important ear buds. Parents need to enforce firm limits and stick to rules and consequences. This can all be done with love, and support, but it needs to be done to make it effective.
I will spare the pregnant mommies that last bit. How could they possibly imagine that their little bundles of joy will transform into big, smelly, obnoxious, yet hysterical, smart and loving teenagers? I certainly never knew!