Thursday, November 18, 2010

a life of servitude

Sometimes, when being dictated to by a 17 year-old, I ask myself how this happened. When did I become the equivalent of a serf in my own household?

Do other parents feel this way when their offspring begin laying out conditions for our inclusion in their lives with statements like, "Oh, Mom, I'm going to need a new pair of dress pants by Friday because they're doing wardrobe check for show choir." Or dialogue like, "We're going to need to eat early because we're supposed to be up at the church by 6:00 tonight." My personal favorite is being told to stop being creepy when I'm having fun, or the glare of disapproval when I steal a kiss from my husband in the kitchen.

Perhaps it's just a symptom of the egocentricity of teenagers? Which makes me wonder if I was like that? I don't think it was quite so bad. But I believe we were left to our devices a lot more 30 years ago. I didn't expect my parents to magically replace clothing all the time. And I certainly wouldn't have dreamed of telling my mother what to make for supper and when it needed to be ready by. Saddest of all is realizing that we probably created this monster ourselves by being so involved in our children's lives and trying to make sure we were visibly "good parents." Hence the piano lessons, the soccer teams, the football camps, the elaborate Halloween costumes...

It all has a way of making you feel underappreciated and servile. I ask myself if they're ever going to realize what an immense body of work it amounts to - eighteen to twenty years of making them look and feel good. Probably not. Does it matter? Probably not. Most of us would do it again. And what does that say about us? Maybe it's a new syndrome - Disregarded Parental Serf Syndrome - DPSS for short.

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