Thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?
Main Entry: thesis statement
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an explanation of the topic or purpose of a research paper

The thesis statement for this blog post? The emotional exhaustion of parenting teens rivals the physical exhaustion of parenting babies.

Before I continue with my support points, may I point out the cute little baby just above the text here. Cute, sleeping, adorable baby in a very precious outfit. The outfit was given to us by family friends. (I remember exactly who, but don’t know if they’d like to be named here. Come to think of it, I don’t know if they go online at all. And frankly, I’m not even sure they know I have a blog. Or for that matter, I’m not sure they know what a blog is. But I digress.)

So here’s the thing. This photo captures my middle son, snoozing away like a peaceful angel. I’m barely exaggerating when I tell you that I have no memory of him sleeping peacefully like an angel for the first 9 months of his life. I’m sure he did. But not at night. Not when Andrew was halfway across the country and I had a 2-year old to manage all day also and a business to run. And not at all for the 2 months that we lived in an all-white, furnished apartment while our home was being repaired and the back wall rebuilt after the fire in October 1997. A great account of the storm that caused the event is here. Again, I digress. Sorry. The point is, the kid did not sleep.

I cannot remember ever being so tired. Tired might not be a strong enough word. I was absolutely exhausted.

And that is just one of my kids.

My guys are 3-1/2 year apart. And that’s my oldest to my youngest with one in the middle. Tired doesn’t begin to describe those first years. I’m not proud to admit that I convinced my oldest son that at 18 months, he had to get himself into the car seat because I was just too darn tired (and pregnant) to make it happen. I was fortunate that he (and subsequent brothers) believed me when I told them that they needed to stay in bed until we said so in the morning – a major feat considering all my guys were in toddler beds and out of cribs by 18 months old to free up the crib for the baby.

But even with that, they’d wake up unbelievably early and I’d drag my butt out of bed and start the day. It seemed like it would never end. The days were long and physically demanding. Grocery shopping with 3 kids under 4 years old was – well, let me put it this way – I felt a successful trip was one where we ended up with food and no one crying. Maybe we didn’t have the food I’d planned, but we had food. Done.

I loved my baby boys. They were the huggiest, loviest, most wonderful sloppy kissing kids. Okay, maybe I didn’t feel that way every day. (Some of you saw me, talked to me, and know things. I don’t want to remember that part. Really, I don’t.)

So back to the thesis. Wow, this sure is rambling.

My boys are teenagers. They’re awesome. They do their school work on their own, manage their workloads. They do art, play sports, have friends. But I feel really comfortable with the level of involvement on all those. We are not over-scheduled. Well, we weren’t. This quarter is a bit harder with b’nai mitzvah lessons starting for #2 and #3. But we’re good.

I subscribe to a laissez-faire kind of school management with my guys. If they need help, I’m here. They are responsible for knowing what’s due, scheduling, getting it done. But as I said, I’m here if they need me. (Except for Math, I can’t help them in Math anymore. They can help each other, get Andrew, whatever. I’m not there.)

They’re all good students. Perfect? No. But they are responsible and independent. And they are learning skills that will help them be successful in life. Score.

The other night, it came to my attention that a big project was due this week and when I say big project, I mean big project. And the real challenge was that he really didn’t have a great idea about how to proceed. That and, frankly, it seemed as if he couldn’t jump start it without intervention.

So how to balance that? I’m happy to teach him how to get it done. How to write a thesis statement, organize thoughts, research, create an outline. I am not happy to write it. And while I’ll sit there while he works on it, I find that really hard – seeing the frustration and not jumping in. (I do write research papers for a living, folks.)

It’s going well, I should report. We’ve cleared some things off the docket so he can have the time to do this right. And to have some time to make it better after he thinks it’s finished.

But I have to tell you, this is exhausting with a capital E. I’m stressed for him. And mind you, I have plenty of my own stress already.

I know this does not satisfy proving the thesis, as it’s only one example and a wise friend of mine explained recently that it needs 3. But you know what? There are tons and tons of examples and I’m too fricking tired to go into it.

Trust me. It’s exhausting. Different exhausting but exhausting, just the same.

I love my kids, my life, my world.

But today? I’m really, really tired.

12 thoughts on “Thesis statement.

  1. may i ask if anyone has started driving independently yet?

    now THAT’s tired, baby.

    don’t worry, it gets better. then it gets really quiet and what you are feeling for him right now you will feel long distance through IM and text.

    hang in, my friend.

    btw, good at math AND cooking, that Andrew is a real catch.

  2. Yet more reasons I’m glad we made the choice to have one. Not that I don’t have to(currently) intervene on a major project, but that it’s one… I think I got a teensy bit more sleep than you, by choice!

  3. Lessons learned…a hard road. Bet he won’t do this again. But as a parent, you probably will – same scenario, same emotions, different day. I imagine that my parents still stress when I choose to share with them what’s really going on. It’s the journey…they’ll remember. They will.

  4. This is ironic to read, given the current status at this household… that of early, early, early morning wake-ups, crying in the middle of the night for what seems like an eternity, the overwhelming germ fest that persists with the pre-schooler/daycare route and just the general fatigue that you think “will this ever end?” People keep telling me “It’ll get better.” Hmmm…. now I’m not so sure???

    Now… where did I put that cup of coffee?

    1. Oh no, I meant to put that blog blocker on for parents of young children. It’s that special technology that puts up a post that says “you’re almost over the hump and all will be roses and tulips soon!” for people like you. Sorry, I hate that you were subjected to this. Truth be told, what you’re feeling will end. Every stage is different and wonderful and full of its own stress and joy. Now where’s my coffee?

  5. What a lovely, insightful post. The irony that you were exhausted, but wrote it nonetheless is not lost on me. Does it get better? For most women, I’d say no, it just gets different. But I’m older than you, with an empty nest. And I’m still exhausted by life. And completely and utterly grateful for each crazy day.

  6. you’ll laugh, but I was just telling my friend this weekend – who has a 4 yr old- that the physical exhaustion goes away but is replaced by mental exhaustion as your kids get older.
    sorry it’s rough right now xoxoxo

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