Last night, I sobbed myself to sleep. I’m the mother of three young men (22, 20, and 17.5). I’m struggling with being the parent that I think that God wants me to be.
I had told my eldest son that, when he turned 21, he would have to move out. He had flunked out of community college, was drinking regularly, getting speeding tickets, runnning around (and sleeping around). All against what he had been taught.
While living at home he refused to abide by the rules of our house (though my husband was never one to require that anyone follow any rule, unless he was ticked off about something). We were constantly picking up after him and his friends, who would congregate at our house when we were at work… eat and drink and leave messes. Too many times, we would come home and the only signs that he had been there were the soda cans left in the basement and the lights and fans being left on in rooms.
He’s 22 now and has been out on his own for 8 months. At Easter time, he told us that he was joining the military. He asked if he could move home. I told him that he could move home (“rent” free) for two weeks before going into the military. He wanted to quit a good paying job in order to live off his saved cash and party all summer. I told him that was not an option (He goes to basic training in October).
Two weeks ago, he quit his job. A month prior to that, he had sold his car (for $2,000 under what he owes for it, as well as having $4,000 in other personal loans for cars that we advised him against buying which he no longer owns. So, yes, he owes $6000 for cars and has no transportation). He did all this because his girlfriend was willing to support him and allow him to use her car. I asked him, “What if the two of you break up?” Well, guess what happened last week?
He’s been spending days (while we’re at work) at our house, playing video games with our youngest, and sleeping with friends at night and, most recently, with an old girlfriend. Now, my middle son tells my husband that his older brother is going to be walking the streets at night because he has nowhere to stay. My husband is consumed with worry because he “loves” him. In my heart, I’m thinking, “If you really loved him, you would have helped me with the discipline and not worried so much about having the boys as your buddies.” I don’t say it because he knows how I feel. It’s been said before, as I felt like a single parent in a two-parent family.
Repeatedly, my first-born has chosen his way over what we have advised (my husband has lots to say about financial decisions). There are consequences to actions, I have tried to teach my kids. So, I told my husband that I would agree to allow him to stay here as long as he’s looking for work for at least 2.5 hours a day (with proof of where he is going). For the other hours that he should be at work, we’ll have odd jobs around the house, which will include cooking and cleaning. My husband looked at me, totally straight-faced, and said, “You want him to be a Cinderella or some kind of a slave. He’ll never go for that.”
No. I don’t want to misuse my son. I do love him. It’s killing me to do what I’ve been instructed is the real loving thing to do.
Yes, it’s tearing me apart. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into some trouble myself, trying to medicate away the anxiety and the pain of being me and of living with a sex-addicted spouse (resulting in my own opiate addiction for which I’m working hard in recovery). This situation with my son is a perfect example of the pain that I’m having trouble enduring. God’s grace seems so elusive right now. I just want to run away. I’ve lost the certainty that I had when my boys were young and I had the hope that if I parent as God would have me parent, putting God and His way first, even if my family grumbles, they will come to understand that I love them and have done what is best for them.
This has not been the case. I have learned that, just recently while we were at work, my eldest son pressured my 17.5-year-old to drink alcohol (he only tasted the whiskey). It’s something that he’s done in the past, as well as given him condoms, harrassing him about still being a virgin. My first-born has not turned out as I would have wanted. Of course, I still love him and want what is best for him.
“But, I love him and worry about him being on the street.” That’s what my husband tells me. Does he not think that I love my son or that I, too, don’t want him “walking the streets at night”? I’m all messed up. I have no support here and God feels so far away. My heart is so heavy.