Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Motherhood: Only the Fashions Have Changed

This is not the post I feel like writing.

I've got two others in the queue, partially complete. One is a review of Fidayeen, the new novel by my friend and loyal Drunkard Bill the Butcher. (Condensed version ahead of publication: Download it to your Kindle and read it right now.) The other is my take on the latest attempt by Texas nutjobs to secede from the Union, as requested by Miss Othmar.

Don't those both sound interesting?

But I'm not finishing either of those posts tonight, thanks to...TEENAGE DRAMA.

Chapter 42.

Verse 7.


Motherhood. It's like THE best thing ever, you guys.
I'm not going to go into a ton of detail, partly because I'm going to respect the privacy of Precocious Daughter and her boyfriend in this matter, and partly because I'm just fucking tired. Long story short, the boyfriend (he needs a blog-nickname, doesn't he? I'll work on that) is here at the apartment because it's sort of a port in the storm for him right now. He's got some family issues, as well as some anxiety/depression issues, so I'm making sure he's not just wandering the streets, because I happen to care a lot about him and his family.

On the other hand, I'm becoming concerned that PDaughter is falling into the pattern of an enabler when it comes to him. Having myself recently broken a decades-long pattern of enabling (OK, except for the part where I helped my almost-ex do his taxes this weekend because he had no clue and I just couldn't leave him to his own devices...don't judge), I'm anxious for her to understand that it's neither healthy nor beneficial for her to assume the role of savior. It can't be done.

Part of me wants to put my foot down and say, No more. PDaughter, step away from this emotionally dangerous situation. Boyfriend, deal with your own problems and don't come back until you have. Period. The Great and Powerful Mother has spoken.

Ain't no way, ain't no how. You dig?

Do you want to know why I haven't done that, apart from constitutional weakness?

Because every time I see myself putting my foot down, being the bad cop, exerting my parental authority, and whatnot, I think about the 70s sitcom "One Day at a Time."

Specifically, the episode "The Runaways," in which Ann Romano and daughter Julie clash over the direction of Julie's life, and she subsequently runs off with her tight-jeans-wearing, van-driving boyfriend.

And I don't just think about it. I literally replay the whole thing in the my head until I'm terrified that PDaughter will go full Julie if I fly off the handle about this whole thing.

Here's Part 1 of "The Runaways" if you haven't seen it. The video and audio are horrible, but you can clearly see Mackenzie Phillips' Dorothy Hamill hair, and that's all that really matters.

I remember watching this multi-part episode of "One Day at a Time" when it first aired, and I never forgot it. Not when my big sister fought with my parents, not when I was tempted to chuck my education and run away, not now that my own daughter is having boyfriend issues. (By the way, in my family dynamic, I was totally Barbara, other than the being-cute-as-a-button part.)

You really should watch the terrible-quality video above, especially if you didn't grow up watching "One Day at a Time." A show about a single mom was absolutely ground-breaking in the mid-70s, and I'd be lying if I said it hasn't influenced my own new experience with single motherhood.

I think I have better hair than Bonnie Franklin. Maybe.

In any event, it's 8:30 p.m., the boyfriend is here, I'm in contact with his family hoping for a resolution, and I'm not blogging about the stuff I intended to blog about tonight.

Thoughts are welcome.


  1. Ooh, I remember those episodes, and even as a kid I wanted to wring Julie's neck. What a pain in the ass.

    Also, your hair is way better than Ann Romano. Fuck that.

    Finally, I have no advice because I enable like a motherfucker. It's what I do. So. Yeah.

    Hang in there.

  2. I'm with you guys. I'm totally an enabler, and I'll put myself at the bottom of the pile to keep everyone around me happy. One suggestion I can make is to sit PD down and gently remind her that you went through it and you want her to be happy. You dont want her to go through the same heartaches you did. Telling her to stay away from him will surely result in a full out Julie, so just keep letting her know you love her and are there for her.

    And if he ever hurts her, we'll all be forced to break his face.

    Love you!

  3. I have a terrible feeling of deja vu when you describe the situation with PD and PB (Preternatural Boyfriend?). I was not in this situation, but I have seen it close up with a friend and the friend's boyfriend. In the end, after I had to do all the interference running and so on (including putting the boyfriend up with me for a week) they, predictably, broke up in the end.

  4. The only thing you can control are your own choices. Choose kindness. Choose mercy. Understand your own boundaries and be clear about the shit up with which you will not put. It's not just kids who need boundaries; we all need to know our own and communicate them clearly to our loved ones. It sounds like bullshit when I read that back, and it's taken me years to practice it as imperfectly as I do, but it's the only way that works for me. The 2 extremes either way are being an enabler or being a bitch. I try to choose to be neither. I do hope you find your way in this.

    1. This is an amazingly moving response. Thank you, Bootsy.

  5. No, thank you, Chuck! I love your blog. I found it following the link from the Comics Curmudgeon and have been reading it for a while. Looking forward to the Texas secession post!


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