I Am A Fraud.

Okay, maybe not.
But I sure as shit feel like one.

I think this is the longest I’ve gone between posts since I can’t remember when. I’ve actually been working on several posts, to let you all know I’m here. And alive.
And I am really happy. White-picket-fence-baking-cupcakes-permanent-toothy-slightly-lopsided-grin kinda happy.
My sweet Glugster and I are still trying to have a baby, and we’re both SO looking forward to a weekend away- with just the two of us, for the first time in our relationship- and the timing is good for our TTC project too, so everything is good…

And then today, my darling knucklehead, threw a spanner in the works again.

And this is where I start feeling like a fraud all over again.

Many times in my life, I have been told I am an inspiration as a single mother. I have been asked for advice and confided in.
My friends and family have often told me they are impressed and proud of me for doing what I’ve done. I’ve had the knucklehead’s teachers compliment me on how well I know my child, and comment on how involved I am in his schooling and such.
And I had an actual qualified head shrinker tell me I haven’t screwed him up completely.
I honestly don’t see that I’ve “done” anything. I have raised the knucklehead alone, yes, but I also raised him with a LOT of support and help and love from my parents and siblings.
I did what I thought a mom was supposed to do.
And I fell short in SO many areas too… I didn’t push him hard enough to excel and achieve. I wasn’t strict enough. I spoilt him. I was inconsistent with my discipline. I didn’t spend enough quality time with him. I sometimes think I should have made some kind of effort to maintain a relationship with his biological father. I screamed. I swore.
And I could go on.
I also had a couple of romantic relationships+ whilst the knucklehead was a youngster- but I was very leery of letting anyone in so to speak, or allowing the dudes to assist in parenting my son in any way, so the relationships didn’t go very well.
I swore off men completely until I met my darling Glugster.

Those are a few reasons why I feel like a charlatan when people compliment me- as much as I LOVE when they compliment my darling son’s behaviour or demeanour.

There are more reasons…

My knucklehead just cannot get through school. MOST of his hassles have to do with his AD/HD, but a part of it also is- I feel- that I do not and have not motivated him enough to revise his work and to try and get good marks. I don’t expect A’s, but I do expect at least a pass…
He’s smoked cigarettes since he was 10 or so.
I watched him get fingerprinted when he was arrested for shoplifting, and theft has been a problem since nursery school.
He’s a firebug, and we’ve had to douse a few small blazes because of his fascination with flames.
And our current issue is marijuana. Mary-Jane. Ganja. Grass. THC. He buys it, smokes it, and shares it with his friends. He takes it to school too, which is when I get called.

And THOSE phone calls are the bane of my life. They’re the ones with the voice on the other end, afraid to tell me too much over the phone- not only because they’re not wanting to say too much but also because they are so often the receiver of the parents’ misdirected ire in these matters… and their hesitance to talk to me only increases my heart rate.
I have shed countless tears over my son’s issues at school and other hurdles in our life.
I’ve spent sleepless nights and smoked WAAAY too many cigarettes.

And today I got another one of those phone calls.
The knucklehead, who is being tested every two weeks- and tested positive again after his birthday party- got caught with grass at school again today. Despite his promises to the contrary, he’s still smoking it.
I had to go to the school again.
Which meant taking leave again.
My bosses know my work and like my work- but they do not have endless patience- and at this rate I won’t have any leave left for December!

So today some major decisions were made.
He’s going to start taking Wellbutrin– which is an antidepressant and often helps AD/HDers who have substance issues. We’re hoping this will be enough to get him to stop smoking it, because the next step will have to be rehab… which I really don’t want to do.
He’s also dropping out of school.
As much as I wish he could finish school, or at least get a grade 11, this is not working. He’s wasting time and money because he’s not working. He’s having a jol with his friends all day and that’s it.
He is looking for work. Full time or part time doesn’t matter- whatever he can find at this point. Next year we’ll look at enrolling him in college to do a national senior certificate equivalent or some such.
We’ll also be testing on a weekly basis again until he’s clean.

And today I felt numb.
I didn’t even cry.
I feel like I’ve let him down. Like I dropped the ball. I feel like a failure.

+okay, I had four, not counting an um-friend or two.

27 thoughts on “I Am A Fraud.

  1. I really admire your honesty – with yourself… with the rest of us… and obviously, with your son… but particularly with yourself. So many parents are in denial about their children. The denial itself is destructive and contributes to the problems. You’ve taken control of a difficult situation. Hang-in there… xx

  2. I can’t say much that hasn’t been said already..but you definitely can’t blame yourself hun. These are HIS choices.


  3. Hiya hun, its been a while but i am still around!

    I only have one thing to say


    Keep your chin up hun

    Pol x

  4. You are SO not a failure. You’re a completely committed mother, who tries her very best every day. It shows on your blog.

    We ALL screw up now and again, but that doesn’t make us failures as mothers. And the screw ups our teenage kids make definitely don’t make us bad mothers. IMO, by 18 or 19 years of age they are old enough to carry the responsibility for their own actions.

    Heaven knows I have done some really stupid things regarding my daughters’ upbringing and I have made some horrific, cringe-making mistakes. But I have learnt that the bottom line is we have to do our best, every day, learn from the mistakes, but get over them too – cut ourselves some slack.

    I am fast learning with my eldest (she’s 19) that I have done what I can as far as teaching right from wrong goes. I am still there to support her and offer advice or a shoulder to cry on when needs be, but the bottom line is she’s a big girl now and she has to make her own decisions and live with the consequences. (As she discovered on Monday when she woke up with the world’s worst hangover – 9 shooters (!!!) does that to you!!)

  5. I don’t know you or your kid. I don’t know your situation. I do however know that a parent can only do so much.

    It is about taking responsibility it seems like you are taking responsibility for BOTH of you.

    Maybe he should start taking responsibility for his own actions?

    Good luck! My kid is 17 months old. I have still all these shit ahead of me. 🙂

  6. Angel. I have so much to say to you and everybody else on this, so I did a post on my blog.

  7. as i said to you in my text…

    you are not a fraud

    you have not failed him

    you have loved him

    you are a mama and a person and perfect


  8. Its all been said above. You do the best you can. And you have done well judging by what those around you have to say. YOur son is a grown man. He is responsible. He has to want to change otherwise even rehab is meaningless. Strength to you, shite, this hasnt been a good year for you, has it?

  9. One day at a time thats all we can handle. I have found with my 19 yo that he is some years behind his 21 yo sister in maturity and responsibility. At the moment your son and mine are relying on their mothers to clean up their issues and make the problem go away. Handling your problems yourself is a sign of maturity and it will come with time. I think you are doing the right thing by putting him in employment but as soon as he is employed, sit with him and work out a budget. My son has been employed since Jan. and because he didn’t finish school he is a worker in a factory. He earns about R100 a day and has to pay me R50 a week as well as pay for his entertainment, cigs, transport. If he finishes the coffee he has to spring for a new tin. He doesnt understand why he owes me so much money (I have lent him money) so I typed up a statement with a running total of debits and credits and he can see how much is owing at any time. We cannot see the end result of our labours but trust in your parenting because believe me it has taken root in him.

  10. Every one else said, what I was thinking, so well. Refer to all of the above!

    Strongs and hugs

  11. Its Tough being a mom – not just some of the time.. but all of the time!

    We are just people… dont be so hard on yourself.


  12. Angel…*hugs*

    You are not the sole influence in the knucklehead's life. You are not the only person responsible for how he turns out. If he hadn't left the house since he was born…different story. As soon as kids go to school they are exposed to other influences, both bad and good.

    The Knucklehead has also played a part in this and made certain choices…this you cannot hold yourself responsible for either. At some point everyone has to take responsibility for their own decisions.

    I am very sure that you have done the best you can with what you had at your disposal. You have rallied and created awareness for his condition like no other mother I know of.

    You are special and you have done very well – all things considered.

    Nobody is perfect. Jesus himself had flaws. Cut yourself some slack.

    <3 Strongs and love.

  13. I know this might not help much but it isn’t your fault and I can tell you this as someone who is an older version of Damien. I was a cocaine addict from when I was about 16. My dad (single parent) never knew. I ended up eventually booking myself into rehab and missing almost half of my matric year. I also have add if that answers more of your question. I did finish school though. Today I am a webmaster for a newspaper.

    My brother same problem, he dropped out of school tho, went to college and today he is a site manager for a prominent mining company.

    We both ended up okay. I don’t blame my dad at all. Kids screw up, some a little more than others but we all ;with a little nudge in the right direction from time to time, turn out okay. You have mastered the most important part of being a parent and thats caring.

  14. Angel, my heart goes out to you all. I know how much support our ADHDers need .
    Dont be too hard on yourself as you seem to be doing the best you can. Keep loving him unconditionally and pray to God for the wisdom of Solomon.

  15. these posts about Damien always make me cry because i am afraid that i see my future.

    but we can only do the best that we can, the rest is up to them.

    and whatever happens, you are still an inspiration to me.

  16. My friend –
    I have two step children now aged 20 and 24 and one son I gave birth to aged 11. I have raised my step children since they were 9 and 13. You know the challenges my step son presented and the similar paths with drugs in high school, etc. Be it step or natural children, I have learnt I can only take responsibility for certain aspects of their lives – the obvious ones which you or your readers certainly don’t need me to outline here. One of the hardest things in parenting I have found is being at peace with knowing that when our children are less than where we want them to be, or less that who we believe they can be, it is not a refelction of us as bad parents. I have struggled with this because I have always been a belierver in the ‘no such thing as problem children, only problem parents’ but with the transformation in my step son and our relationship, I have really come to see that this is all good and well to a point.
    Our children make their own choices and take their own risks. You can choose to be there for them no matter what, or not – but rather than beat yourself up and judge yourself as a failure, use that energy to find the balance between responsibility for and not responsible for. If there is one thing you are NOT, it is a failure – and you know what, neither is your boy – he is finding his way and making his own choices. It is hard as a mother to watch our children be anything less than the best version of themselves that we hope for them. You are a loyal, devoted, strong, passionate and committed mother who did the very best you could.
    I wish you all strength to get through this hard time. I wish Damian luck in his quest for a new life outside of school and I admire your courage and taking that step.
    I love you!

  17. My heart is blue reading this because so much of it is my life… except Liam has not discovered drugs… but high school is looming next year.

    I’m sorry Angel… I know the phone calls, the dissapointements, the just wanting a ‘pass’.

    You did the best you could.

  18. My dear Angel I have known you since Damien was about 8 or 9. You are an awesome mother and you can in no way blame yourself! You haven’t ever dropped the ball where it comes to being his mother, you have always supported him been his best friend and done your level best and WAY extra for him. You are in no way a fraud you are human we all scream and swear at them at times and as a fellow single mother I know how hard it is to raise them alone.

    I have to agree with some of the very wise comments above he needs to work even HALF as hard as you do at his life and his future, yip easier said than done I understand that. But you cannot keep blaming yourself and feeling bad when you are giving 200% and he isn’t coming to the party so to speak.

    I love you both very much and I am sad that you are going through this my friend! I am hoping that the responsibility of a job and the meds do make a big difference and that you get some much needed peace of mind soon!!


  19. Hello Sunshine!!!

    I’m sorry to hear this Angel. But I still think you’re the best mom!!


  20. I couldn’t agree more with the above comments. Holding thumbs for both you and Glugster that things settle down a bit! XX

  21. I’ll go with the other commenters- it isn’t about what you did or didn’t do, but at least he has a safe environment now… Life is hard enough for adults, imagine being a teenager these days?
    He’ll come through, you’ll come through…

  22. Girl, you have smart friends. I suggest reading the above comments like 30 times a day!

  23. How old is he now?

    Angel, it’s all about the try. (Check out a Blue Rodeo song called “Try.”)

    You are trying.

    He is NOT trying. Or at least he’s not getting it.

    Yes, he’s got the ADHD, he’s got some strikes against him, no father in his life, all that stuff.

    It’s real, it’s there. There is compassion all around. But you are anyone else can do only so much.

    If school is the bane of his existence, if he just isn’t cut out for the structure of it and the discipline and responsibility it requires, then it’s a good thing he’s no longer there.

    His feet need to be held to the fire, not your ass. Unless your middle name is God, you have not failed him.

    Like someone else said, of course neither I nor anyone else can know all the intimate details of him or your lives.

    But it seems to me you have done everything you possibly could (that’s the try part) and despite all that, it hasn’t worked.

    You need to think about you and Glugster and your own future, and you need to tell Damian straight up what this all about.

    Maybe being outside the school setting — which to him might be a synonym for his own failure — and into a job might be the best thing that could ever happen to him.

    Maybe a detox centre would be another place, or some sort of heavy discipline centre.

    It just seems to me that he needs to be taught how to be accountable and if he isn’t, you won’t be there for him to fall back on all the time.

    Whatever you decide, never think or feel that you have not tried and that this is all on you.

    Big hugs

  24. As Sheena so eloquently wrote… you cannot possibly blame yourself. You have supported him stacks more than most people would have

  25. YOu know I don’t come here often. I just knew, like I did when your daddy darling was sick, that I needed to check up on you today. If it weren’t so late I’d actually call you.

    Angel my friend, I know that no one can ever truly understand what goes on behind closed doors, but one thing I am absolutely SURE about is how much you love your son. More importantly, I have learnt how you will and have done everything in your human power to give him your absolute best. Its evident in your photos of him, your words about him, the way you look at him and the way you interract with him. I’m lucky enough to have witnessed all of that in person.

    I would like to remind you (no lecture, no preaching, just a reminder) that no matter how hard you try keep your son on best behaviour, he is his own person, with a unique and individual personality that no matter what you possibly do or say, will go his own way.

    You can only blame yourself for so long before one day you’ll realise that it actually boils down to him. Just like it boiled down to me, when I did these things.

    Blaming yourself all the time only protects him from taking responsibility and justifies his actions in doing these wrong things.

    At some point, you aren’t going to be around to blame yourself and what will he do then?

    You love Damien, he knows that, we know that and you know that. That’s all you can do from this point.

    You are not a failure. You’re the furtherest thing from it. And if you didn’t care so much, you wouldn’t think you were.

    Maybe it’s time for rehab. Why are you so adverse to it? In my experience and observation, it can only be a good thing and might put him in touch with the real world. You never know, the next time something happens (God forbid, touch toes and smack a tree) he might not have the option of rehab, but be forced to go to jail.

    I love you and Damien, and I’ll love you guys no matter what happens.

    Have strength love.

Comments are closed.