Getting Real with Tammy Torres

Do you realize your kids probably don’t even know you as a person? When I was helping my son Scott with a school project when he was 16, he asked me why I was good as drawing. I said I have a bachelor’s degree in art. He said, “No you don’t, dad does….” I chuckled, raising my mom brow, and said “Yes I do.” I had to show him the plaque on my wall. He thought since his dad was in the military, he had the degree. Wow…It must have been all the etch-a-sketch drawings and finger paintings I did with them.

Being an only child, I found it difficult to raise children. I didn’t know how to be a mom as there is no manual. A lot of self help books but no right or wrong way for raising kids – and back then, no mom blogs, either. It’s a blank slate. You Make, Bake and Grow children based on your experiences… I laugh as I didn’t have experiences with brothers and sisters. I didn’t want kids till I was a grown up at 30. I graduated college – career-minded, not kids-minded!  I never thought I was a good mom, but I did everything in my power to keep my kids safe, healthy and happy knowing that didn’t always happen. Momma, mother, mom, momma as my kids called me based on their moods…My Mitchell, Scotty and Shanola aka Snuggle Bug became strong unique individuals as Mitch, Scott and Shannon.

Moms easily get pulled into their children’s lives with millions of emotions. Caring, empathy, and love for our sweet angels fulfills us. As our angels grow and mature, a state of funk starts to settle in like a dark mysterious alien, showing up in their pre-teens, sucking and dragging moms from around the world into a deep hole of hopelessness that they fear they may never come out of. I clawed my way out from the depths of teenage drama hell into adult child dysfunction about nine months ago.

I told them when they were 18, they were in the real world – my world, not theirs. They were missing the coddling, give-me-everything mom. They didn’t seem to understand the difference between privilege vs entitlement. They were missing the blindly empathetic mom that would say everything is going to be okay and put a Bandaid on it.

I created the term called “Mom Bomb” as I didn’t like my feelings towards my children or how I communicated with them. They left the nest and my mom role felt very alone, sad, and empty. Selfish, I know, but I raised these little monsters and I still wanted to be part of their lives.

After my first divorce, Mitch moved to his dads in Washington at the age of 14 and would come to visit on holidays. He joined me for a few years after from high school in Idaho as he was going through a rough patch. Scott lived with my parents while attending online school, as he felt safe and my stepdad was able to help by being a great male role model for him growing up. Shannon and I lived in an apartment about a block away. Shannon and my mom had very similar personalities, which brought a lot of conflict into the family. Shannon had dropped out in ninth grade to deal with some horrendous physical and emotional abuse by my real father and an abusive boyfriend I was unaware of. I stayed close to all and accepted the living conditions to ease situations and provide stability of my family. It helped in some ways but caused personal disconnect with my children in another.

I starting to send them text messages with the header “Mom Bombs” in the subject, explaining wanting to get to know them outside of being my children but as grown adults and vice versa. Asking them random questions about life, hope, dreams, goals, anything. Some like it and some didn’t. I also used it to make statements, teach lessons and solicit reactions. Sometimes my Mom Bomb just said I love you and have a good day!

They knew when I sent out a “Mom Bomb” I was serious. Tired of being blown off because I had the title “mom,” I wanted to be acknowledged as a human being. Tammy mattered also.

In the process I admit, one or two times I’ve lost my mom card, was told to fuck off and had heated discussions. I was okay though as I could deal with the truth they spoke, wanting to hear it, good, bad or indifferent. We were communicating. “Mom Bombs” actually helped me become a better person and Mom. This process not only helped me grow but because it was in a group text. It helped them get to know each other better.

Now the aliens – kids – each own a bottle of “Mom Bomb Frebreeze” for their funkiness.