Monday, October 30, 2017

This Stage of Parenting

Every stage of parenting has its own special kind of chaos and craziness from sleepless nights with a newborn, to toddler tantrums, to elementary school mania. I truly believe that no stage of parenting is easier than another - they are all just different. I'm currently in the tween and teen stage of parenting with a 10 year old, a 12 (almost 13) year old, and a 15 year old. There are parts of this phase that seem so much easier. Everyone dresses themselves and they can fix a snack on their own. They don't wake up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays and our schedules don't revolve around nap times. They don't need to be carried and dinner at a restaurant does't feel like herding cats. However, there are pieces of this chapter that also seem harder. Mood swings are as unpredictable as preschool meltdowns and schedules are so packed I'm left wishing for a nap. Homework looms constantly and fashion choices can be points of contention. They clean out the pantry faster than I can refill it - again. There is a lot of letting go and a lot of testing independence right now. 

Like every other leg of this parenting journey, there are ups and downs, twists and turns. Sometimes, the road is a little rocky and, sometimes, it feels like smooth sailing. 


This stage of parenting is . . .

Mood swings (theirs and mine) followed by hugs and high fives.

Being so grateful they don't wake up at 6:00am on Saturdays anymore, but also wondering if I should wake them up when the clock hits noon and they are still snoozing away.

Going shopping for homecoming dresses, new high heels, and a strapless bra (for her; not me).

Wondering if any fashion designers actually have daughters of their own and wanting to give them all a piece of my mind. 

Watching them raid each other’s closets and give each other fashion advice. 

And social advice. And advice about boys.

It’s discussions - actual adult-like discussions - about politics, and religion, and tragedies, and making a difference.

It's inside jokes that only we understand. (Hey, R! It's raining!! 😜)

It’s late night homework and early morning carpool lines.

It's coffee dates with my daughter and frozen yogurt after school (sometimes).

It’s listening to them sing along becasue they know all the words to a song I’ve never heard.

It's them hanging out in their rooms alone while I wonder if I should orchestrate some quality family time or just enjoy the peace.

It's texting them from downstairs to say that dinner's ready.

It’s “What’s for dinner, Mom?”  and “Why do I have to go to bed so early?” (Even though, it’s not early at all and I’m about to fall asleep standing up.)

It's sharing clothes and sharing shoes, except with the one whose feet are already bigger than mine.

It's making a Target run for shampoo, lotion, feminine supplies, makeup, and razors - because we ALL need them.

It's offering guidance, but also knowing they have to figure it out for themselves; find their own path.

It's disagreeing, but biting my tongue.

It's hours and hours, miles and miles spent sitting behind the wheel of my minivan shuttling them to and from school, sports, clubs, and social events. 

It’s talking about the rules of the road and driving advice - from the passenger side because she has now taken the wheel.

It's date night with my hubby because we can leave the kids home alone for a while. 

It's figuring out Christmas gifts together, because we don't do Santa anymore and feeling relieved, but also a little sad about that. 

It’s wanting them to be healthy, growing young ladies, but crumbling a little invisibly when I stand back to back and she rejoices becasue she is FINALLY just a smidge taller than me.

It's Facebook memories from six or eight years ago that throw me a sucker punch and leve me temporarily breathless as I gaze upon the babies they used to be. 

It's hearing her say, "I'm fat!" and quickly replying, "No you are not! You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!" but also knowing I need to set a better example of self-acceptance.

It’s me asking them for assistance with technology and them NOT asking for assistance with homework - because they know it is too advanced for me! 

It’s discussing college and potential careers. 

It's trying to keep up on Instagram and hearing myself say, "Please put down your phone!" 

It’s being a more relaxed mom becasue I’ve been doing this for so long now -until something new arises and throws me off a balance again. 

It's still a lot of firsts, but also quite a few "lasts."

It’s cherishing hugs that are few and far between; wishing I could hold on just a little bit longer but being careful not to hold on too long or too tight - realizing these hugs are a metaphor for life. 

It’s still being needed - so very, very needed - for money, and transportation, support, and love, but not really being needed anymore to brush their hair or help them dress.

It's learning to let go, even though I want to hold on.

It's hoping and praying that the seeds we've planted have taken root and that they were the right seeds to start with. 

It’s watching them become young adults and being so incredibly proud of the people they are growing into, but also missing the sweet little baby faces and cuddles that now seem like so far ago and also just like yesterday. 



Janine Huldie said...

Aw, the last line I totally get as I miss those baby faces even though this stage truly has many pluses as you clearly mentioned above <3

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Janine! Those baby faces sure were sweet, weren't they?!?! (BTW - totally though I had replied to his much earlier! Sorry for the delay!)

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