Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Suddenly, They're Teens

It's been a long while.  

You could say that working full time and raising a family is hard work.  It's wonderful, heart aching, soul filling work. I wake up and go to bed happy and content with what God has given me. It's a feeling that money can't buy, and I'm eternally grateful.

I started this blog when my kids were small.  They were in elementary and preschool.  I needed a way to speak my mind and gain some income.  I poured myself into learning how to build and navigate a blog.  I spent hours googling and teaching myself how to make this work.  Not only was it my outlet, it was my income.  People heard how much money I was making and thought "oh I'll start a blog too!"

I wanted to tell them, and sometimes I did, that it is HARD work.  You have to be driven to succeed and never quit because it requires time and patience.  

My blogs were about keeping my sanity, my recipes and my Disney knowledge and expertise.  These things were my specialty.  I had four young kids and so much to share.

I blinked my eyes and those babies are 16, 14, 11 and almost 8.  I don't know how it happened but it did.  I went from worrying about playdates and potty training to honor rolls and permit tests.  My goodness mamas, it goes FAST.

The past two years I've been evolving.  I've been learning to really balance being a mommy, being a wife and finding stuff I love again. It's kind of bizarre when you go from being tied down all the time because you can't leave your kids alone to literally leaving the house with "I'll be right back I'm going to the store."

You just leave.  It's crazy.  I remember lugging carseats and holding hands and packing bags with toys and snacks.  So much changes as your kids grow, it's hard to believe it happens but it does.

And it happens fast.

With every child, time went by more rapidly.  My days were more full and I was spread thinner and thinner.  I literally had days when I spoke to no one but my kids.  And that's okay.  I was at a place where my kids needed that from me.  They needed all of me and I gave it to them.

The strange part is learning to navigate the days when they don't need all of you.  They need rides and homework help and signatures, but they don't require constant attention.  You suddenly have time to go for a run because no one will choke on a Lego or munch on detergent pods.  Supervision is in the form of monitoring them without them being aware you are monitoring.  You are checking cell phones and back packs.  You are online tracking grades and assignments.  

It's different.  It's not better or worse, just different.  You go from parenting these little people to parenting big people who are finding themselves.  Suddenly you embarrass them and they can't believe how uncool you are.  No longer are they proud mommy is at school, trust me. They are finding their path while you rediscover your path.  They still need you so much but they don't know it many days.

They push you away and they pull you near.  The trouble is sometimes you can't even decipher which they are doing...you just have to pay real close attention.

Mamas, it's an adventure.  The problems get less frequent but they get bigger.  They go from poopy pants to fender benders and failing grades.  They go from kids who don't share to kids who are downright cruel.  And sometimes your kid is the one being cruel.  Sometimes your kid is being picked on your kid still may be picking on someone else.  The story is never that simple. 

Don't let them fool you into thinking they aren't...I work in a school and while they are all good kids they don't always make good decisions.

They are finding themselves.  Our job goes from keeping them alive to keeping them on the right path.  The trick is to still be there.  You have to be present and willing to read the signals, even though some days you'll think "wtf is that?  what is going on here?"

Well, most days you may think that.

But the rewards are endless.  Never stop hugging, never stop listening.  Turn off phones and have conversations.  Keep watch over them even when they tell you they don't need it.  That's when they need it most.

Parenting teenagers and preteens is not for the faint of heart.  You have to be tough, be fair and be ready to realize your kid is not perfect.  

And they shouldn't have to be.  They will make mistakes, they will break your heart.  They will have their heart broken which almost ends you.  Literally you feel like you're dying inside because you can't take the pain away.

It's a crazy, beautiful ride.  And I'm here to tell you, while bittersweet they aren't babies, you'll always look at them that way no matter how old they are.  

Cheers to all the mamas.  You're doing amazing, important work.  Keep marching.