The blog has been quiet for several months, as I’ve contemplated which direction to take my writing. We all go through seasons in life, and a new one started at my house this past year. My status as mom of young children has changed to mom of teens (and a pre-teen). The issues I face are more complex than when the kids were younger. Here’s two recent examples:
~My thirteen-year-old asked if it was okay to hold hands with his girlfriend (are you on crack?!?!?!).
~My fourteen-year-old studied hours each night all semester and still got a “C” in one class. She felt like a failure, and it was hard to know exactly what to say to her.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and a kiss from mama doesn’t fix everything anymore. I wish there were a “What to Expect” book for parents of teens. I would buy it in a heartbeat!
We raised our kids to have imaginations, to play outside, and not fit the mold. We homeschooled throughout most of their elementary years, so this hasn’t been much of an issue. I especially bucked against trying to raise cookie-cutter kids. I didn’t want them to be perfect, but to be children and to grow up into the unique person God created them to be. This for the most part worked well for our family. There was the occasional embarrassment when my wild kids got into to some sort of shenanigan. Like the time our ninety-year-old neighbor came over to tell me how he loved my friendly my kids, but could I possibly only have them visit him once a week? (I didn’t even realize they were visiting him daily. They were supposed to be playing in the backyard!) There are several more examples, but we had a lot of fun as a whole.
Fast forward to the present. Lots of uncertainty. The children I fought so hard to teach independence and to think for themselves now challenge me on everything. The cookie-cutter mold I avoided like the plague is what the school system seems to want from them. The discipline of a school setting has also been a challenge for my carefree kiddos.
I’m not sorry that we homeschooled, and I’m not sorry that we’ve chosen public school for their junior high and high school years. But I am in a spot where I’m not sure of myself anymore. Parenting teens is hard and things feel so much more serious than they used to. They are much more serious! If I made a bad decision when they were little, it could be corrected because we were always together. Now mistakes can affect their future, and I’m not there with them all the time to see how they’re doing. It’s scary.
Every blog I’ve started to write lately has seemed ungenuine. So I finally decided to lay it all out there. A lot of posts from here on will deal with the phase of life my family has entered: the teen years. It won’t be full of how-to’s (at least about parenting!) or riddled with my great wisdom because I’ve never done this before. Instead, I hope to offer a place of camaraderie for other moms of teens. A spot you can come and see you’re not alone. I’ll share about what we’re dealing with at our house – the good and the bad – and hopefully we can encourage each other!