Just BeTWEEN You and Me

I read your post about tweens, and totally agreed. Here’s the thing, every time I say something about my tween’s behavior, some well-meaning “elder” pipes up with, “Oh just wait til he’s a teenager.” Seriously?? Most days I’m either biting my tongue to keep from cussing this kid out or reminding myself that I can’t punch him in the face. The last possible thing I need to hear is, “Oh well you ain’t seen nothing yet. ” Or, “The worst is yet to come.” What’s wrong with people? Do they think this is helpful?? How do you respond?

Hi honey, your post had me cracking UP. Amen, sister, A-MEN! It’s. So. Annoying!!! It’s like when you have a newborn and are surviving solely on caffeine and the grace of God, and someone says, “Awwww…you’re gonna miss this.”

Insert your favorite cuss words here.

My “baby” is 11. I promise you: I don’t miss sleepless nights. Or someone puking on me. Or diapers. Or drool. Or baby toys. Or carseats, sweet Jesus. Or a being that was fully helpless. I could go on indefinitely. I loved my babies. Enjoyed lots of things about them. Don’t miss it. When I see someone with a tiny baby, I want to say, “Awwww…you’re gonna survive this.”

I really don’t know what people’s intentions are or if they have any intentions at all. Comments like that are about as helpful as saying, “Been there done that.” But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe their kids are grown and they’d give anything for another opportunity to argue with them as tweens. Maybe they just really want to encourage you that this too will pass. It’s kind of a stretch, I know.

And teenagers get a bad rap. Personally, I like them. You can have really interesting conversations with them. And they can show you how everything on your phone works. Tweens can be cool too, but exercise caution as they’re about as unpredictable as feral cats.

My kids are 23, 17, and 11, so when someone gives me advice about my little tween, I smile and nod because I know what it’s like to raise teenagers. Been there done that. 

And that is mostly how I respond to unsolicited advice and stupid comments: Smile. Sometimes nod. And occasionally just stare blankly at them when I can’t muster a smile. This makes people uncomfortable by the way…when you sit and quietly hold space for the stupidity.

Hang in there, mama. Tweens can be demonic, but thankfully, it IS just a phase. Personally, I think teens are way way better. But in the meantime, I remind myself that this awkward phase is like being in a constant state of PMS–for boys and girls because: H O R M O N E S. It helps me to empathize…and to not punch her in the face.

xoxo

 

 

This is Supposed to be Fun?

Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short. I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.

Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to you. I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.

I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.

You’re not alone, friend. I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with so many great moms because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.

Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say, “You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.

We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.

If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.

xoxo