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

 

 

Eternal Sunshine and Other Nonsense

What do you do when your kid has a broken heart? 

Oh honey…that’s the worst; isn’t it?

Seeing your baby hurt is awful. Terrible. Excruciating. I would rather have another spinal headache than see my children hurt.

Last week, I was at the middle school selling slushies at lunch and witnessed this interaction: A 7th grade girl walks over to a table full of 7th grade boys and says to one: “‘Susie’ wants to know if you are really breaking up with her?” Without looking up from his chips, he nods his assent. Girl returns to her table and delivers the bad news to ‘Susie.’ ‘Susie’ gives Chip Boy a death stare, and her friends console her. Chip Boy continues eating completely unaware of the devastation he’s delivered.

I don’t know about you, but I fell in love with a few Chip Boys before I met my husband. And I met my husband at 17. We know these things are gonna happen. It’s normal growing up stuff. What can we do? Be a soft place to land…Listen. Take them shopping. For ice cream or alcohol depending on their age? Try not to offer too much advice…Offer some advice? Gently remind them that while it feels like the end of the world it’s not. I don’t know what works. Does anything really?

When I was younger–a month or so ago–I wanted to physically harm people who hurt my kids. But that doesn’t work because the kids who hurt our kids are someone else’s kids. Broken hearts can make mama bears violent.

Seriously though, there are no perfect solutions but lots of right things. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a mother is universal: When love is your motive, your actions will always be right. Of course I’m talking about genuine, authentic, unselfish love and not ego-driven assholery wrapped up in claims of: I’m only saying or doing this because I love you.

There’s no magic to fix broken hearts. No “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” I’ve searched. We’ve got to breathe through the pain and hopefully walk away with the lesson that it came to teach us.

Fuck that, right? I hear you. I’m sorry. I’m with you. Me too.

xoxo

 

K I N D N E S S

My 14-year-old is getting mean-girled. Some friends recently decided they don’t want to hang out with her anymore and so have been leaving her out of activities and basically shunning her. Additionally, she’s subjected to the constant barrage of social media exclusion–We’re all hanging out and having so much fun without you. She didn’t do anything to provoke this behavior–that we know of. I feel so bad and want to help her. Any suggestions?

Hi honey, I’m so sorry. Mean girl shit is the absolute worst. I feel like I write more about this than any other subject. And I wish all of my thinking and reading and writing and ruminating had elicited some illuminating insight, but the fact is: It sucks. We can’t fix it for our kids. We can learn to accept things and people at face value and seek to bring positive energy to each interaction, but being mean-girl’ed hurts.

I see this meme all the time, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I think it’s even more important to be kind and raise kind people. I encourage my kids–and myself–to remember that others’ actions are never about us. Our perception is that it’s personal, but it never is. When someone’s behavior seems to be meanness directed at us, it’s coming from a different place. A place that has nothing to do with us.

Try empathy. Imagine that you’ve been in a position where you didn’t act as the best version of yourself. I’m certain most of us would admit having been in situations where we could have been kinder.  

I try to remind my girls to remove the personal aspect of things in dealing with mean girl bullshit. People might leave you out. “Friends” might gossip about you. That hurts, and it sucks, and it’s awful, but it’s temporary. Your actions define YOU, and other people’s actions define them. Don’t leave others out. When people do and say mean things, it’s because they’re suffering with something internally that we may not know or understand. Shake it off and move on. It’s not yours to carry.

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with this. It’s shitty. I encourage you, sweet friend, to hold your precious girl close and remind her that this won’t last. We have all been there. She is NOT alone. Don’t take these unkind actions personally no matter how personal it seems.

Be kind. To yourself. To others. You’ll never regret that.

 
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