I’m keen to process this new stage of parenting that I am in – where all my children are now teenagers… to relish the stage that I am in…to relish the little ordinary moments that happen on a daily basis that it is easy to take for granted!
I’m also keen to share the positives of having teenagers for all those parents who are feeling daunted by the process and to share the great bits about having young kids that I miss so if you are in that stage of parenting you can relish it too!
What I love about having teenagers…..
- They sleep-in! This is glorious on weekends and in school holidays – to wake up when you want to wake up and to even have the house to yourself for an hour or two!!
- Their sense of humour, the laughs…
- The interesting new music…feeling up with the times again when I know who that singer is!
- The movies and tv shows you can enjoy together…
- Their exuberance, energy and pursuit of their passion/s – it’s exciting to be around
- The way teens find their place in the world by questioning every belief you have ever had – I find this really difficult/ irksome but it has certainly made sure that I analyse all my beliefs and the evidence I hold for it – at times I have been persuaded to even change my beliefs…a little!
- Hearing your own words come back at you (‘that’s a bit judgemental Mum’) and being frustrated yet also in awe that your years of teaching has worked!!!
- As they get busier with their own lives you have permission to get busier with yours – with pursuing your passions & interests…you have more time!
- They can cook!
- The spontaneous dancing just because the music is good…
- The creative things you have to think of to make doing something with you sound exciting!!
- Being pushed out of your comfort zone to do something scary adn risky with them!
- Their confidence in telling you exactly how they feel about you – and feeling hurt yet also feeling in awe that they can express their emotions like you never could!
- They can get themselves to school & back…you have a little more freedom!
- It’s actually quite fun embarrassing your teenager – like dancing down the shooping aisle and watching your teenager cringe with embarrassment!!
- They are very helpful with all technology!!!
- Somehow if you ignore their bedrooms the house stays cleaner – less toys!
Of course it’s not all rosy – I think we have had arguments in our house about sleeping in on a school morning, inappropriate humour, clash of tastes in music and movies, too much energy, constant debates, addiction to screens, feeling criticised as a parent, as well as a meal of two minute noodles not classifying as a meal, not to mention our food bill…..but it is great to reflect on how all of these points above have brought in immense positives into our house too!
What I miss about not having little kids anymore…
- The warm welcome as you walk in the door – smiles, hugs, kisses
- The willingness to go on an ‘adventure’ – you can sell almost any outing as an adventure!!
- The soaking up your beliefs, your way of doing things without too much questioning…yet!
- The simple fun that can be had in simple everyday activities…no need to try too hard to get a laugh!
- The going to bed early (if you are lucky!) – and time in the evenings to chill without kids…
- The ‘I love you Mum’….the tenderhearted affection going both ways…
- Hide and seek, chasey and sandcastles
- The being able to share a bathroom – no locked doors or privacy being number 1 concern!
- Your kids are your biggest fans!
- Cuddles and reading stories and reconnection before bed
- You can keep up with them walking, running, riding, swimming…
- You can also pretend to lose in board games / card games and your ego stays intact!
- The quick recovery from a meltdown….the warm smiles quickly afterwards…
- The ability to pick up a small child and take them with you even if they are reluctant to come!!
- The ability to use a hug to calm you and calm them….
- The look that says you are the best Mum in the world….no doubt about it!
- The ability to keep them in your care….safe and well and to choose what you want to do for holidays!
- The ability to schedule your weekend to suit you and your schedule…
Of course having little kids isn’t all rosy either – I am amazed even though it isn’t long ago that when I get all nostalgic for the younger years I only remember the rosy moments….I forget the sleepless nights, 5 am starts, the multiple tantrums on any given day, the constant monitoring for safety and never finishing a sentence let alone a conversation, the inability to find 5 minutes to myself, the constant teaching of a rule (e.g. don’t throw food) and the constant meltdown as the food was thrown…
It was thinking nostalgically about when my kids were little that made me realise at some point in the future I will think back nostalgically to when my kids were teenagers – a reminder to appreciate what is here and now….and to realise that the tough stuff comes with the good stuff…..and it’s the good stuff I want to acknowledge as it is happening and remember it!!
As Tim Urban said ‘the joy you find on 100’s of forgettable Wednesdays’ – is the joy that counts! This is what leads us to feel we are living a happy life – it’s the simple small daily events that often we take for granted until they are no longer there… Brene Brown talks of families who have experienced trauma and she siad it is always the little everyday moments that they miss most and feel most grateful for?
So I’m wondering what is it about parenting your kids right now, at their age & stage that you love and appreciate? 🙂 Can writing a list like the one above help you to feel more grateful for those everyday ‘forgettable’ moments that add up to living a happy life?