I have been reflecting on my thoughts about parenting as of late as my daughter gets closer to the age 18 mark later this year and about to start senior year of high school.
From one mom to another you are going to make mistakes. Know it now and move on. Do not dwell on your assumed failures (which are really not, as long as you are trying you are ahead of the game)
Children do not come with instruction manuals on a USB drive in the delivery room (that would be so helpful) and every one of them are different.
Face it now that you are going to barely survive their teenage years unscathed. You will get a gray hair or two and possibly a worry line or ten.
Yes, you may need a counseling session or two. You may find yourself reading self- help books on “How To Raise Your Teenager” as well as following Circle of Mom blogs for advice such as curfews. You may question yourself as to “Am I becoming an alcoholic?”, after needing to unwind after this week’s crisis. (and no your not, Have one drink, breathe and move on to the next crisis) Reminder: Mood swings and hormones take on many forms and many neither of you may recognize until you are in the thick of it.
Teenagers are the porcupine with the sharp quills that you must be careful of. You must respect the quills, they have up to 30,000 and you never know when you may say the wrong thing for them to unleash. (Yes, I got that from a counseling session and it was the best advice EVER, Sometimes I see her as the porcupine when we are arguing and I scale it back)
I have only one biological child which has made it even more pressure on myself to not screw her up. If you have two or three at least you have a good chance of at least one of them being sane and practical. My eggs were literally all in one basket.
Will she be smart, practical or rebellious? Will she like sports, music or art? Will she like my dance moves and my laugh or just make fun of me? You have no say in the matter whatsoever and can change daily.
Will I ever know the “right” thing to say when she is sad or angry to make her feel better? The words always seem to escape me in the crucial moment as hard as I try. Did I miss that gene? Sometimes nothing needs to be said, Just Listen. (Can I rewind 2 years please?)
You are going to fight occasionally. You may drift apart but they will return to you as long as you have laid that foundation that you will always be there for them.
Keep that connection going, it can be something as small as driving them to the dentist or sharing a meal and asking “What’s new?” Make them feel important and that you care about what is going on with them in their lives.
Sometimes the mother/child similarities sneak up on you. How a sappy commercial or life story comes on TV and you both get chills or come close to tears. (cue Grandma Tala’s spirit as a stingray in the Disney movie Moana). How you see her mommy skills come out when she sees an adorable child and feel relieved that she will be a great mother one day. (Your heart swells with pride and you can say I had a role in that) Yes you did, Savor those moments.
Part of your role as a parent is letting go. Letting them make their own mistakes. That right there is probably the hardest. They really do have so much more on their plates these days with society and social media. It truly is NOT like how we had it and sometimes it is hard to relate. It is hard for them too.
As my daughter grows up I hope I have done my job in teaching her humility, endearment and to be self-reliant.
Will she be an adult at 18? (I had to look that up on Circle of Moms) Nope, the role of independence and responsibility is one that takes years to master. I am sure she will be testing her boundaries as well as my buttons but she knows I will always be there.
She has my heart. Always will..
To one mom to another…. Just Breathe…