Categories - Motherhood
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Teenagersfeatured

I didn't know true love until I became a mother. I didn't know true fear until I became a mother to a teenager.
JD

I didn't know true love until I became a mother. I didn't know true fear until I became a mother to a teenager.

Teenagers. This has got to be the toughest part of motherhood. Midnight feedings, spit up on every outfit I own, and colicky babies don’t have anything on a hormonal teenager. For some reason, before Jacob (now 18) hit puberty, I was under this delusion that teenage girls were the difficult ones. Ha! I can only laugh my complete and utter ignorance. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great kid; decent grades, athletic (he’s a total jock), stays away from trouble… So what makes these years so trying? I’m going to hate myself for saying this (and even more for writing it), but here goes. There is no longer control over the major aspects of his life. That sounds bad, doesn’t it? But think about it, when our kids are small, they can only go where WE say they can go. They can only do what WE say they can do. They need our permission for everything! We get to assess a situation, and decide if it will be safe enough for them to participate. Now that Jacob is 18, the time has come to let go and trust that I’ve given him enough guidance for him to make his own choices. All I can do is hope and pray that he makes the best ones. I find myself bombarding him with nuggets of wisdom and warnings during most of our conversations – to which I’m sure he’s rolling his eyes, but still manages to squeeze out an occasional “Yeeees, mom”. WTH?! It all happened so fast that I’m now scrambling to tell him everything I know about being an adult! And you know that motherly instinct? Well, I’m beginning to suspect that my own mother was right in saying that it never goes away! My urge to protect him is just as strong now as when it was when he was in diapers! When they’re small, you want to protect them from scrapes, bruises, bumble bees, and mean kids at school. When they’re teenagers, the threats become more tangible – and can (at times) have life-long consequences.  Relationships, broken hearts, negative friends, drugs, alcohol, sex. The list goes on and on. I often ask myself, “Did I teach him enough?” At times, I feel like I’ve somehow shortchanged him due to my own lack of knowledge on the “ways of the world”. Being a mother at the age of 17 was by no means easy, but I’ve always only thought of it from my own prospective. How hard it was on me. How I gave up my youth. It’s only now that I’m understanding the repercussions that my youth had on him. Without real life experience, is it possible that I could’ve taught him all that he needed to know in order to succeed in this world?? Probably not. I guess the key is to just keep talking to him. I’m lucky in that he seems pretty open with me. Actually, I’m now seeing a shift in our relationship, and it appears that there are very few things he won’t speak to me about. Life, girls, peer pressure, they all seem to be open in terms of topics of discussion between us. And I guess my being a mere 17 years older then him makes it easier for me to be frank and honest with him. About all of those things. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be his “friend” per say. That label doesn’t sit right with me when it comes to my kids. I think there should be a distinct difference between his “friends” and me. You can’t always trust friends when it comes to real life issues. What I want is to be his constant source of reason. The voice that will always point him in the right direction – without bias – and with complete honesty, love, and compassion. Letting go of him as a child isn’t easy, but I know it’s necessary. I now look at Justin, who’s recently turned 13, and I start to feel like I may actually know a thing or two…but then again…

2

feeling…featured

guilt.
JD

guilt.

Now that I’m a mother, I’m realizing that there are a number of emotions that I experience on a much deeper level then I’ve ever imagined. Take love, for example. I mean seriously. I never thought that I could love another human being (let alone 5) as much as I love my children. All the time, we hear people say that they’d give their lives for their child – but to really feel that – in a real way. That’s pretty incredible. Then there’s frustration. Ahh yes, you know, like when you’re shopping in the shoe department at Nordstrom’s and your toddler decides to break out of his stroller and you have to chase him around looking like a crazy woman – wearing only one shoe – as he screams and yells up and down EVERY isle – intentionally knocking down every shoe in his path. Then you literally turn around to find that your daughter has somehow gotten her gum stuck in a huge portion of her hair (true story). But if I had to single out an emotion that’s become most prevalent as the years go by, I’d have to say it was GUILT. Yes I said it – GUILT. These days, I find myself feeling guilty over everything. Anything. I feel guilty for yelling at my kids. For sometimes saying no. For helping too much with homework. For not helping enough with homework. For forgetting school functions. For not signing up to chaperone the 3rd grade trip. Guilty for daydreaming of waking up in a quiet home – where I can enjoy the stillness of the moment – and submerge myself in the simplicity of just existing. I feel guilty for, at times, not wanting to be needed (that’s a tough one to admit). Guilt. Does it just come with being a parent? I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. I’ve spoken to plenty of other mamas out there who, for one reason or another, feel guilty about something on a regular basis. When I think about it, it seems like such a useless emotion. I mean really – what good can come from beating yourself up over not being perfect all the time? We certainly don’t judge other mothers by these standards – so why do we do it to ourselves? I’ve decided that I’m going to try my hardest to kick this useless emotion to the curb. I’m sick of feeling badly over stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t mean all that much. In 10 years, do you REALLY think it will matter to your daughter that she had to bring Dunkin Donuts to her class party because you forgot to bake the cupcakes? I’m ready to give myself a break and replace that dreaded “G” word for another – Grace. I take this motherhood job seriously – in fact, it’s become a huge part of who I am. My family is my number one priority, and every decision I make is driven by what (in my opinion) is best for them. But I also know that there will be times when I’ll forget things (damn school party). Or times when I simply can’t sit next to them to go through their homework line by line because I’m cooking dinner and toting a cranky toddler around. In that moment, what will I gain (aside from more grey hair) through beating myself up? Chances are, no one is being hurt in these situations. In fact, I’ve found that most times, I’m the one making mountains out of molehills – wanting to be everything for everyone all the time. It’s impossible. I don’t expect perfection from my husband, kids, or even friends. So why should I expect it from myself? Why set the bar so high, that it becomes unreachable? How about just accepting that I am human. Flawed. And usually have a terrible memory. I’ll try and do better – but some days, I’ll fail. I accept that being a mommy is a huge job. And even though most days are just fine, I know that there will be some tough ones in there as well. Things will get forgotten. I will get overwhelmed. It’s just part of life. And on those especially difficult days, I’ll simply remind myself that these moments are just that – momentary. Today will turn into tomorrow and in my experience, tomorrow will be much better.

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