Hello and happy Thursday! This is a Thursday that feels like a Friday which is so nice. We don’t have school tomorrow. Since we still have a couple of weeks left until spring break, I’ll take the extra day off!
Recently, on Instagram, Ashley was answering some questions and one of them was “What do you miss most about your kids being little and love most about them being older?”
This question really “hit” me…To be honest, I’d say this past year (2022) was probably the toughest parenting year so far.
First of all, I have teens now. That’s probably all I need to say. 😂
That being said, last year started with a health issue for Hayden. While we were pretty certain the source of the issue, we still had a few months of uncertainty and tests to rule out major issues. My “mama heart” stayed worried during that time which of course caused me to feel stressed and anxious. Thankfully, things are much better now, but it was a hard season of worry to navigate.
Also, I think I’m just very aware of how quickly time is flying by. Recently, I said to Hayden, “I can’t believe I only have five more years with you all in the house with us.” His reply: “I can just live with you when I’m in college too.” Well, that’s the thing…I don’t necessarily want that either…You know, I want to get them to the point of independence. Of course, if they are in school and want to live at home for a year or two, I wouldn’t say no. It’s just I know I need to maximize my time with them while also raising productive members of society 😉
I also think Travis and I have done a good job setting boundaries and expectations while also giving them some independence as well. Now, do they give us credit for doing those things? Not always! 😂..,but I know they know we’re just trying to help them in the long run.
They like to take turns keeping me on my toes. Truthfully, I know that most of what we deal with is “normal” middle school behavior. That being said, there have been some trying times and season of growth. Again, it’s probably typical “growing pains” (literally and figuratively), but sometimes I just feel like I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong. Also, since I’m with teens at school all day, I try not to let my patience be spread too thin at home after a long day, but sometimes that’s hard. Thankfully, Travis balances me out. I feel like we make a great team.
And…we are just very busy. I always say, “blessed to be busy,” but this is just a very busy season of life. There aren’t many nights when we are all home for dinner at the same time, and sometimes I feel like I only see the kids when they are just waking up in the morning and tired or very late at night when they are tired as well. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just fussing at them to use their time wisely or get things done. Then, there are nights they do everything they are supposed to when they are supposed to, and that’s amazing!
So, when thinking about the question…
What do you miss most about your kids being little?
When they were little, they loved me so unconditionally. I miss that. I miss them sitting in my lap. I miss their little voices. (A Facebook memory popped up with a video of Hayden’s little 2nd grade voice, and it stopped me in my tracks). I miss them wanting me to read to them, toothless smiles, and much more.
I feel this deeply:
If that meme doesn’t sum up thirteen year olds, I don’t know what does!
What do you love most about them being older?
Of course, I enjoy who they are now. I can really see who they are becoming as people, and I love it. Also, it is nice that they have more independence and responsibility. They can pack a suitcase with minimal help (I still provide a list!), they can run into the grocery store with my debit card and pick up a few items we need, they can turn the lights off if I go to bed before them, I can trust them with their friends (I hope that’s always the case), and I’ve enjoyed seeing their relationship develop through the years. (Of course, if they want to quit fighting in the bathroom in the morning, I would be ok with that too!)
Anyway, I’d love any words of wisdom from those with older kids. I’m trying to enjoy this season the best that I can. Thankfully, they still hug me and tell me goodnight. That’s the good stuff, for sure! It just feels like they went from this…
in the blink of an eye!
11 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts”
I feel this deeply. My kids said similar things to Hayden about living at home. Now that I’m here, I can tell you that it’s not as bad as I feared. They appreciate us more now and they say thank you all the time now. I wrote a post for Wednesday called “Adult-ish Relationships” and it just felt too personal and vulnerable to post. I didn’t want to post it and have our relationship change because of my putting it into the universe. Of course, you are in the thick of heavy duty parenting and I remember thinking I needed self-esteem classes for that stage because you feel really bad about yourself a lot because of the stage you are in!
Listen more than you talk, ask if they want to vent or want advice, try to get into their interests/shows if they want you to, drop everything (within reason) when they want to hang with you…were some of the things I said I was doing in the non-posted blog post.
I am so sorry about the health issue and glad it is better.
You are doing great!
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Thank you. I’m trying 😆 there are days I go to bed and think “that was a good day” and others I think “tomorrow will be better.” Nothing major just some days very little time with them or I have to fuss about something I don’t want to fuss about, etc. you do such a great job being with your boys. I love your coffee dates 🙂 sometimes I think I’m hypersensitive to their behavior because I see kids at school who clearly never received any love or discipline. Anyway, mine are at a fun age…& I have to remember that. I think they are handling middle school way better than I did😆
It does happen so fast doesn’t it? I wish I had words of advice… but I’m realizing that we are not the typical family with “normal” teens here. Having homeschooled them all we have a really close relationship that helped make the teen years (so far anyway!) a real breeze– especially since 2 of them have/are homeschooling through high school as well. We have had zero angst, attitudes, or fighting (though they do bicker and fight with one another). In fact I could easily say these past few years have been my favorite parenting years ever.. though I do miss those newborn snuggles, those deep baby belly laughs, the crazy toddler antics and logic, and the adorable elementary school/missing tooth smiles.
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I miss toothless smiles! I’m going to add that to the list. A friend just showed me a pic of their niece with a toothless smile and that’s exactly what I said. You are super mom to home school, and that’s so special to have that time with them. I did embrace the year we were home for school. I loved helping them, making them lunch, having time for other activities, etc. I always love reading about your family 🙂
Oh Jen- this was so beautiful to read and I am tearing up here at my desk. So much of what you shared is resonating with me for my oldest as we are in the same season- 14. There is so much I miss about her being little BUT I am enjoying so much of the independence too. I enjoy our talks more now too. It is crazy, life….it goes by so quickly and as someone once told me “the days can be so long but the years are short”…how very true.
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That saying is so true! I think I “panic” sometimes because my two are the same age. We go through big milestones two at a time…I’m trying to savor this special time with them even during the challenging days haha
Loved reading this post. I felt like it was a tiny slice of your heart. It also reminds me to really enjoy those things about kids being little. I always love the reminder because there are days it gets lost in the exhaustion of being needed for everything. ☺️ They seem like wonderful kids. I’d love to hear your advice sometime on navigating some of the more typical teenager situations!
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I just stay buckled up 😆I am grateful that my kids seem receptive to what we say and our love. They’ve always been so different but really so during these teenage years
This post resonated with me so much! As a mom of older kids (young adults,) I find myself looking at old pictures and remembering what it was like when they were little ALL THE TIME. Like many things in life, I only seem to remember the sweet times. There were bumps along the way in the teen years, and my advice would be to listen and now sweat the small stuff. On the other hand, if you notice small changes in the “wrong direction,” don’t hesitate to step in and try to redirect. Now that they are young adults, it’s more about watching them find their interests and become independent. A favorite part of my relationship with them is seeing them have a strong sibling bond even as they go their separate ways in adulthood. I might share your post on my blog sometime…it’s a good one!
I agree with you on all of that. This parenting teens thing is NO JOKE!! but it is fun to do big kid things with them. I miss the snuggles and sweet voices and NAP TIME! Oh goodness do I miss nap time!! Enjoying each season is definitely the goal!
My daughter Lauren always swore she would buy the house next door to her childhood home and build a tunnel between it and my house. The houses were actually so close we could almost open the window is each one and pass things back in forth. No tunnel needed.
But I married PC and sold my daughters’ childhood home and moved into a new house with him. And Lauren grew up and moved to Houston. Then to Albuquerque. And now she is back in El Paso and it is wonderful.
Hope your babies will be close to home, too, when they settle down.