I rarely blog about my older children anymore. It wasn’t a conscious decision, more like just an organic process of life changes. The parts of my heart and mind the older kids consume now is more private, held more close. It’s not that they asked me not to write about them; they love being “on the internet” (what they call their photos being on my website – mercifully, they are unaware of blogs and social media just yet). It’s not even that I decided their antics should be more private (even though they probably should).
I think it’s almost as if my feelings about them became softer and more vulnerable.
This is a weird feeling to notice in myself since I have blogged for 10 years next month. My oldest is about to turn 12, which means I started blogging when he was a toddler (and yes, I blogged about him!). I have always felt strongly that every story should be my story, mine to tell — not me telling my child’s story. But in sharing my story, I also was a narrator of their stories by default, because I was intricately involved in their stories and they in mine. I shared much about them, asked for advice, vented, shared a lot of our lives — even though most of the whole story was kept private. I love that I have these digital journals about their early lives. I really do.
So as everyone has gotten older, my telling of my stories has turned into less about their antics or struggles and more about me as a person. My own antics, if you will. Almost as if the progression of motherhood is dealing with the little people, then dealing with yourself, and then finally dealing with the teenagers.
There is a chunk of motherhood that is just about you and you growing and healing and changing and it’s completely needed before you take on the task of the tween/teen/young adult raisin’ up. I feel like there are many sisters out there who are poised and ready to share their experiences with those of us coming up in the next wave.
How has God shaped you so you could shape those kids who are turning into teens and then adults? I want to know. I need to know.
Today it struck me yet again how much more exhausting parenting pre-teens is than parenting preschoolers. I can break up bickering 3-year-olds in five seconds, but tween bickering and fighting can take much longer and an endless amount of mental gymnastics.
I told my boy that being kind was like heaping hot coals on his brother (who is currently his enemy). I had no idea if that was a bad thing to say or not, but I just really wanted one of them, ANYONE, to stop being mean to the other. Someone had to be first. So hey, son, does hot coals on your brother’s head sound tempting? Well, guess what! You can do that with kind words to him when he is being mean to you…yeah, I’m not sure that adds up. But it was all I could come up with in the moment. Hopefully the takeaway is still on point.
And friends, I didn’t intend to talk about this topic today — I had an entirely different post about parenting in mind (one that ended with my victory and my illuminating words of advice and everything tied up with a beautiful bow). This post doesn’t end that way, because, well I just haven’t really talked about how hard it is to parent kids when they start having real MINDS in the game, and I haven’t written about it, and I just need to say out loud that it’s really hard.
We aren’t in the weeds, but I cannot remember feeling more ill-equipped and clueless than I do in this season of parenting.
Those of you who have older children — what are your tips for other moms in the same transition age (tween/pre-teen) that I am in? Those of you who still have littles, are you feeling that season of personal growth come upon you yet?