A couple of weeks ago one of my dearest friends sent me a text asking me if I’d like to go on a walk. It was a rare sunny, warm-ish day here in Oregon and I couldn’t say YES fast enough! We met at the park and set off at a brisk pace. It didn’t take too long before our conversation, as it inevitably does, turned to the topic of our children and the current challenges we face in this particular season of motherhood.
After a few laps around the park we decided to sit down on a bench for a bit and just let the glorious rays of sunshine soak into our pasty white Oregon skin while we continued to chat. “When you are young and you picture yourself as a mother someday, it’s always with babies and toddlers, you know?” she said. “I know, right?!” I replied. “No one really talks a lot about this stage with tweens and teens. And there are some things I should have been warned about!” I added indignantly. We went on commiserating with each other before heading out to pick up from school the aforementioned tweens and teens.
As I sat in the pick-up line, I couldn’t help but think over the conversation. This is a weird season of life I’m finding myself in. I’m out of the ‘little’ kid phase and just entering the teenage kid phase and there are so many things that are taking me by surprise. So many things I wish someone would have told me I might experience.
So, I thought I would do all you mamas who are a little bit behind me a solid.
20 Things About This Stage of Motherhood That No One Warned Me About
- No one warned me that I would STILL be getting pimples when my teenager started to get pimples.
- No one warned me that I would look wistfully at the mom at Target shopping with her little ones and that she would look wistfully at me shopping without little ones.
- No one warned me that when the kids with the mom at Target start screaming I would walk away feeling really thankful I’m not in that stage anymore and smile smugly as I sip my latte in peace because I paid my dues people.
- No one warned me that older kids stay up later and want to hog the TV and totally cramp your style when all you want to do is hang out with your husband or do “other” things with your husband and you just want them to GO TO BED for Pete’s sake!
- No one warned me that it would feel just as satisfying to get a chuckle out of my teenager as it did to get one out of him when he was a baby.
- No one warned me that I wouldn’t be able to decide which is worse, going through adolescence myself or going through it with my kids.
- No one warned me that I would stare at my kids while they were sleeping and still see glimpses of them when they were babies.
- No one warned me that a roomful of middle school kids would smell so bad…so very, very bad.
- No one warned me that I would alternate between really loving having my kid sitting in the front seat of the car by me and wanting to lock him in the trunk because he thinks he knows how to drive better than me at the ripe old age of 13.
- No one warned me that my heart would sometimes actually physically hurt when I think about my kids not being little anymore.
- No one warned me that I would love talking with my teenager about life and faith and politics and cultural issues.
- No one warned me that I would be slightly traumatized the first time I had to buy underwear for my son in the men’s department. Pretty sure it was all of those packages with the pictures of…ahem…‘packages’ on the front that did it.
- No one warned me that I would walk past a playground and not miss spending time there one little bit. #paidmydues
- No one warned me that my kids and I might all be hormonal together but one of us has to suck it up and be the sane one because we can’t all be crazy at the same time. Guess who has to suck it up?
- No one warned me that it would be so bittersweet to see less and less of the amazing little kid they used to be and more and more of the amazing adult they are going to be.
- No one warned me that my teenager would actually dare to call MY music ‘oldies’ music. They are called classics, son!
- No one warned me that hearing how my daughter was mistreated by a friend would bring up all of my own insecurities and struggles with friendships.
- No one warned me that it would feel so strange to enter the decade where you know that you will be launching your kids into adulthood and also facing your own mid-life reality.
- No one warned me that I would feel so incredibly grateful that my husband and I didn’t neglect our relationship when the kids were really little because we are reaping the benefits of that now.
- No one warned me that as much as I miss my sweet babies, I wouldn’t trade this season of motherhood where I am watching them grow into these incredible human beings for anything in the world.
The other day I was talking to a mom who has very little kiddos about how each stage has it’s really great parts and it’s really hard parts. On the one hand, I’m very happy to be out of the stage where I would have to hold down their wiggly bodies to put pajamas on. And yet, on the other hand, I’m terrified about having a teenage driver in just a couple of years. But, this roller coaster ride of motherhood is one that I am so beyond privileged to get to be on and I wouldn’t trade a single second of it.
Except for the smells….yeah…I might trade the smells.
This article originally appeared at At the Picket Fence.