Dear Moms of Big Kids: What Moms of Littles Need From You

Dear Mamas of Big Kids,

This is hard for us to say because we really do look up to you. You are further down this mothering road than we are, and you have weathered storms we don’t even know are coming yet with your big kids. You have seen and dealt with things we can only imagine (if we can even imagine), and from our point of view, you are heroes. You have done the unthinkable.

You have made it past whatever difficult season we are in now, and we are in awe. Truly. We are.

We stand making crustless peanut butter sandwiches to pack into glittery lunch boxes for the hundredth day in a row, and we can’t imagine being where you are. We sit in endless car lines wondering what this afternoon will bring, and we can’t fathom a day when the relentless battles of elementary school-aged kids will fade in our memories. We collapse onto the couch after the little ones are finally – maybe – asleep, looking over at our husbands with loving exhaustion in our eyes, and we wonder if this season of temper tantrums and power struggles and time-outs will ever, ever, ever end when we have the big kids.

This place we’re in? It seems like it will last forever. We plod on day after day after day, wondering if anything will ever change. Because our little ones….yes, they are growing up, and yes, it is shocking how quickly it happens. But to be honest? Even though we see them growing taller and changing before our eyes, we still feel like the struggles we face each day are never going to pass. The storm clouds of it all just seem to stop over our houses, and the winds and rains keep pounding us until we collapse.

We like to look like we have it together, though. We desperately want to be good moms. We want to do the best we can for our kids, and we’re doing all we know to do. And sometimes we put on a “fake it until you make it” facade, smiling as we kiss their foreheads at car line drop off, not wanting anyone to know that we just screamed until our throats are sore over the ridiculousness of putting shoes on and brushing teeth. (I know, right?) 

We want to look like we’ve got this under control. We want everyone – you, included – to think we’re doing okay.

But sometimes, in this age of social media transparency, we pull out our phones and type a Facebook status that says anything but, “I’m fine.” Sometimes the words that come out are not all butterfly kisses and love notes. No, sometimes the words that come out are quite different.

“I just can’t take it anymore! Why does she give me such a hard time?!”

“The attitude! Make it stop!”

“Whining. I can’t stand the whining.”

And the thing is, they may not sound like it, but those are cries for help. Because on whatever day we are pushed to the extreme of letting down our “I’ve got this” exterior, we need HELP. We need to know we are not the only ones in this topsy-turvy boat of parenting little kids. We need to know that we’re going to make it. We need to know that despite how things may look and how we may feel, we’re doing an okay job and our kids are going to turn out okay in the end. We need to be reminded that even when we do screw it up (because we have, and we will), God is more than capable of restoring the broken pieces to something beautiful.

So when we pour our hearts onto your Facebook wall or Twitter feed, please try to see past where you are now and try to remember when you were where we are before you had the big kids. Because while the teenage years are certainly going to be difficult and the road ahead of us will definitely pose challenges we can’t yet anticipate, we don’t need to be bracing ourselves for those bumps quite yet. We are just trying not to be run off the road today. We are just trying to keep on going in this patch of highway we travel today.

We don’t need to be reminded that the struggles of this phase are minor and possibly trivial compared to the higher-stakes challenges of adolescence. We don’t need you to tell us that things are only going to get worse. We don’t need you to point out that these are the best years of our lives and that we’re going to miss this phase once it’s gone. No, we don’t need to hear that this is just the beginning of an exhaustingly difficult journey.

We’re not in denial about the teenage years (well, maybe). We know they’ll be hard. We know we’ll be stretched when we have the big kids. We know there will be days and possibly weeks (months? years?) when we don’t recognize the sullen, cranky people living in our houses. We know that. We’re not clueless. Believe us, we know.

Jessica Bolyard
Jessica Bolyard
Jessica Bolyard is a truth-teller who writes and speaks with transparency about mental illness and community. Her passion is helping other women discover the common threads that connect us all, and her favorite phrase is, “You’re not the only one.”  Through her spoken and written words, Jessica hopes to lead women toward the heart of God and through Him, to a greater understanding of their place in the world. In all she does, her prayer is that she would be invisible and silent so that God can be seen and heard. Jessica is married to her best friend, mom to the coolest kid she’s ever met, and lover of iced coffee, cats, and colored pens. She lives in Georgia, but her online home is

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