Dear Moms and Dads: THIS Is Why You’re Doing All That Hard Parenting Work

I always thought I would be more sad as my kids moved from little to big. That I’d miss the nursing and the carrying and the sippy cups and carseats.

Perhaps I just haven’t had time to miss these stages. In our 12 year marriage I’ve spent 5.25 years either pregnant or nursing. Perhaps the shift of the stages hasn’t been as evident. It’s not that I am glad to move from these stages, it’s just I enjoy the next one as we get to it.

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It’s always sweet and bitter to watch change and growth happen. Some stages are better than others. I couldn’t do the newborn stage again but J could. I could do age four over and over and over again and J would rather poke his eyeballs out. The jury is still out on age 10 and our almost three year old has staked full claim on the littlest little.

Often as a society and within the world we live, we talk about teenagers as if they have just landed from a foreign planet that we’ve never been to.

{We have. I promise.}

But here’s the thing, maybe it’s because I was just a teenager last week {kind of} or maybe it’s because I’m stepmom to teens, but I actually enjoy our teenagers.

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No, it’s not perfect. There’s plenty of conflict and disagreement. Just yesterday morning M and I went head to head over yogurt.

YOGURT, people.

But I often say M is my right hand girl, always ready to help me and loves big and she is always up for a walk or a trip to the coffee shop.

I also love the engaging conversations we have, I love the discourse, I love the political discussions and the watching them come into their own with what they believe and why they believe it. M often surprises me with her understanding of the world around her and the ideas she has, I love that she can articulate what she believes and why. I love that T asks questions about this or that or who or why. I don’t ever want to tell them what to think or that the way I do it, say it, believe, is right. I hope my life speaks those things but they’ve got to come into it on their own. Even if that means I’m singing to worship songs or Meghan Trainor in the driver seat and T’s listening to Eminem on his phone in the passenger seat. I am me and he is he.

We worked through what I like to call the “icky’s” – the power struggles and value conflicts and friend dramas- all those icky stages between 12-14, give or take a year, and we had to work hard. Hard. I remember both T and M being so mad that we would ask questions and have hard conversations and I always said, we will never regret working through those stages.

And we don’t.

Because of this.

Two times today. TWICE. I was doubled over in laughter with T.

At one point as we shopped for his new glasses, I joked about his wrinkled shirt {clearly an effect of him doing his own laundry} and he was laughing as he said we need a new dryer because his clothes are always wrinkled, even though no one else’s are and another guy nearby said, “I used to have that same problem.”

T and I looked at each other and laughed. My eyes were crying, I was laughing so hard and as we left the eye clinic I said, “this is it, T, this is it.”

“What?!” he looked at me like I had two heads as I SnapChat-ed a pic of him to his mom.

This is what we worked for. We made it through the “icky’s” for this. Raising kids you actually like? You actually enjoy spending time with? That want to hang out with you?

It’s pretty much a parent’s dream come true

Don’t dread the teenage years. Nourish the kids you’re growing so you like each other later. Fight them tooth and nail when it matters so that someday they choose YOU over looking at their phone. Do these things, work past the icky’s and I promise, you’ll never regret it.

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Samara Postuma
Samara Postuma is a Christian wife and mom to three little ones and stepmom to two big kids. She blogs about her blended family at Simplicity in the Suburbs.