The Art of Mothering (how it looks from here)

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I have been reading some great blogs lately, seeing some great images of toddlers and babies, reading descriptions of life with those littles. It does take me back, some of it all to well, the sleepness nights, shared bed, bed swapping, constant company, questions and conversations and the joy and heartbreak of motherhood.

I am however now at a very different stage of parenting, one that I haven’t read many blog posts about at all. I have two teenage daughters, I am the mother of teenage girls and I’m going to give you  a glimpse of how things look from here.

For starters, it’s harder to get cute photos for your blog because they have to approve the photos first, which means they have to be wearing the right clothes, be looking gorgeous ( which they always are anyway they just don’t realize that) and probably not have their faces showing. They also may well read your blog posts (sometimes even edit them for you) so you have that in mind too. But there’s lots more….

L plates come to mind, we have a learner driver in the house and just as she is learning to drive, she is learning to be an adult and I am learning how to be a parent to someone fast becoming an adult. This is a time when it is vital that she practices not only her driving skills, study and do all that’s required of her by school, but practices being an adult. Being an adult means making your own decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions. It means you learn by your mistakes, and gain rewards from your choices and hard work. So as a parent, it involves for me some stepping back a little, still being here for advice and consultation, but ultimately aiming for supporting her in the decision making , goal setting and choices which will mean she creates a life for herself which is rewarding and satisfying….. to her. That’s the crux, it’s about them!

So it’s been a gradual (not always) process to get to this point, one thing is the same, I am learning as I go, learning to be the kind of parent that I am proud to be.

You probably have heard that Teenagers think they know better than you, well sometimes they do think that and sometimes they do! Mine certainly know a lot!!! But as a parent you know they don’t know it all yet and knowing when to step in and when to step back is the line you walk everyday.

So far from being a time to dread, I am finding it a most rich and rewarding phase of being a mum. I am reaping some of the rewards of the relationships that we have been building for the last 16.5 and 14.5 years. We are watching and marvelling and admiring what wonderful people our girls are, with more pride and love than ever. We are watching them become young women, making great choices, with lovely friendships and their own sense of style, their own passions. I am enjoying their company, their input into my life, their support of me choosing to live a more creative and adventurous life and their love for me which is different from when they were two but the same because it is still them loving me.

Anyway, cuddle them tight, because I know it seems like a long, long time away, but it really isn’t. It comes quicker than you can imagine. For me anyway it’s like the days of heartbreak when they cried, and hung on to my legs desperately not wanting to me to leave them at kinder (which resulted in my sobbing in the car) have  transformed into days where I get a peck on the cheek and a cheery wave as they head off to their busy lives. Today I’m going with my eldest to Melbourne Uni open day, in two years she’ll be preparing to finish school and get out of this town I Imagine. And I’ll be the one sobbing, but I’ll also be cheering her on. Heartbreak, joy and love that’s what it’s all about.

I’ll leave you with a quote:

“The Art of Mothering is to teach  the Art of living to children”      Elaine Heffner.

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20 thoughts on “The Art of Mothering (how it looks from here)

  1. Perfect post Emily! As you know, I’m at that stage too in my parenting. It’s been lovely – the stories, the cuddles (which I am still given quite happily!), the laughs. Not all of it has been easy – they’ve both had health issues but they have both handled them with amazing maturity. They each have a wonderful group of supportive friends and I’m looking forward to watching them navigate life after school. We’ll be at Melb Uni open day too! Have fun!

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      1. Yep, we still do the tuck in! Last night, however, I got the tuck in – feeling a bit under weather I was told not to get out of bed because I ‘looked so cosy!’ Very sweet!

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  2. It is true there are not many posts about being the mother of teenagers. I sort of wrote one last week and I have plenty more written in my mind. Living with adult children is a whole different ball game for sure, one I am certainly struggling to learn the rules of. One day at a time is my current motto.

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  3. Oh I loved this. I am not there yet (mine are 6 & 4) so it is so great to get a glimpse into the future. Especially such a positive one. Teenagers get a bad rap, I reckon. It is also wonderful to see evidence of a relationship that is obviously reaping the rewards of earlier cultivation – I can only hope I am now planting the seeds that will stand me in equally good stead. Thanks so much for sharing. x

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  4. I don’t want to wish my little ones early year away, but I can’t wait to see their potential. Oh, to have a conversation that doesn’t involve my toddler shouting at me or asking why about anything that tickles her fancy. The lil fella is just uttering “mum” at the moment (yes he said it before he said dad).

    Just let me know girls aren’t all bad as teenagers, are they? Because my two year old girls tantrums have got me fearing her adolescence.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. xx

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    1. I know what you mean, they just keep you so busy when they are little(and sleep deprived and exhausted). Then they grow up and you do have more time for yourself, and for me that has taken a little bit of adjustment. When they are little you’d like a sneak peak to the future and when they grow up maybe a day or moments to spend with them as littlies again ( just a time travelling machine , that would do it)

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      1. They’re not dreadful at all! My daughter and her friends are delightful – sensible, polite and down to earth. She said to me tonight ‘I really like our chats after school’. Don’t worry!

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  5. Ah yes! I am in this stage too. I found myself saying ‘I’m not parent-y enough for that blog’ (about a blog called Petite Edit!) when someone suggested they should write about me (which I’m not sure they should anyway, but that’s another topic!) So funny that parents of teenagers are a bit more ‘invisible’ in terms of their parenting kudos. It’s such a great and challenging stage, but definitely not spoken about as much as those early years.

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    1. Yes, great and challenging too. It’s probably not as fun to read about! I’ve done my parenting post now, not sure what the next one will be about and that’s just fine. Thanks for popping by Pip!

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  6. Emily, I love this post too! And the name squiggle and swirl (somehow brings me back to Mr Squiggle… ah, memories!) We have teenagers that we host in our home. Currently Miss 15 and a temporary Miss 18. I really enjoy ‘mothering’ this age group. Awesome conversations. They like to be given credit for having a brain… and almost all the time, they do! It’s very different from parenting my 9 and 6 year olds, except for the one thing that remains the same. No matter how you show them you love them, they want to be shown that you do. That’s what I think anyway. I feel much less daunted about the teen years since we have had teenagers with us. Miss 15 will be with us til she finishes high school. We feel very privileged to be part of her life for such a long time.

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    1. I agree Rachel, it is important to keep showing them you love them at every age. You just kind of have to change how you show it along the way. It’s great that you use the word privileged, I feel like that about being a mum to our girls, privileged to be their mum.
      squiggle and swirl is kind of about my creative ability, about playing and enjoying it. I used to watch Mr. Squiggle too, didn’t think about that when I chose the name, that’s funny, maybe it was in my subconscious.

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