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.