I was asked to do this blog and it’s taken me some time to actually write it. Not just because my life is crazier than it’s ever been, but on some level, I think it’s because if I write about it, it will make it so. “A Mother of Teens” seems so foreign. I am not sure if I have really accepted it. Nor do I know why it’s so hard for me to write it. I was reflecting on why this has been so hard to write in the bath this morning, really my only time to think and just be that exists in my life at the moment. I realized that there are many reasons and many levels to my difficulty with this “season” in my life. Here a just some of them, I am sure there are more that I am not so conscious about.
“So much of my personal life and career has been about pregnancy, birth and parenting children in the younger years. I have a Masters in Human Development with a specialization in Lactation Consulting. I am a lactation consultant. I am a childbirth educator. I am a mom. I had my children young so up until 5 years ago, I was the same age as many of the women I was supporting through childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting in the younger years. This was who I am at home and at work. “
“Despite my efforts to keep my youngest 12 instead of 13, I am a mother of a 13 & 15 year old. This means saying goodbye to being a parent of younger children forever. This feels forced upon me in a way. I resent this on some level as it feels like it was not my choice…it snuck up and just happened to me. Friends and family that know me well, know I don’t take things just happening to me lying down. Because this is not something you can fight, I have been in a bit of denial. So much so that earlier this year, when I went to pick up my youngest at school, I told them he was in 6th grade instead of 7th. I don’t think it was just a slip…I hadn’t really process he was 13 and 8th grade because I didn’t want to “go there” yet.”
“My 15 year old is driving. He is actually a fantastic driver. I am so proud of him but I cannot bring myself to let him drive with me. It’s not because I am afraid for my life if he drives, like other mothers I know of teens. It’s because if I participate that way, in letting him drive me, it feels like I might be acknowledging he is old enough to do so. I see him drive with my husband. I am totally fine with that. But, it can’t be me…at least not right now. I am not ready for that reality to smack me in the face. I know I need to get over it and I will, just not right now. “
“I felt so sure about my parenting skills and choices I was making as a parent when they were 12 and younger. This 13 and over business…I feel like I am second guessing myself every minute. Things seem so gray and so situational. Do I let my 15 year old ride public transportation into Portland with friends to see a movie, go to the coffee shop and get dessert? This is laced with all the possibilities on what could happen if he goes and the emotion of how much regret I would live with if something went wrong and I let him go. The guilt of knowing I have never taught him how to navigate public transportation. Then the realization hits that I have 3 more years to teach him all he needs to know to survive the real world. Yikes! “
“Girls are a whole other aspect of this whole thing. There is no getting around this one now. They are coming to the door, they are texting my sons, they are Instagraming pictures of them with my sons, they are Snap chatting pics of themselves with enticing captions to my sons, and there are too many of them to count. I am thinking to myself, was I a good example of what I lady should be? Are they going to choose wisely? Are they going to have healthy relationships with ultimately a wife that loves and respects them? Are they going to be good husbands and fathers? Most importantly, are they going to marry wives that are going to be good moms? My grandbabies WILL be breastfed, right? “
These just are some of many experiences I have had of late with internal dialogue. I am not accustomed to second guessing my decisions. I am not comfortable with these feelings of self-doubt and worry. This is not me. I have not ever lived in this space. Nor do I want to continue to do so. I want to go back to being a parent of 12 and under. I knew what I was doing in that space in time. I am a Parent of Teens and a leader for my health care organization. I am no longer in contact with young families on a regular basis. I am experiencing this change in identity at work and at home. I conscientiously made the choice to make a career change to impact families in a more macro way. Being a mother of teens was not a decision I made, it just happened. I think that has been the hardest part. I am trying to celebrate this change and get comfortable and confident in this space in my life. I think it’s going to take me some time. I am constantly reminded every day that I have 4-6 more years with my family of 4 in this nest before they will be moving on with their own lives. In my mind their success leaving the nest is a reflection of how well I did as a parent. It has been my job to help shape them to be good, productive citizens that gives back to society. But, it’s still also means that reality of them moving on is right around the corner and I have so much I want to do with them between then and now. When they were little, it seemed like it this reality was so far down the road. Now it feels like it’s right at my door step. So, my husband and I are very focused on making impactful memories with our family of 4 so they can carry those with them when they leave the nest. It’s a race with time. I need to embrace being a mother of teens because this ride is short. I am on a short roller coaster ride and instead of just hanging on, I want to make the most of the ride, whether I chose this ride or not!
Lisa is IBCLC certified since 2007 and Lamaze Certified since 2010.
Mother of 2 teen boys & Laila her dog (the only other female in the house)