Parenting is hard.
We all hear sentiments like that all the time. We listen to speakers trying to glean information they can share. We purchase books hoping that someone who has walked the road before us can help save some heartache.
But that’s not how it works.
The heartache is part of the journey.
Everyone’s heartache is different.
What may feel crippling to some, is just Tuesday to others. But the pain is there.
As a mom, I have several friends who refer to it as “having my heart walk around outside my body.”
I think at some point, we all come to the same conclusion:
We have no idea what we are doing. None of us. Not a single one. Neither did our mothers, and their mothers before them.
Every single mother on the planet is operating on the same plan. We are all on the “Fake It Until You Make It” plan.
We learn from those around us.
When my kids were little, I would find friends who were a stage or two past where my kids were. If they seemed to have navigated my current phase successfully, I would adopt some of their habits. If they struggled, then I would try to avoid those habits, (keeping in mind that their kids were not my kids and that they all react differently).
The plans that we set in place when our kids are babies, the goals we have for the parents we want to be, sometimes are able to be seen through to adulthood. Others change or are modified.
The goals of the mom that I thought I would be, were drastically rewritten when my kid’s dad and I went through a divorce.
The days of being a stay-at-home mom, a classroom mom, a home after school everyday mom were over.
My kids and I went through the transition of me going to school, finding a job, and settling into our new routines.
I learned really quickly that parenting teens through a divorce and afterward is hard. It seems to be uncharted territory.
There are not a lot of mom-blogs that I could find to help through that.
With each of my older children, there has come a point where we are at odds. It is usually somewhere between 12 and 14 when they feel that I, and the rest of the world, am against them.
It caught me off guard with the oldest, but I have been slightly more prepared with the next ones.
When that day comes, I tell them 3 things:
1. I love you.
2. I am nothing but proud of you.
This is not dependent on action, circumstance, grades, performance or any other temporary status. I make them understand that I am proud of WHO they are, not WHAT they do.
3. I am 100% “Team _______”.
Again, this is not based on action, and cannot be earned or lost.
I then repeat one or more of these sayings to them in various situations.
The hope is that in the times when they don’t feel it, or the times when the world does not make sense, they will know that their mom is on their side.
I am hoping that even though I am certainly messing them up in my own special way, and I should probably start a fund for therapy in the future, that they will know they are loved.