I can remember that newborn smell like it was yesterday! I always knew I wanted to become a mother but this baby was not planned! My first born was a huge surprise to Chris and I. We had barely been dating and though we were in love, we had never had a talk about the future. Jack was our blessing in disguise. He saved me in so many ways and taught me a whole new meaning of love. That was 16 and a half years ago!
Two and a half years after we had Jack, along came a baby brother. This bundle of joy would soon give me a run for my money! I had high hopes that Jack and Joey would become best friends one day but I’d have to get through the years of constant fighting, jealousy and bickering first before I’d get to see that. I remember how hard those early years were when the boys were so young and so mischievous. There were so many sleepless nights, so many dirty diapers, so much cleaning up vomit, managing temper tantrums, constantly wanting to be entertained, breaking up fights, crying, screaming, falling down, stitches, planning play dates, starting school, picky eaters, etc. The saying “Tired as a mother” is so beyond accurate!
So, to all you mommas out there raising little boys, I see you! I see the constant energy, epic tantrums, the Evel Knievel attempts. How many times a day do you have to step on hot wheels or Legos, or get shot with a Nerf gun. Why do they think the couch is a wrestling ring and that I am a Jungle Gym? I can not clean up pee around the toilet anymore! Seriously, “Get your hand out of your pants. How do you get mud and blood out of jeans? I see all of it and I raise you a two teenage boys!
I do remember how hard those days were, or at least how hard I thought they were at the time. I know when you’re in it how exhausting it is. But I’d like to give you a little perspective and maybe a little warning for what’s to come. I feel like no one really warned me about raising teenage boys! If they did, I obviously wasn’t listening. So, I feel the need now, to warn all of you young innocent mommas about to get the shit dropped on them in just a few short years.
So, here’s what it’s like raising teenage boys:
It’s loud and it’s still messy. They’re still full of energy except when it comes to school and home work. You’ll have to beg, plead and borrow to get that shit done! They still miss the toilet seat and you can still find they’re hands in their pants (I wont’ go there though).
You know all of that stuff you use to worry about when they were little like falling off their bike, making new friends, whether they would sleep through the night, how much candy you should give them, are they reading enough books, are they smart enough, etc.
Well, here are a few of the things I worry about now:
Is he going to wreck his car and end up in a ditch somewhere?
Are they going to do drugs or drink alcohol?
Please don’t let them drink and drive!
Are they having sex?
If so, damn I hope they’re using protection!
Please don’t let them be the assholes that sleeps with a girl and then never calls her!
Are they kind to others?
Are they making friends with the right group of kids?
Are they being themselves?
How is he going to get into college with these grades?
What if they don’t want to go to college?
What if they want to go away to college?
How will we pay for college?
Why won’t they hang out with me?
Do they hate me?
Did I screw them up?
Why do they eat so much junk food?
Do they play too many video games?
What if some pervert finds them on the internet?
What are they watching/seeing on the internet?
Am I failing them?
Am I too lenient?
Am I too hard on them?
Why don’t they want to hang out with me anymore?
I only have a handful of family vacations left with them before they leave home!
Will they write a book about how bad I screwed them up one day?
Do they know how much I love them?
What I really want you to know is that I understand how hard it is right now. I get it! But I also want you to cherish those times when you are so exhausted, all you want to do is to go to bed but they want “just one more snuggle.” Yes, even those times that they are literally sitting on your lap while you go to the bathroom- enjoy it. “Momma, push me one time on the swing!” “Hold me, momma.” “One more book!”
It wont’ be long until they don’t’ want you to hug them, they don’t want to hang out with you, you can barely get them to sit down to dinner with you and have a conversation.
You never know when it will be the last time they will hold your hand, so embrace it, take it all in.
Here’s the reality of raising teenagers, the worry is endless and can be crippling if you let it. I’ve had to learn to let some things go. Comparison for one- it has no place in my life when it comes to raising my children. Every parent thinks that their way is best and will give you advice on how you should raise your kids. I’m probably not a conventional parent and my way is different then others. We all have our reasons for parenting the way that we do, so we have no room for judgment or comparison, as long as you’re raising kind people.
I will tell you that I am a far cry from the mother I was 16 years ago. I’ve grown, adapted, slacked a little and learned to worry a little less, believe it or not. No two children are the same and each of my 3 have taught me something new about parenting and the kind of parent I want to be. What hasn’t changed in the last 16 years, is my love for being a mother and the love for my kids. They each make me want to be better and do better. I will never be a perfect mother and neither will you. Just show them how to be kind, good humans and love them unconditional. And pray like you’ve never prayed before!!
Good luck, mommas!