The older I get, and the older my kids grow right before my eyes, I realize that their teen years are just around the corner. This fact panics me -- greatly, immensely, and stupendously. At one time, when someone blurted out, “Oh -- you think you have your hands full NOW, you just wait,” then followed it with a knowing, almost evil “I know something as a parent of a TEENAGER that you don't know” kind of laugh, I'd run, almost literally.
I may even be guilty of having made the ultimately immature “blah, blah, blah” sound while plugging my ears ... I didn't want to hear all of your horror stories, you parents of teenagers. I didn't want my beautiful, yet still busy and stressful, years with eight kids to be overshadowed by “the dreaded teenage years” you all so badly wanted to tell me about ... because I, quite simply, had my hands full doing my thing as a mom of many elementary school kids.
And, quite frankly, that was as much fun and “horror” as I could balance at the time.
Don't get me wrong ... I am a HUGE advocate of taking advice from parents who have “gone before me.” I've done it repeatedly over the years, with very receptive ears, as my kids have gone from babies to toddlers and then on to school age children. Some of the very best advice I've ever received has come from close friends who observe the workings of my household and offer their opinions on how to handle different situations. I deeply appreciate their willingness to impart their seasoned advice to me, and quite honestly, I lap it up! I certainly don't have all the answers and would never claim to be an expert on the parenting subject -- despite having more than double the average number of kids that a “typical” family has! I just wasn't, until NOW, ready to face the fact that my sweet girls (and then my younger six!) will become hormonal and, therefore, difficult at times.
BUT, that has all changed ...
Welcoming in the year of 2013 and all of its promise (and perhaps a bit of dread and trepidation for mom?) also brings with it a birthday that in one fell swoop will take ME into the realm of parenting teenagers ... times TWO. Basically what I'm saying is ... I need advice and I need it NOW!! Can you read my panic, here? Help me!!!
At this point, my 12-year-old twins are still responsible, lovely, helpful, respectful girls who do extremely well in school. I know that hormones will get the best of them at some point (soon?) and I'll be dealing with some bigger girl issues shortly. And perhaps those issues will come fast and furious -- and may even have the potential to take away my sweet girls and turn them into TEENAGERS who know it all!
I clearly don't know what lies ahead for me as a parent of teens. What I DO know is that with each passing day, I'm embracing this concept, and by October, I’ll be set and ready, as always, to love them right on through it all. They know that, come what may, mom will be there to guide them, support them, and help them, even when their attitudes flare and they aren't so “lovable.”
No worries! I'm already armed with many strategically placed photos of them as fresh faced smiling 3-year-olds to remind me of who exactly is underneath all those hormones and drama displays!
For years, I've signed little love notes to them -- exactly as I signed their love letters in my most recent book, I Just Want You to Know, “Love, forever and always, no matter what, Mommy” ... and the coming years will no doubt put that to the ultimate test.
I'm ready. Bring it on.
Do you have teens? What advice would you give me for my inevitable fate, as a parent to teenagers?
Image via Kate Gosselin