Tag Archives: parent

The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You

My two are not yet teens. They may act like teenagers on occasion, but they are only 2 and 4… I have the terrible two’s and the fournaudo…. 😉 love them dearly and would not change them for the world 🌎 but they do sometimes test boundaries. As do most kids.

I have many friends and also family members with teenagers and pre teens. This is such a lovely write up that is an insight as to how they may be feeling.

Teenage years can be tough. For both parents and the children. There is a lot of discovery happening of emotions, feelings, personal growth etc.

Luca Lavigne wrote a beautiful post not so long ago about his feeling through his teenage years. Well worth the read. As is the below.

June 23, 2015
The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You

Gretchen Schmelzer

Dear Parent:

This is the letter I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

Love, Your Teenager

© 2015 Gretchen L Schmelzer Ph

These dark circles and wrinkles? Yep—that’s my motherhood showing.

I love this.

Such an honest, relatable, open and beautiful read. 💕

These dark circles and wrinkles? Yep—that’s my motherhood showing.

by Beth Clark

Jumping into my car the other day, I caught sight of myself in the rear view mirror. Both kids were buckled into their overpriced car seats and we were heading somewhere distracting during a cold Canadian day.

I stopped a few seconds longer to study the woman I had become.

Familiar blue eyes still looked back, but they were cuddled by dark shadows and tickled with both heavy and delicate lines extending from every angle. I realized I truly looked as tired as I felt that morning and sunk deeply into my seat with a sigh that mourned the shadow-less face I once knew.

These thoughts of exhaustion shining through kept nudging my mind that day, and I caught myself intentionally trying to look in windows and mirrors to see if my appearance magically transformed to one of refreshment and not one that proved I hadn’t slept through the night in over four years.

No such luck…I looked like someone working hard. I looked like a mother.

That evening, I closed my eyes while sipping my wine and reflected on the daily actions that deepen these lines for parents everywhere.

Getting up every night to the calls of “Mama” or “Dada” to feed, cuddle, comfort and soothe our children back to sleep. It’s really a precious treasure to be the one who meets our little ones’ needs in the darkest hours.

Frowning as we watch our children practice a skill that could easily be expedited with our help, but understanding their need for independence and autonomy to become their own person…especially a stubborn 2-year-old!

Laying in bed, unable to doze off, thinking about our children’s current challenges. Trying to think of ways we can change as we are often the ones with a problem that they have sadly started to model.
Smiling at our kiddos, or smiling when thinking about them…because man! We do this a lot, don’t we?

Laughing along with our little one’s nonsensical jokes and their sweet sayings.

As the list grew, my mind reached a verdict.
I am a mother.

I sacrifice. I love. I laugh. I cry…sometimes a lot. I think. I hardly sleep. I worry. And I smile…once again, a lot.

Motherhood influences me from the inside out. My heart is showing on my face and my heart looks worn, it looks tired, it looks weathered and like it puts in a mega-load of hours…because it does. Hours of care, hours of concern and hours of cuddles.

I am OK with my heart being visible. I am OK with fine lines showing my love. And I am OK with shadows declaring that my nights are spent nursing and nurturing. I may try to drink more water and use a better moisturizer, but next time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror I want to remember my motherhood first and foremost. I want to appreciate the proof of my full heart displayed around my eyes.

So Moms—be encouraged! Your motherhood is showing…and it is beautiful!

Love in wrinkles and in lines,
This Mum
*Hashtag no filter*

Why moms are heros – by Rachel – Finding Joy.

To you, the mother.
To you, perhaps the tired mother who wants to throw her hands in the air and have a good cry over the frustration of the day but can’t even figure out what exactly made it so frustrating. To you the mother with littles who need you 25 hours in a 24 hour day. To you the mother, in whatever season of motherhood you may be in who needs a reminder about motherhood. To you, the mother, who might wonder if all of this mothering stuff really does make a difference.

Well, it does. And here is a small reminder of why.

You see, you are an amazing being. You get up before dawn and go to sleep well past the setting sun. And often, you stay awake through out the nights – waking to the cry of an infant or the whimper of a toddler with a bad dream or up watching for the teenager to return home. You, even though you’re tired, wake in the morning and put a smile on your face and look at those little ones who kept you up through the night and whisper to them I love you. It’s a love that isn’t dependent on sleep or looks or agendas. It’s a mother’s love.

You cook and bake and clean and do it all again. And again. And again. So often when there’s nothing in the pantry you can work your magic and pull a meal together that gets the cheers and hoorays of those sitting around your table. But you have thick skin – often the meals are met with noses turned and sighs and little ones telling you they really don’t like whatever you lovingly prepared. And then, dear mother, you negotiate and barter and set limits and hope that they eat at least two bites before they wash it down with the diluted half milk half chocolate milk mixture.

You are the chief problem solver. You can handle any argument – whose turn it is to unload or load or if one kid is bothering the other way too much. You have limits on name calling, yelling, fibbing, and teasing. You have mastered the art of counting to ten – in a row. You know when to step back and climb the stairs and sit on the floor in the bathroom and count to one hundred and then come out with a renewed sense of energy. And even if you don’t have you just push through. And sometimes, it means pbjs or pancakes for dinner – and then your kids think you’re even cooler.

You budget and drive and clean. And laundry? You breathe it. Day in and day out and day in and day out. Those mystery and long lost socks are no match for you the sorter, folder, and organizer. And even when you get behind you still joke about taming Mount Washmore even though really, really you wish for just one week where you didn’t have to fold all of those clothes. But, deep down, hidden in there, you know that this is a season – a sweet season – where the onesies, blankets, size 2T socks, soccer shorts, and leotards get to be in your wash. So you breathe deep and try to remember the value and sweetness of these fleeting years while you fold the stack of wrinkled t-shirts.

You, dear mother, are amazing. So often you look at all others are doing and then you measure yourself with a stick that is much too short. You’ll look at all they do and miss the amazing things you do. No one knows your kids the way you do – their quirks, sense of humor, and how to finally get them to stay in bed. You know when to just ignore the noise and keep on talking. You know them. You go to bed exhausted and wake up tired and yet you still give and do it the next day because you love the ones who call you mom.

You need a reminder today, a reminder of your greatness. And so today, to you the chief budget keeper, problem solver, sock folder, rocking chair rocker, temperature taker, sitter up till the teen gets home, sweeper, toy sorter for the tenth time in a day, listener, driver to and fro, cooker, cleaner, medicine giver, tamer of the laundry, repeated reader of books, and giver of self you need to remember that what you are doing today makes a difference.

It matters.

Motherhood matters greatly. The littles or middles or bigs in your home look at you. Their mom. They see the good – the way you give, the sweet things you do, the meals you make – and they love you. You deserve to be loved. And sometimes, sometimes they forget to tell you. Sometimes they yell at you or don’t obey or say things like I hate you and all of that. Those things don’t define you. Instead of quitting you just keep going. You go through sleepless nights, tight budgets, crabby kids, worry about tomorrow, homework being lost, times being sick, more sleepless nights, and all of the above plus more. Those tender hugs from years passed matter just as much today as do those moments where you want to whisper I quit but instead keep going.

That is my definition of a hero.

You are a hero.

Every single day. When you get up and rise and love on those kids and give of self. Don’t ever listen to the lies of the world that tell you that you are only a good mom if you do x, y, and z. Motherhood isn’t graded by the number of pinterest projects completed, or clever facebook status updates, or perfectly executed birthday parties, or the number on the scale. Motherhood isn’t this quantifiable thing – it’s not graded by everything you accomplish, but rather is a beautiful example of giving of self and loving even when the reserve tank is empty.

Your heart gives everyday.

So you, sweet mother, today I want you to move through your day – no matter how your day is – and remember that you are making a difference. Those kids who seem forever young will grow. And you, you are the one blessed with today and the time to walk that growing up journey with them. In all the bumps, twists, turns, and ups and downs no matter what you are their mother.

And that is something to be absolutely celebrated today.

Carry on hero.

~Rachel

The lonely parent.

I know most think that being a parent, has you doing many play dates and mummy coffee catch ups.

Not always, I sometime find myself feeling very lonely.

Sure both my little ones have full schedules of learning and fun daily activities, however I sometimes feel lost within myself and have found that a lot of my friends are too busy also. Doing their own things.

I have an amazing best friend though who is not yet a mummy herself and she is always keen to catch up or make plans.

It’s almost like, once you have children and you become unimportant or not ‘cool enough’ anymore.

I struggle as I put my children first, always and no matter what.

Perhaps I should make more time for myself. To do things without my little ones, but then I feel guilty. It really is a catch 22. For me anyway.

I know they are only little for a short period of time. I want to be there for everything. I want to see their faces as the explore and grow, I want to watch them experience all these firsts.

It’s ok to feel lonely. Your life has changed, mine has for the better as I have two children who I adore. I know someday they will think I’m ‘uncool’ and they will want to be with their friends. But until that time comes, I’m relishing in them, even if it means I sometimes feel disconnected and lonely.

9 Empowering Actions for Lonely Parents

A love like no other.

I love the honesty in this post. Again by one of my favourites. ‘Scary Mommy’.

I sometime feel like I’ve made many mistakes with my little guy, my first born and my first amazing unconditional true love. It’s amazing the love we feel fur our children. Well I know the love that I have for mine. It’s like nothing I have ever felt before, very overwhelming yet so satisfying.

I think I speak for most patents when I say there is no greater love than the love we have for our children.

As a middle child myself I always thought that my mother favoured my older sister and younger brother. One because my sister and mother get along more like sisters and are quite similar and my brother, well he is the baby of the family and a boy.

Much like my little man, my brother us a mummy’s boy. Not that there is anything wrong with it. However I used to curse it, but now that I have my own son, I totally understand and accept it.

I adore both my children but when I was pregnant with my little girl, I had similar thoughts. How can I love another as much? Well I have and I do.

Please read this blog, it hit home for me, perhaps it will also for you!
http://www.scarymommy.com/first-child-love-will-never-change/

 

 

Split families

Split Families.

I visited a friend recently who is in a similar position to myself. She had married a man who has children to his previous wife. 4 in fact.

Being that school holidays had just finished and a few more were just around the corner we were chatting about school holidays and how do they split them and also if she includes his children in in all their holidays.

Her response was very truthful and I agree.

She said they do split them but as her husband works full time and long hours, when his children are with them for the holidays he arranged for them to stay with his parents – the Childrens grandparents, half the time so that she doesn’t have to change her plans or do the running around after them. After all she said – quote – ‘they are not my children and they require a lot of work and it’s also important for them to see and spend time with their grandparents’.

I understand that this may offend some people but I think it’s a smart move. She has a 3 year old with her husband and is pregnant with their second child. She said their 3 year old is her main responsibility and that the other children are also old enough to be self sufficient.

Their ages are varied between 13 to 17. I agree that they are old enough to be self sufficient.

I also know that a toddler is busy and does require a lot of attention.

So when she said that her husband also believes that they should be doing things including ‘alone’ holidays with just them 2 (adults/parents/her and him/hubby and wife) and their child I was intrigued as I know my husband thinks that step children should be included in everything.

I asked why he says they need to do things with ‘just them’ and her response was ‘although he loves all his children it’s important for us to do things alone as our family, we do separate holidays with his children but he understands the importance of us having our time together. Me him and our son’.

I was impressed that her husband understands this as most split families are not as open minded and some have a sense of ‘guilt’ so therefore go over and beyond to try and make the step children or children to previous relationships feel super important and in most cases they get all the attention and are not self sufficient as they are mollycoddled. Or felt sorry for. (See previous post on step children which I write after meeting a family in fiji)

I get each family is different and everyone has different needs.

I also understand children to previous relationships still need to be included in some things but do they need to be included in everything?

Do you see importance of doing things as a family and not always having to include step children or children from previous relationships?

I think in most cases it will help the husband and wife’s relationship as my friend was saying that the 2 younger step children are quite jealous of the 3 year old and if her husband is playing with the 3 year old, the others interrupt and ask the father to do things that they know they 3 year old can do, that way the 3 year old is excluded.

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you think children to previous relationships should always be included in everything?

Should they get special treatment as the parents are no longer together?

Should there still be holidays for the new partner and their children?

Is it important to have separate holidays?

I’d love to hear from you – email me, noordinarymummy@gmail.com

 

Being a step parent.

My husband sent me this article earlier today. He says it’s helping him to understand the ‘challenges’ of being a step parent.

Are you a step parent?

What are your thoughts on this article?

I think it’s defiantly worth a read. So many people are so quick to call step parents ‘step monsters’ and judge the situation.

I personally don’t think it’s anyone’s right to judge another’s situation.

We are all different and we all parent differently.

We all fall in love for different reasons and we all have various relationship requirements.

Some of us can’t help who we fell in love with. Others choose to be more picky with choosing their partners.

I have  friends who would never date anyone who have children to other partners and I totally respect that. Being a step parent is challenging.

Id love to hear your thoughts on this article.

Email me – noordinarymummy@gmail.com

or find me on Twitter @noordinarymummy

or Facebook www.facebook.com/noordinarymummy

http://powertochange.com/sex-love/support-stepmom/

 

Parenting whilst distracted.

Parenting whilst distracted.

I’ve previously written an article on a similar subject but I feel very strongly about it and recently read a very informative article by an extremely reputable paediatric specialist. This was also on SBS recently so I felt I needed to share this information from someone who does know what they are talking about.

Their words are easy to understand and this makes absolute sense to me.

I’m not saying there is no place for technology, we live in a very technologically advanced world, however what I am saying, is that there is a time and place for it.

Our children are only young once. Enjoy the time.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts.

Parenting while distracted.
I’ve been a pediatrician for 20 years, and I thought I’d seen it all. But not long ago, when a father brought his 2-year-old into my clinic, something happened that has me deeply concerned.
Written By Jane Scott
Source The Washington Post
11 AUG 2014 –

I’ve been a pediatrician for 20 years, and I thought I’d seen it all. But not long ago, when a father brought his 2-year-old into my clinic, something happened that has me deeply concerned.

Upon entering my examining room, I found father and son sitting together, eyes downcast, each silently scrolling and tapping on smartphones. During my initial exam, the father directed most of my questions to his frowning toddler, who indicated that his ears hurt, and I quickly discovered that both eardrums were red and inflamed.

“Guess what?” I said to my small patient. “Your ears hurt because you have an ear infection. But we can give you medicine and make you better.” I smiled at the little boy and his father. Immediately, the child picked up his phone and pushed a button. “Siri,” he asked carefully. “What ear ‘fection?”

At age 2, a few minutes on a smartphone isn’t a big deal; screen time is a part of growing up today, and most parents try to set appropriate limits. But when a child so young turned to a machine for information instead of to his father, it made me wonder: Just how limited was his parents’ screen time? What I saw was modeled behavior — a child who has learned that when he has a question, Siri, and not Dad, is most readily available with an answer.

It’s hard to say for sure based on this one moment, but there can be no doubt about the larger trend: Parents today are probably the most informed and involved generation in history. And, yet, in the company of their children, they often act as though they’d rather be someplace else. That’s what they’re saying when they break eye contact to glance at their push notifications or check Facebook when they think their child’s distracted. The parents are present, their attention is not.

In my practice, I see evidence every day of how such inattention affects kids. It’s expressed in temper tantrums and separation anxiety, and older children who resist discipline. Most parents are taught that this is all normal, that children are biologically wired this way. Not exactly. Yes, all of this is normal attention-getting behavior, but it often is preventable.

Consider the results of a March study by researchers from Boston Medical Center who carefully observed caregivers and children at fast-food restaurants. Out of 55 caregivers, 40 used their mobile devices, and their absorption was such that their “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.” In many cases, the caregivers expressed irritation when the children tried to get their attention. One observer watched a woman push a small boy away as he took her face in his hands in an attempt to get her to look up from her tablet.

It’s possible all those adults were following an urgent work email thread. More likely, they were on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. A 2011 Nielsen poll found that people with children use social media more than those without. Maybe these adults were reading an article shared by another parent. Maybe they were making plans with friends and family. But they were definitely communicating to their children that they were less important than whatever was on those devices.

This might seem absurd to today’s parents, who feel like they give themselves to their children in ways previous generations never imagined. But the undivided attention that children need from us is in jeopardy. Most people just don’t realize how much time they’re spending online; what feels like a few minutes is often a half hour or more. When we are with our children, we need to be with our children — not with them except for the part of us that’s reading emails, tweeting and checking Facebook.

Another reason for parents to put down their phones: Though Facebook may provide community, it can also promote competition and unreachable standards of perfection. Through Facebook, we read an endless litany of our friends’ boasts about their children. It’s enough to make a person wonder what she’s doing wrong because her child prefers plain pasta over the curry special or “Old MacDonald” to Chopin. Though most parents would say they’re not competitive in this way, many worry privately that they might be short-changing their kids.

Social media has a place and a purpose, but too many parents are creating unnecessary stress by trying to be in two places at once, while modeling to their children that online relationships take precedence over real ones. In an era of constant distraction, we must decide what’s more important: heeding the constant ping of our devices or telling our children, in word and deed, “I am listening. I am here. And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”