Parenting a tween

28 November 2018

Dear friend,

Life has been a bit hectic lately. I’ve started working more. We’ve had new routines to get to grips with, big lad started his new secondary school, little man’s been struggling to come to terms with Opa’s death. We’ve been stuck in the merry-go-round which is our life going through the day-to-day just getting on with things, you know, like you do, just keeping on going.

Occasionally things happen to bring you back down to earth with a big bump. I guess that’s what’s happened now because the last couple of weeks, when illness knocked me off my feet, it gave me time to think. Pressing the pause button has enabled me to recognise that I’m feeling stuck.

My safe and cosy family bubble has changed. It is like I went to bed one night with my family and woke up the next morning living with another. Okay maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. But living with a pre-teen is pushing me to the limit.

 

As I hear the words; Oh my God how embarrassing, I’m not singing to Sinterklaas, coming out of my son’s mouth I question my parenting skills. Now that his belief in Sinterklaas is over, have I built a lasting memory, have I given him the best childhood I could? Did I do enough, make it fun enough, was I enough?

Shopping trips are boring and going into the city can’t compete with a Fortnite tournament with friends.

Every day begins with the question; What are we doing today? And then; Do I have to come?

I dangle a carrot in front of his nose; Let’s go to the zoo, have dinner at your favourite restaurant, go and see that movie that you wanted to watch. I’m desperate to keep the connection alive. Only to be brought crashing back down to earth with one simple question; How long will we be?

When he deigns to come along, he is with us but at the same time not. Focusing more on the world held in his hand, tapping away expertly on his mobile phone.

I’m left mourning the days when, we jumped in the car and headed off on weekend adventures. It didn’t matter what we did as long as we did it together. Now we are stuck in arguments. I’ve heard myself yell; Put the bloody phone down, are you part of this family?

I’m hurting from the rejection. With every barked, angry retort my best by date is looming. I can feel my parental shelf life dwindling like a bargain item in the supermarket.

I am also confused by the conflict of interests I’m feeling. Whilst I am mourning the end of family time as we knew it, I am also delighted that it is happening. I wanted him to have friends, to have independence, to have a ‘normal’ life. In the early days of his autism diagnosis I could never have imagined this moment. I am proud of his rebellion.

Nobody tells you when you become a parent that it’s all consuming. When they are small you are their world. They need you, want you, can’t live without you. But equally no one prepares you for the time when you are not. Did you know that they grow up?

What will this new parenting phase mean for me? I want to be a good mum. I am prepared to put my feelings aside to give him more of the freedom that he craves. But that doesn't mean I won't miss what we had, won’t miss being needed.

I am an imperfect mum but I love unconditionally. I hope that is enough! 

If you liked this post then please feel free to share on social media or drop me a comment. Thank you!

12 comments

  1. I feel you! That constant questioning voice, have I done enough, been enough, taught them enough? I recently wrote a similar post and yes let's hope our love was enough to lay down the foundation for them to have a wonderful future as they grow up so fast xx #MIXITUP

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    1. Oh yes Mac I remember that post. I agree, we can only hope we've taught them well. Thanks for your comment xx

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  2. #thesatsesh you are always enough. He is enough. I would readjust your stabilisers - he doesn't need them. He doesn't need them because your seed has grown into a mighty oak, step back and I promise he will step in again (Fortnite games pending obvs)

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    1. Thanks for the advice hun, I am sure you are right.

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  3. You sound like a great mother - don't beat yourself up. I had two great parents and was one of seven kids running wild on a farm. I think we all flourished under a regime of benign neglect, but there in the background were the parents who you knew would walk over broken glass to save you. Kids need to know you have their back but not their brain.

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    1. Oh I like that! I am going to share that lovely pearl of wisdom with him. Thank you!

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  4. Oh goodness Catie, I am looking into the future and can see that I will feel exactly the same as you too - parenting is blooming hard and seems doesn't get any easier. Sending lots of love xx #thesatsesh

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    1. No it doesn't get easier it just changes Hayley. xx

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  5. Oh lovely, it must be hard, but it must also be part of how you're preparing him for the world - sending love - and thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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    1. My Pleasure 😊 Thank you for hosting & for your comment 🌈

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  6. I am so close to this same time you are experiencing, and I dread it! I do know that you are one very wonderful mom and you have taught me many a thing or two from all the way, across the miles. I hang on your words, and I want you to know big lad is doing fabulous! And doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing -- and that hurts, or I aimagine it hurts like hell. Sending you a great big hug! xoxo #mixitup xox

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  7. Thanks Hun I appreciate that hug. Have a very happy holidays. 🌈

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