Hear me out.

My internal battle of I-don’t-feel-like-having-this-conversation-for-the-seventeenth time vs. these-kids-need-you-to-show-up is a rager.

For the last thirteen years my days seem like an unrelenting game of whack a mole. Once upon a time, the game’s objective was to tie the shoelaces of three kids that don’t want to stop running around before school or playing the role of disgruntled spa manager at bath time for the same three wiggly kids. Lately though, I’m turning from one child to the next checking in, extending guidance, instituting discipline, offering encouragement. Sprinkling practical life lessons like confetti hoping that some scraps land and stick. There are lectures upon lectures regarding the benefits of good dental hygiene and my standard, carefully crafted monologue about the power of reputation.  Please, don’t even mention the ‘h’ word…

Easily 80% of my parenting energy is now spent TALKING (the other 20% is spent driving) into the dark abyss that is my adolescent children’s minds. It’s dizzying and I am so tired of hearing my voice echo. No longer soothing the cries of babes, it is still my voice that is the constant soundtrack of my household.

I know what you’re thinking…stop micromanaging. That’s just not it. My kids have a lot of autonomy as helicopter parenting has truly never been my style. I believe whole heartedly in natural consequences and instilling the values of alone time. However, I am often in awe of what they can’t (or won’t) do without some oversight. Walking my 13-year-old through the routine process of putting away leftovers takes at least 2500 words. I find myself saying phrases like: “Don’t turn your brain off yet.” and “Problem solving is fun” and my favorite, “Put your shoes, on it’s raining”.

In addition to all the everyday tasks they need to learn and practice, there are the trickier situations, like squabbles between friends or getting in trouble at school, inappropriate use of technology or being disrespectful, that require a healthy dose of parental intervention. These conversations result in a special kind of exhaustion because not only are they met with either silence or an indignant attitude, but I also don’t know the right answers to their questions, and there are no quick fixes to their problems. I do not have the answer key. I am relying on my life experience and the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my mom friends and personal library of child psychology books and while both valuable, I don’t actually know that I’m leading them down the right paths. There is no one to tell me that I’m doing a good job because the results aren’t in yet!

We’ve all heard the phrase “big kids, big problems”. I can recall exactly how much my back hurt, how much I was sweating trying to scoop my big baby’s car seat up while simultaneously holding my toddler son’s hand when approached by a more seasoned parent who offered that commentary to me with the implied message being…just you wait.  Well, I hate to admit that, that Karen was right, but here I am, veteran mom status unlocked and dealing with all those “big” problems I thought were eons away from reaching my doorstep.

One thought on “Hear me out.

  1. Always an insightful share. So many things pop up with no easy solutions… you are on it… the balance of structure, discipline and love is such a tightrope walk…


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