This stage is crap!

All through the life of my kiddos, I have adored every stage and age.  In fact, whenever people would say to me “don’t you think this stage is the best of all” I could ALWAYS answer “YES” no matter what stage it was, because they were ALL the best. 

From the newborn still-smells-like-heaven stage, through the toddler might-survive-if-they-can-stop-running-into-walls stage, up through the intensely curious preschool stage and the fun stage of elementary school where I finally had these two little PEOPLE who I could joke with and talk to and basically convince that I walked on water in my spare time.  All of it was pretty wonderful, actually.

And then we cut to now.  Where my oldest is fifteen and is desperately caught between childhood and adulthood. 

And I am basically useless to him. 

When he craves independence, it’s to be independent of me and my protection and my influence.  When he makes a big change in his life, I am sometimes the last to know.  And when he craves solace and comfort, I’m not a candidate because I “just can’t understand” what he’s going through. 

Seriously??  I can’t understand the person I pushed out of my body and have spent basically 24/7 with since that moment?? 

THIS is a stage of the process that I could honestly do without.  If you are in this stage as well, I send you my sincere condolences.  If you still have years before this stage, then please – – by all means – – enjoy them!

Someone wake me up when we get to the NEXT stage, please.  Or just assure me that along with this stage comes an extra layer of skin that I will soon grow into, okay? 

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17 Responses

  1. I can relate to everything you just said. It’s a lonely place…which is making this particular stage of my life feel like crap too. It’s “rut city” as far as I’m concerned! Thanks for blogging this and giving me a chance to vent a lil’ frustration too. I hope my “new skin” comes quickly before I become insanely depressed. Ugh!

  2. I’m sorry you’re going through this. To be honest, I have had several times where the stage has been crap (maybe that will prepare me for teenage hood, but I’ve not been prepared yet so I doubt it). 3-4, awful, 7 – just before 7 1/2 similarly awful, we just seem to be getting back on keel. James is an intense, push me, pull you kind of kid, who can spiral badly when he’s going through an emotional/physical growth.

    The more I type, the less I think I’ll be prepared for teenage hood. Maybe I’ll take up drinking.

  3. I’m right there with you, Topsy. When I lost my coolest person ever pin, I’ll never know.

    PL is really stretching his wings and moving outside of DW’s & my worlds, making friends that have nothing whatsoever to do with who we know or what the three of us do together. I love it and hate it at the same time.

    I just keep looking to all the hs’ing moms who have older teen/grown sons and know that they went through this stage as well. It comforts me.

  4. While I still have my coolest person ever pin, I am gritting my teeth and preparing for the time, in the near-ish future, when I get stabbed repeatedly with it and left for dead!

    Actually, the process started this past summer when my nine-year-old called me a geek. He was quite serious, and it hurt until I realized that this is a stage of life he’s got to go through, and it won’t be pretty, and I will just try to love him even when I don’t like him very much.

    I plan to rely on a somewhat eccentric combination of chocolate, alcohol and yoga to get through the worst of it. Maybe that would work for you too!

    Chin up, my friend, this too shall pass!
    SAT

  5. This indeed is a tough time. I have found that I have had to entirely change my concept of my “job” and role as parent now that both my kids are in their teens. But in retrospect, if I had had this same outlook all the way through, things would have been much better from the beginning.

    What is that attitude?
    That it’s not my job to make sure they do the right thing or turn out right. My “job” is to make sure they are in a safe and loving environment so that they have the opportunity to learn from their inevitable mistakes. They need to try and succeed or try and fail, but just not so badly that they can’t pick themselves up and try again.

    The more I have let go, the more space there has grown for my oldest to be himself and grow himself without fear that I will take over. The more I tried to be part of the process, the more he had to push me away.

    It is incredibly hard to stand by and watch my oldest (17) make mistakes that will cause him pain and suffering, or make things more difficult for him down the road. But unless I let him make those mistakes and experience his own efficacy in dealing with the consequences (and taking full credit and reward for the good choices)–he won’t develop the strength he needs to stand on his own.

    I’m still on the look out for signs of life threatening dangers that would require my intervention, but I am otherwise very hands off. He is in charge of himself, and I am in charge of making sure we continue to have a relationship. (He’s too busy building himself to be interested in that right now, and yet I know that it is important for it to be there when he;s ready to come back.)

    Just my experience.

    • Wow, Beth – – wise words! This is definitely something I’m working on! The hardest part for me is not voicing my opinions – – because believe me, I have ’em! But every time I do, the void between us just gets bigger. Thanks for your comment. I’ll definitely take it to heart.

    • Wow, great reply. It’s true, but hard to live it, I think.
      I have a plaque that says:
      First you give them roots, then you give them wings.

  6. you have left me frightened!!! 😉

  7. My oldest is 19 and lives away from home. She calls me to chat, we make dates to catch up…its MUCH better than the teenage years.
    The rest of my kids are 12, 11 and 9…I MIGHT live through their teen-hoods…if I drink…a lot. And I keep in mind how much better it is once they are OUT on their own.
    It really does get better 😉

    • Stace – – I forgot to say that I would LOVE to hear from moms who have been THROUGH this stage and actually lived to tell about it! Thanks for piping in with that encouraging news. It has given me true hope today…

  8. You know, they say the closer you and your kids are, the harder they have to try to break away from you.

    I try to remember that when my 16 year old daughter gives me that look, walks into her room and shuts the door!

  9. I get the worst of both worlds. My daughter is not doing well through this stage. She gives me the look and shuts the door on me, and then months later tells me she feels unloved by me because i dont spend time with her. She tells her therapists I’m a lousy mother and then tells me she doesnt want to talk to me. Well, then there are good days when she wants to talk and tells me she has a cooler mom than the kids she knows. I just wish she had some freinds . . . she’s not figuring this stage out at all. sigh.

  10. Have I told you lately…that I love you?? Yep, the whole LOT of ya! Thanks for putting a smile on my face where there has basically been a frown plastered over the last week.

  11. RE:The hardest part for me is not voicing my opinions – – because believe me, I have ‘em!

    Oh don’t I know that one!! My opinions are so strong that for years I crowded out my kids having any…in spite of giving lip service the to importance of them needing to come to their own conclusions. I am still paying the price–my son doesn’t want to discuss much. But the better I get at just listening, the more often a tidbit slips out.

    They (teens) really aren’t that different than us. They want to be respected and loved and appreciated.

    During one blow up over sharing household chores, it came out that what my son really resented was being told what to do. I felt like he owed me the little bit of work I was demanding in return for all the things I do for him–but I went out on a limb and said, “ok you don’t have to do anything. Let’s talk about what would be helpful and a fair contribution, and then I will leave it up to you as to whether of not you actually do it ” (stuff like dishes, taking out the trash, and other various contributions to the scut work of living.) And then I added, let’s see if this works for both of us….a trial of a couple of weeks and then lets talk again.

    Never had to revisit it–and the chores are getting done.

    If I hadn’t taken the time to really listen, and then have the attitude that its the relationship that matters–not the chores– I don’t think I could have ever let go, and I never would have enjoyed this satisfactory result.

    And things aren’t without bumps and problems–but it is helping tremendously to stay focused on the relationship and looking for win-win solutions. This method doesn’t come naturally having been raised in a very top-down parents-are-the absolute-boss kind of family–as I suspect that most of us with teens probably were.

    Glad I stumbled onto this site–thanks to Rational Jenn.

    Best wishes.

    If they only could really know and experience just how much we love them…..

    Beth

  12. I have to say that we have moments of “Will either of us survive this??” – but they tend to be short lived. Thankfully. Or I’d need more tequila. And chocolate. Which I still can’t believe you’re giving up for Lent. Crazy-woman 😉 I have a sneaking suspicion that these moments will become more frequent and last longer as he gets older, but for now I’m happy to live in denial!

  13. ah, yes. It’s hard to go from Rock Star to garbage collector in one day. I went through that with my youngest, but now, at age 16, she thinks I’m cool again, which is a big relief. Just remember, you ARE cool, no matter what they think. It just takes time for them to realize it again.

    Love your writing style. Always makes me laugh and appreciate life, no matter how rotten it might be. 🙂

  14. You all are scaring me. Mine are only 6 years old, but I’m keeping Beth’s words in mind. Topsietechie things will be alright.

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