My eldest is turning 20 in a matter of months. Cue all the usual thoughts and times them by, well, 20!
- How on earth did that happen?
- It’s gone so fast
- We made it out of the teens
As any parent of older teens knows, it didn’t really go fast and you never really make it out of the teens. Plus, we know how it happened: one year after another, one month after another, one day after another, one hour after another, one minute after another, one moment after another.
The little picture is manageable
Ah, the moments.
I believe they are truly what get us through all the frustrations of parenting. The big picture is just too big and hazy, but the little picture is manageable.
When you’ve had an awful day with a back talking teen, you cling to the moment when you cracked a silly joke to lighten the mood and they almost, almost smiled. The glint in their eye might have been fleeting, but you saw it and it was everything. It made hope swell in your heart and fill all the cracks that teenagers are so good at detonating.
Do you also do this? I have tried to focus on the little moments since my kids were little themselves. And the bigger they get, the more those little moments matter.
Light up that hope
Some days I have to launch a full-scale treasure hunt to find a single moment to light up that hope. The days when every single thing I do is criticised, or (maybe) worse, ignored by my teens. From the minute you wake up until your head hits the pillow, you feel like you’ve been at war with ungrateful kids who take you for granted.
I know you know those days.
But there is always something to clutch onto, even on those days.
They were kind to the dog, they unexpectedly made their bed, they rang their grandma, they took out the bin without being asked, they asked how you were. OMG, how good is it when our teens ask us how we are?
Or maybe your moment to clutch onto was far more hidden. Sometimes we don’t get a lot back from our teens, even if we’re looking hard.
A kid that didn’t backtalk when you asked them to put their phone away? Or a whole day without complaining? Was it simply a tiny smile across a usually sullen face?
Some days, that’s all we’re going to get and it’s enough to hang our hope on. It is.
Days with nothing at all
But maybe you searched and searched all day and came up with nothing. You fought with your kid most of the day and avoided them the rest. You found yourself unable to even look them in the eye they pissed you off so much. The resentment was strong and you questioned your ability to go on, let alone raise a decent human.
Let’s face it, some days can just get in the bin.
On those days. I like to keep a bank of moments stored away to bring out. The many, many moments over the years that remind us that raising our kids is the best thing we’ll ever get to do. Even on the days when it doesn’t feel like that. Even then.
If you’re struggling with your older kids and every day feels like a battle, I hope you can find solace in the moments. Wherever you find them.