It’s not January 1st, but it’s my birthday and I have to admit, I have neglected Role Mommy for a long time. Perhaps it was because my kids aren’t little anymore and frankly, I just don’t feel like a “Mommy” anymore. Way back when I started this blog, a friend of mine said I would outgrow the “Mommy” role and I never expected that to happen. But dear readers, it did. But that’s okay, because Role Mommy is back. I’m committed to writing more on my blog in an authentic voice. I’m going to talk about things that might be tough to deal with as parents. It’s not going to be all rainbows and unicorns. It’s going to be about real life because as our kids get older, the stakes are higher and we can’t sugar coat the fact that everything is going to be fine because frankly, it’s not.
I’m not a helicopter parent – in fact I pride myself on providing my kids with the tools and training they need to succeed. If they were interested in a sport, I signed them up for a team or lessons. If they were interested in the arts, I helped them hone their skills by guiding them towards a program that would cultivate their talents. Every step of the way, I am trying to be a “lighthouse parent” – helping to guide the way for my kids but not micromanage their lives to the point where they feel like I am forcing them into doing something that they don’t want to do.
When it comes to colleges, I have to admit, I have tried to convince both my kids to give my alma mater a shot but both of them have made it pretty clear that UMASS is not going to make the cut. And while that bums me out, it’s okay because it’s not my life, it’s theirs.
Both my kids are as different as night and day. With a girl and a boy, I juggle with a range of emotions practically every day. Anxiety, stress, depression, one word responses, ups, downs, you name it, I’m like a baseball shortstop just trying to field the plays as they come in. And trust me, it was so much easier trying to get my kids potty trained and walking than it is to manage teenage rejection, angst and anxiety.
The one thing I do know is that communication is the key to parenting. If your kids are hurting, you can’t just sugarcoat it and tell them it’s going to be okay. You need to listen to them, share your own personal experiences but validate what they are feeling. I’m still learning as I go but I’m trying and that’s all I can do at this point.
So, welcome to Role Mommy, the teen and empty nest years. It’s stressful, it’s scary and it’s not easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.