My parenting story isn’t cute anymore. It’s true. I’m in those years of parenting that just are nitty-gritty-not-redeemable by instagram. It’s the middle years and the teenage years and the young adult years and friends, it just isn’t cute.
It’s a great deal of no sleep, but not due to waking babes, but me sitting up waiting for them to return.
It’s a great deal of worrying and wondering and hoping and homework and tests and sitting in a car while your heart is pounding out your chest while you’re yelling “brake brake brake.”
It’s a great deal of amazing talks and deafening silence. Oh the silence. No one told me about the silence. Who would have thought that there would be a day when I wished for a bit of noise?
It’s a great deal of feeling alone and wondering, just like you did when they are young, if you are making the right choice. The choices, the choices, that part never seems to end.
It’s a great deal of waiting and cheering and hoping and trying and worrying and letting go and being brave.
And it is just not cute.
There are no longer cute sleeping toddlers or fun crafts or goofy faces. There are no longer the fun costumes or times pushing swings at the park or all of them in the car, strapped in, with silly songs on.
Hah, now the music is their music and the memes things that I’m like, “I just don’t get it….”
It’s just different.
And just because it’s different doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It matters so much even if it isn’t as Instagram worthy. It matters so deeply in the most un-cute way.
It matters in that I am still their mom. Their constant, their safe place, their go-to, their person.
You see in all of motherhood it is the simplest things that matter so much – the showing up, the loving, the dealing, the listening, the giving, the caring. It’s the sleepless nights and waiting for texts and loving so deeply.
It all matters.
Years ago I wrote about why being a mom is enough. It still is, even if it isn’t cute or adorable or any of that. It matters just as much and in it all you are enough. You are still enough, more than enough, in this most unseen and often lonely place of motherhood.
You see the truth still stands.
They need you.
They need you in your tired, imperfect, showing up, loving them unconditionally, setting the rules, being their mom way.
Maybe you are more tired or the pics are just you or you are feeling alone. But you see, you are the pulse, the life, the love.
You are enough.
It’s a season. A new season. And even though it looks differently, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It is just different, with love that deepens and pride for them that grows. It may not be as adorable, but oh my goodness, the depth and the ups and downs and letting go – it is all there.
This season, this not-so-cute season matters.
And so do you.
who still is hoping for sleep…that part stays the same.
Thank you for this. I still have one little, so I have some cute crafts, but much of my time now is spent in high school parking lots waiting for a young man whose picture I am no longer allowed to take except for special occasions. But the mothering is even more important now. Now, not just anyone can see his heart. Like when that first girl broke it, or when someone important to him called him dumb. Now his choices have lifelong consequences, and I don’t feel seen anymore. Thank you for seeing me.
We can’t always share on Instagram, but at least we know we’re not alone in what we experience with older kids.
Rough times lately- thank you for the post
What a great article so much in fact all that was written as looking back back while reading is so true to the
Lives Of my children and myself Mum’s just go with the stages (as I was told many years ago they have through life So so true but worth it in the end Enjoyed reading your article
My mom sent this to me tonight. She just spent a weekend w my 14 yo daughter and myself. Nice to know I’m not alone either I’m so glad she sent it. The last few months have been rather rough
So struggling right now. This was nice.
Thank you. It’s so tough, and I’m just entering these years with my eldest. I miss the little girl, but I am so proud of the young woman I see emerging.
I so needed to read this today – thank you.
Life’s cycle. Mothers care, that is natural.
You’re right you never stop being a mother no matter how old they get car far away they live you will be always there yes it hurts when you feel you don’t they don’t need you but deep down they do and they don’t even know it and you’re right they always come home to mom when they need you and you do feel a lot because you don’t hear from 4 months days weeks it hurts when you don’t oh yeah get a dumb text that says hi Guess one hand yellow saying hi when you really want to know what’s going on in their life and they don’t want to tell you it hurts but then they come home to Mama I love my children inside and out they’re my backbone my love there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my children my heart and soul lives for them besides the Lord goddess ❤️💙❤️ I need them my children as much as my children need me nothing will ever take their place I miss him everyday they used to call me all the time they don’t sometimes I feel bad and cry cuz I feel so alone but then I have the Lord to look after me and he gives me all the happiness I need until I see my children
Amazing post. I still have the little kid stage, and am scared of the next one to come. Nice to see a little insight.
Such a beautiful story and the author couldn’t be a better person or a better mother think she is loving caring devoted she’s very special I love this story it warms my heart because I know every word is so true coming from you much love to an awesome person and a wonderful wonderful mother
So true! As a momma to four boys, ages 18, 16, 14 & 12, I could have written this myself! I lol back to the busyness of yesterday and miss it! The phase of washing bottles and sippy cups seemed simpler… this week I am buying university text books! And yes, insomnia has a whole new meaning!
Needed this today! Struggling with my 14 year old boy who will NOT TALK to me anymore. At all. I’m eternally annoying to him. It’s so hard!
I agree, its just beginning for me, my son is 13 yrs old and in his last year of middle school! Next year is highschool! I dread that even some people say he should be fine! Am i selfish wishing he could stay in middle school? Hoping my son will be okay?
You put into words what I’m feeling these days. I have six. I’m down to just a “prefers to be alone” 15 year old boy and a volatile (we walk on eggshells) 13 year old girl.
Thank you for this I have kids from 6 to 24. Right now my 6 year old is the easier one. These are stressful times 🙏
I loved the way you describe this stage of parenting!
Thank you for writing this.
I miss my little kids. My husband their father passed away last year suddenly, this month.
They are teenagers, they sre angry and meming and you are right…
The silence, the emptyiness their meaness and my broken heart.
I still think they’re cute. It is just in a different way. I have two teenagers and they are adorable. Even with an experimental smart mouth or an “unintentional” attitude. They’re are living a confusing, complex, scary age and they’re not even sure what’s they’re doing most of the time. I still find them cute. Their friends are too. The stuff they say is also in a way. I think I never really thought the little ones were all that cute. I still avoid the “cute” little ones and would rather sit next to a teenager at a party.
Oh my word! Ugly tears …..3 teenagers boys is the hardest, funniest, heartbreaking at times season I couldn’t have imagined. I see beautiful glimpses of the men they are becoming, and yet could fill a swimming pool with all the rolling eyes and looks of how they are “so over me” most days. All the “Mom I know, you’ve told me a million times”….”Of course I opened her car door and walk her to the house” , “Yes I shook her father’s hand” ……blah blah blah 😌
Most days I’d give anything to wrestle a 3 yr old down for a nap and yet I hold on to knowing they will be amazing men …..it’s just hard to know we’re nearing the end of the beautiful influence we’ve had before they leave the nest! Here’s to enjoying every beautiful ugly moment we have ❤️❤️
I so needed to read this today! I have 4 kiddos right here (17,16,13, and 11) I get it. Totally! Thank you!
Kimberly, I hope everything turned out well with your daughter. I am a mother of an 18 year-old boy and I know it is no where near the same…but…if you need to talk it out, email me. @email@example.com
If anyone has any recommendations for a good online support group for parents of young adult children I would so appreciate it. I am really struggling with my 20 year old daughter. I don’t have parents myself, (mom passed away when I was young and dad left) so I’m not sure how to deal with it. Thank you!!