The last few weeks have, from a parenting perspective, been...not great. The kids are older (and as I recently found out, take screenshots of the blog) so I won't go into details, but let's just say that I recently bought a shit ton of parenting books for "work" but really to manage my own stress and anxiety. Side note: If you have any recommendations, please leave a comment!
When you have toddlers and Littles, it always feels so patronizing when older parents look at you knowingly and give you some bullshit cliché like "Little kids, little problems." So I'm apologizing now if I've ever said that to you but I'm also apologizing if I ever rolled my eyes when you said it to me. Because guys? Parenting teens and tweens is NOT for the weak. And I have a theory.
Sleep, potty training, tantrums, virtual kindergarten; these are all pretty universal. Plop me in a room of moms with kids between 0 and 6 and I promise we'll find common ground to lament upon. Put me in the same room, but with parents of 11-16 year olds, and I will not say a goddamn word. Because beyond "OMG the attitude," the problems that we're all facing start to feel a lot more unique, and a more consequential. And because they're unique, it's so much easier to fall into the trap of feeling like you're the only one dealing with it, or even worse (and more honestly) that they're somehow a reflection of our failings as parents. Add into that growing up in a small town where people still remember (and reference) things that happened 30 years ago and you clam up real, real quick.
That makes weeks like we've been having lately feel really, really lonely. C and I do a pretty good job these days of processing things together, but at the same time, I find myself yearning to talk it through with someone who doesn't live in my house. At the same time, I'm cognizant that I don't want my kids to be judged by a moment in time or a situation that isn't presented objectively. No one wants to be remembered as the angsty teen who once screamed "You don't know what love is!" to her mother (or so I'm told).
All that to say, I am so, so grateful for the couple of friends that I have who love, and know, my kids well enough that I feel confident that I can bitch about whatever it is that they're doing and know that it won't change my friend's opinion of them. It has been such a blessing to be able to say, "I don't know what I'm doing and I'm afraid I'm going to fuck it all up" or "It would be wrong to call them an asshole, right?" and be met with a smile, an encouraging word, and a reminder that my kids are pretty awesome, even when they're not.