Someone once told me the first child is a like a product test or lab experiment. My first son’s journey from angelic child to moody pre-teen is being closely watched. It can be compared to a first child’s framed sonogram photo to the second child’s that was used as book mark in a novel you never finished reading. Only this time the attention placed on child #1 is not as warm and fuzzy as it was 13 years ago. The first child is not a template for the next kid, he’s a blinking caution sign and the smart second child adheres to the warning.
Being a second child myself, I have no problem admitting that I learned many a life lesson by watching my older live through things first. Not saying it’s fair, just saying that’s the way it is.
My having sons adds another dynamic to this teen-aged thing. Boys are a lot different than girls and anyone who tries to argue that boys act the way they do because they are conditioned by their environment has probably never raised boys. Never in my life have I announced an upcoming onslaught of flatulence or laughed at one the way my sons do.
When my eldest turned 13 last week I have to say I was thankful to see that he has already begun to show me the man he is to be. Yes there has been some rough sledding but so far it has served to smooth the way as he makes his passage. It’s almost sad to me that our culture does not have a formal ceremony that honors males going from boy to manhood the way the Jewish religion does. Maybe there should be a ceremony for moms and dads too for that matter. Just as your child has never crossed this path before, neither have you as his or her parent and surviving it is cause for rejoice.
In theory we can all wrap our brains around the fact that by age 12 our children are moving from childhood to adulthood, the hard part is accepting that transition with grace and sanity.
While I’m in a good place, because trust me, it can change at any moment, here are 13 Reasons Being a Teenager’s Mom Rocks.
- You did it – Before the village gets involved with raising your child you can take solace in this miracle you and that special person created together. Every time I look at my son, who amazingly almost stands shoulder to shoulder with me, I am reminded of the first perfect thing his father and I brought into this universe.
- Your purpose is more defined – The more independent your teen becomes, the more he needs you. If a life altering and even fatal mistake will be made it most likely will be between adolescence and early adult hood. When your kids are small you are mostly teaching, guiding and supervising. When they become teenagers you are actually parenting, policing and praying.
- You are forced to face your imperfections – If you do anything, say anything or wear anything wrong, your teen will be the first to point it out to you.
- Hugs and kisses matter – When they’re young, you may be inundated by outward expressions of love. But when those hugs and kisses become fewer and father between they mean a whole lot more.
- You become less judgmental – I now take back 95 percent of everything I ever said about other people’s teenagers.
- You’ll never say what your child won’t do – Even though you and your mate created the aforementioned miracle he is full of genes and chromosomes from mom, dad, your parents and his parents and when you mix it all together no one really knows what it is until it’s completely done.
- You’re wanted – No matter how many times he tells you he doesn’t care whether you come to his game, his play, his school’s open house, etc., he wants you to be there.
- You can hire them – I’m so blessed to have my son assist me. I look forward to him rolling with me to various book signings. It’s caused us to gain a new kind of respect for each other as we began to see each other in different roles. And the fact that I can trust him to use my credit card machine and collect cash is priceless.
- You’re an influencer – When your teens see how hard you have to work to get them the things that they want, it not only makes them respect you more – it strengthens their work ethic.
- They re-educate me – I didn’t know I had forgotten so much of what I learned in school until my teenager hit 7th grade. He lives to stump me on any subject but mostly math.
- We dream big together – With job opportunities, athletic and academic opportunities, funding opportunities, travel opportunities and networking opportunities, being a youth today is just bursting with possibilities! At 13, my son and I can now dream big dreams together.
- We encourage each other – I no longer have to pretend that every moment of my day is filled with roses and sunshine. I can share some of my difficult moments without the fear of traumatizing him for life. He encourages me and gives me a hug as I have done for him throughout his left.
- We enjoy the same movies – Disney movies are great but being able to go to the occasional semi-adult PG-13 movie has been liberating! As a single mom with a demanding career, a lot is sacrificed.
If you’re like me, you’ll love parenting your teenage son. And you’ll enjoy watching them grow up. Focusing on what you appreciate helps to smooth out the hormonal rollercoaster that seem to be riding at times.
Share in comments what you appreciate about being the mother of a teenage son!