I recently encountered Jill through the follow function on WordPress.com and am really enjoying her craft blog. Jill has some great things to say about children and parenting, and asked if she could guest post for me. I was extremely glad to let her do so. In her words, here’s a little bit about Jill:
“Maggie May’s Gifts is a work in progress. It started as a way to sell handmade gifts but quickly turned into a DIY blog as well. It represents my love of writing, creating, business, and family (Maggie May is my daughter). I’m a pretty private person, so getting used to the way business is done now with blogs, vlogs, facebook pages, etc., was an adjustment at first. I’m still fumbling my way through everything, but having more fun than ever. I’m living my dream and just enjoying every step along the way.
Please feel free to check out the blog at www.maggiemaysgifts.wordpress.com or “like” the facebook page for giveaways and updates at www.facebook.com/maggiemaysgifts
I hope to connect with you soon. ~Jill”
I read an article recently that was realistic, raw, and actually quite depressing. In the article, a mom shared her experience of her loving, bubbly child turning into an irritable, agitated and “mean” eleven year old, seemingly overnight. Even the simplest sentence like, “You have piano practice tonight” could trigger a snarl and an exaggerated eye roll from the child. She lamented about the forever gone days of tickle fights and snuggle parties. While friends assured her it was a stage and that it would pass, it was still a very sad time for her.
I couldn’t help but feel compassion for the author but I also began for feel fear for my future self. I have two small kids, ages one and three and I know those dreaded teenage years will be here before I know it.
The article made me realize that I need to appreciate this precious time while my kids are still little and I can act goofy and they will laugh, hug them and they will hug me back, and still feel like I can protect them.
Even now with small kids, I have been doing a lot of inner work to stay calm. When one kid is crying and another is throwing a tantrum or darting away from me in a parking lot, it is easy to allow stress to take over. For these crazy, chaotic years, I’ve found a lot of help in simple breathing. When I feel like I’m ready to explode, one long, deep breath can usually bring me back from the ledge.
But the teenage years seem like they will be different. I feel it’s going to take a lot more than deep breaths to feel calmer when teenagers are throwing their adolescent tantrums. By then, they will have developed the ability to be hurtful with their words and they will know how to punish by withholding affection. It will be less about staying calm, as it will be about staying confident.
The way I see it, I will have two options when my teenagers are acting cold, aloof, and hurtful. The first is to take their words and actions personally and react in kind with silence, anger, or hurtful words. The second is to be the adult, remove myself emotionally from the situation and remind myself that it is not about me. Their bodies will be filled with hormones, insecurities and fears. It will be my job as the parent to be the one safe place they can always count on. They won’t know to say this, but they need me to stay calm, loving, and strong while they are in emotional and physical turmoil. They will ignore me, hurt me, and push me away, but only because I am the person that they trust and love the most. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth.
When I look at it that way, I feel myself become more at ease with the upcoming dark days. While I know it won’t be easy, I see my role as the rock in my kids’ lives as an honor. It’s an honor I will take very seriously.
But for now, I will try not to take anything too seriously. I will savor every giggle, tickle and snuggle that I get, knowing that good times, like bad times, don’t last forever.