“You think it’s rough now? Wait till they are teenagers!”
I heard that a lot when my twins were smaller, and I have to confess I believed it.
The thought of dealing with two girls going through puberty at the same time??? That thought terrified me so much more than the double public toddler meltdowns I was currently dealing with.
But those tantruming toddlers are only months away from officially being teenagers, and it’s not looking nearly so scary from this close up.
Sure, there has been difficult things about parenting tweens and I know there will be tricky things about parenting teenagers, just as there was tricky things about parenting toddlers, but there are so many things I’m looking forward to when it comes to parenting older kids.
Ten Things I’m Looking Forward To About Parenting Teenagers
I’m looking forward to…
Sleeping… alone, every night.
For all you parents of littlies who are chronically sleep deprived and wishing for just one night alone in your own bed… there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the older the kids get the better it gets! Sure my kids still wake me up from time to time but that is the exception rather than the rule these days, and my big kids get up on school mornings and get themselves ready with no input from me what so ever. It’s awesome.
Bedtime no longer being a ‘thing’.
Most days all my tweens need is a gentle reminder of how late it is, and what time they need to get up in the morning, and that’s it. No declarations of bed time, no reminding them to brush their teeth and making sure they do it, no having to give them thirty hundred cuddles (though we still ‘tuck them in’), no requests for one more story or another drink. Bedtime is starting to not be a ‘thing’ any more.
While I firmly believe that tweens and teens still need supervision and support, it’s not nearly as constant as when they were little.
I am waiting for the day when I don’t have to get in the water every time my youngest wants to swim, for the day when all the kids can head off to see one movie and I can go see another, when I don’t have to wait around while they look through every Wii game at the shops, and when they are all old enough to stay home on their own and I don’t have to drag whining kids out to the shops to buy a loaf of bread… that is going to be golden!
The older my kids get the more capable they are and the more helpful they are, and it’s awesome. They can do a load of laundry and are actually tall enough to hang it out. They can take on an extra job to earn some money and actually complete, on their own. They can cook dinner from start to finish and even clean up! I am hanging out for the day when my older kids can drive my younger kids places!
A Cleaner House
I remember not so long ago when life seemed so relentless. No sooner had I vacuumed than the floor was filthy again, for every load of washing I did three more appeared, and no matter how often I washed the dishes there was still a pile of dirty ones. It nearly did my head in, but these I am seeing many more gap in the never ending cycle. Bigger kids are less messy, or at least they are more able to contain the mess and better at cleaning it up.
Less ‘toy junk’.
My ‘almost teenagers’ have not given up every one of their toys, but the older they get the more that have consolidated the toy junk to just the things they really love and use. They spend much more time reading, being creative, or being active outside and there is just a lot less of the little bits and pieces. The end of the ‘loads of toys’ era is in sight, which makes me a little nostalgic, but mostly happy to not to be tripping over piles of toys, or trying to find some way to store it all.
The older my kids get the less I have to censor my conversations and I have to say, that is awesome. What is even more awesome is all the interesting conversations we have. I do miss the miss-sayings and cute pronunciation of little ones, but the conversations about world events, and personal stuff, and who should win Master Chef make up for the loss.
I am not sure I will ever enjoy the alternative music that one of my girls loves, but there are lots of other interests we do share. Reading the same books, watching the same movies, liking the same TV shows, I can only see that stuff getting better the older they get. Plus now I don’t have to watch Caillou ever again, and we can snicker together about Mr Maker’s ‘doodle drawers’.
When I can’t find my black sneakers, or I’d prefer to wear some red ones today, I can just borrow my daughters. When she needs ‘nice’ shoes for that event, she can just wear my ballet flats (yes my 12 year olds have the same sized feet as me!). I know mothers often complain about their daughters borrowing their clothes, but I think they forget that it works the other way round too!
I went away for a girls weekend not long ago. It was a monumental feat of organisation and planning, but a few years ago it wouldn’t even have been possible. The more independent my kids get the easier it is for me to make time for myself, which is something I didn’t even know I was missing until I found it again. It’s also easier to spend more time with my husband, and easier to spend more time one on one with the kids. So while I sometimes miss being needed so constantly, having more time has allowed me to r
Everyone tells you to enjoy those early years of parenting while you can, that they are magical and that before you know it they will be gone. And they are right.
Those early years are a special, and amazing time, and you should treasure those special moments whenever you can. I loved being a Mum to little kids, and I do miss those days, but what happens after that isn’t horrible.
Parenting tweens and teens is not some monstrous time that we just have to grit our teeth and hope we survive. It’s different to parenting little ones, but no less wonderful, and no less fleeting.
Lets not paint the tween and teen years in a negative light before they have even begun, because there are so many good things to look forward to.