Mindful Mamas- Parenting Tweens

She gets dressed in the morning early, to ride the bus. Her figure slowly becoming that of a woman and slowly losing anything that reminds us of her younger self. Curves bloom under jeans and t-shirts. Today her outfit (including a pair of beloved, 10-holed, steel-toed Doc Martins I've held onto) is so much like the teen-aged me, that for a moment I am taken back, back to 15, back to 16. But she? Only 11, not even 12. Growing up so quickly that I am blown away.  This. Terrifies. Me.

I feel like I am falling far below the average, into "crappy mama land" I am not fit to parent a near-teen. I am a mess when I think about her, and what she is going through. I am scared for her. I know how hard that part of life was FOR ME, and how lonely I was through the beginning of it. Thankfully she seems to have a few friends to help her through (something I didn't have until 8th grade really) and that is a huge help. But I want to be her friend and... I just don't know how.

I fail at talking to her about things that I am sure she is dealing with. I fail at parenting her gently and leading her through to womanhood. I fail at every turn.

And I see no way to turn that around.

I feel like an awesome baby and toddler mama (or at least I don't feel like I fail at that part). I love to cuddle with my babies and read to them. But when it comes to tweens? Yikes.

I feel like I should have done more, been more, talked more, listened more. And I hope it isn't too late. But maybe it is, with her. And like me, she is the "trial kid" (the curse of being the oldest?) Maybe every mistake I make with her will help me better parent my other kids? Maybe this is just the way it works.

And I have to constantly remind myself- NO MAMA is perfect. We are all struggling with different things. My struggles with her are fleeting, and perhaps the discussions we've had earlier and the strength I know she has will be what helps her through her teen years seamlessly. I know I will be here, trying to listen, trying to be what she needs, trying because that is what I know I need to do.

And I will take advice from friends who've been here before, I will talk to mamas of older kids, mamas who know how hard this is. And hopefully, I will someday pass that knowledge on.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

My oldest will be 10 this summer and often feel the same way - I'm good at mothering the littles, but sometimes I just don't know what to say or do with him. I, like you, am scared of what is to come. I'm so thankful for the good friendships he has in his life with really excellent kids and families, and I'm slowly realizing that this is the beginning of that letting go and letting God. Still, a bit step. You are doing great!

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