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Category: Mom of tweens

Back to school. (It’s obligatory. Work with me.)

Back to school. (It’s obligatory. Work with me.)

Many, many years ago when the boys would get ready for school, Gabby wanted to join them so badly. All she knew was they left in the morning and stayed gone all day. Obviously they were having fun. As she watched them getting ready, she would race for her Winnie the Pooh backpack and look up at me saying in her adorable little voice, “I go school. too?”  She knew I’d smile and say, “Not yet, but soon!”

Soon came sooner than we imagined. I blinked and sent her off to kindergarten. As my last baby, that first day of school was rough but at the same time, she was so happy and full of joy, it was hard to feel anything but excitement for her.

Today I sent her off to her first day of middle school (junior high to most of the county). I think this drop off was harder on me than the kindergarten drop off. In kindergarten, I walked her in. I met her new friends. I knew where she would sit. This time I dropped her off and barely had time to watch her walk away before the carpool line moved forward. I know middle school. I remember middle school. This is the age where your tween slowly starts to pull away a bit as she gains her independence. The true beginning of the teen years start here.

I watched her walk away and whispered a silent prayer that she would enjoy this new journey, that it would treat her kindly, and that she would thrive. My baby is no longer my little baby girl. Oh, don’t get me wrong. She will always be my baby. But I only have to look at her first day of school picture to see that she is no longer my little baby girl.

And I couldn’t be prouder of my girl.

I need more time.

I need more time.

It is a rare moment when I am able to see all three of my kids together in one place. Interacting. Laughing. Being siblings. Enjoying each other. I stood back and watched them as they teased, laughed and were just being who they are. My mind raced back to the early days when I never thought the day would come when all three of them would be able to not only get along but enjoy being with each other by their own choice. I used to worry that the age difference between the boys and my daughter would keep her from being a part of the sibling gang of fun. (She can certainly hold her own with her brothers!) I thought the boys who spent the first half of their lives fighting would never get along and now they are best friends.

I watched through eyes that were suddenly blurry with tears I refused to shed. I am not ready for my oldest to be preparing for college.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast.  Please slow down.

As  I sat waiting for Brandon’s x-rays to be finished after his car wreck, I was scrolling through old pictures on my phone. They dated back several years. It felt like just a few months. I laughed at a picture taken in an unguarded moment of my boys laughing together at what I can only assume is something better left unknown to me. My heart warmed to see a picture of all of us at the Texas State Fair with Gabby proudly perched on top of Brandon’s shoulders grinning from ear to ear. I choked up at a picture of  Z trying to teach Gabby the keyboard. I laughed at a picture of Gabby and Brandon lying on the couch playing video games. I smiled at this year’s first day of school pictures.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I’ve come across so many toys, pictures, artwork and memories as I attempt the massive project of completely decluttering the house. (It’s a 10 year plan.) I’ve found massive amounts of Hot Wheels. I never thought the day would come when I wouldn’t be dodging Hot Wheels littering my floor trying not to slip and fall by stepping on one. Now they lie in a toy box or in a drawer unused, dusty, and forgotten. The boys have moved onward and upward to images and dreams of real sports cars and desires for their own car to drive. I clutched one to my chest and felt a longing for the days when I’d heard the boyish sounds of vrrooooom vrooooom CRASH! coming from the other room. Now the stakes are higher and when there is a wreck it is real and people can get hurt.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I packed away dolls and Barbies and Dora and Blue’s Clues and wondered exactly when all of those stopped being the most popular toys in Gab’s collection and favorite shows to watch. I wanted to know exactly. Why didn’t it happen in a moment worthy of a memory stamp in my  mind so I could hold onto it? I’m sure it was gradual but it seems like it happened overnight. Those things have been replaced with shows for tweens, music that is mainstream and drama that is supposed to be a part of my past not her future. When did the baby dolls get replaced with electronics? When did rocking her to sleep get replaced with her curling up in her bed with a book even adults enjoy?

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

Our house echos with laughter when we are together. If we are all home, you better believe it is loud. We laugh. We scream across the house at each other. We play. We chase. We tease. We support. We spent a lot of our time laughing- with each other and sometimes in fun at each other- but we are always having fun. When tensions are high for one reason or another, we hug it out or laugh it out. I can always, always count on my kids to make me laugh. Through the hard times. Through the scary times. Through the good times. Through the awkward times. I sometimes forget not every family laughs with and at each other as much as we do. And,  yes, there are times when the way we interact with each other may seem strange to others but it works for us. We thrive in it! Every single burst of laughter we share together fills our home with memories that will echo forever. I so want the laughter to stay just as it is. Not one voice left out or moved on.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I always promised I wouldn’t be the mom who can’t let go. Well, I now amend that to mean I promise I won’t be the mom who won’t let her children grow and move on. I can promise you now I will never let go. I will just let them become the young people they are destined to become. The thing is? It is happening too quickly for this mom. I’m so proud of them. I know they are good people and will be amazing out on their own when the times comes. I just wish there was more time here at home with all 5 of us before things change.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

 

Moms of teens don’t blog. Oh wait! Yes, we do! So why are we so under represented everywhere?

Moms of teens don’t blog. Oh wait! Yes, we do! So why are we so under represented everywhere?

I have a ten year old. By definition now, she is considered a tween. In addition to her I also have two teenage boys. A senior in high school and a sophomore in high school. Teenagers. Teens. Those who are not babies and not yet adult people. They are those who still live at home.

So where are the websites, resources, and “expert blog sites” for me? Does parenting end at 8 or 9? I proposed this question to someone who was touting their new blog farm as “The Go To Site For Parents of babies, toddlers and beyond!”  But I am guessing “and beyond” means up to 8. (Surprisingly, I got no response when I asked about their huge missing demographic of teens.)

In 2005 I spoke on the first mommyblogger panel at BlogHer. My kids were 10, 8 and 3. Today’s dream demographic for blogs and marketers! There are websites, blogs, magazines etc all dedicated to those ages. But guess what happened. Go on. Guess.

Did you guess they grew up? Bingo. Those kids are now the teens and tween. You see, these adorable babies and toddlers and young grade school kids grow up. And you want want to know what there is out there for the parents of these now older kids.

Not a damn thing. Squat. Nada.

Busymom wrote about it.

Cursingmom wrote about it.

JoanneGlenniaBeth,  Deb, and I sat and talked for hours at BlogHer’11 about how under represented parents of teens are online. How much marketers, magazine blogs and the latest in “blog farms” are missing out by ignoring such a huge demographic. (Trust me when I say I spend a helluva lot more on my tweens and teens than I ever did on the kid toys. WAY more!)

With one post on Busymom’s site commenters (parents of tweens and teens) agreed how sad it is to have such little representation out there.  I am talking about well known, long time bloggers like LizMelisa, Headless Mom, MelissaShannon, Cheryl,  Robyn, Babybloomr…those are just a few moms who piped up in agreement.

A big “argument” about why there are not many sites about teens is because our children no longer want us to write about them.(Your precious little one probably doesn’t you to be writing about them either, but that is a totally different topic.)  I am not talking about writing about their lives like we did when they were children without a voice to tell us to stop. I am talking about resources, advice, support.  When  newborn cries, there are usually only a handful of things that can be wrong. (I know there are exceptions.) With a teenager? Oh for the love of all things moody, hormonal and life changing there could be a million things. But even if it isn’t “What’s wrong?” there are things that we– as parents of teens– would love to have support with.

  • School.
  • Driving.
  • Health.
  • Dating.
  • Parties/gifts.
  • Changing relationships.
  • Jobs.
  • Cars.
  • College.
  • Etc, etc.

Unless you have a support system, you are on your own figuring it out.

I have also heard that marketers are trying to directly hit the teen market rather than go through parents. I call bullshit on that one. Where do they think these teens and tweens are going to get the money? It’s called the bank of Mom and Dad. To try to bypass us is ridiculous. And very, very short sighted. It doesn’t help when a company who is trying to reach out to parents of teens use parents whose children haven’t even hit the double digits as spokespeople. Isn’t that kind of like asking a man to tell  you what labor feels like?

I actually got an email from a PR rep that first mentioned that “even though your kids are still very young….” (tuned out right there) blah blah blah “and I have found there are so few bloggers with teens these days.” The hell? What Internet have you been on. I can give you a list of over 70 and still not have a complete list.

Those little kids on the adorable mommyblogs are going to become tweens and teens. Those adorable little Pampers wearing cherubs will become moody little strangers. Then what?  To quote cursingmama, “The Internet is no place for parents of teens.”

What do you think? Do you want your voice heard? Do you want more resources? Do we storm the gates trying to get the current market to listen or do we do it ourselves?  Just as we had to fight the whole “mommy bloggers aren’t worth our time” situation almost 8 years ago. (Now? They are are holy grail of bloggers. And yes, I am going to say that those who now have tweens and teens did help pave the way to that reality.) Is this our new stand? I’d love to hear from you! Share your blog. Share what you want to see. What do you think about the representation of tweens & teens– or under representation?

If they aren’t able to meet our needs,  do we do it ourselves and pave the way for the Pampers generation to come? Again?