Wednesday, March 18, 2015

POT aka Parents of Teens

We joined a small group at church this spring.  We had not done small groups for a while because well, life was just to busy.  Life is still very busy but in a different way.  So, we decided to take the leap and join the POT group.  We got a little chuckle because our leaders are from Seattle.  Honestly though it stands for parents of teens.  When you have those toddlers you think I just can't wait until they can put on their shoes and wipe their bottoms.  Then there are the glorious elementary years, you feel like you somewhat have it together.  Life is full of projects, homework, activities, and the constant sibling rivalry that will put you over the edge but is manageable.  Then you have teenagers.  There is something they don't tell you about parenting teens.  Yes, they warn you of eye rolls, moodiness, and the constant need to gain independence.  They talk about the new found freedom you will gain as a parent, I mean you don't need a sitter and they can manage themselves for the most part.  What they don't tell you is how lonely it can be and how incredibly hard it is on your heart.  I have really good teenagers.  I absolutely love them.  In the grand scheme of teenage parenting I have had it pretty easy so far, but man my heart aches.  It is hard work.  You know that you need to let them make decisions and figure out their direction in life but this is not like letting them ride their bike around the block alone for the first time.  This is like watching them walk along the edge of a cliff knowing that one wrong step will send them plunging into dangerous waters and you have to stand there and pray they take the right steps.  They are navigating social media, friends, romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, sex, and the list goes on.  I know we had to face the same things as kids but it is so much harder to watch it when you are on the other side.  It is hard to sit with your daughter as she mourns the loss of a friend to suicide or try to explain to your son why he needs to have a plan for his sexual purity.  It's exhausting and it's lonely.  I mean when you had babies everyone wants to give you advice, how to feed, how to set a sleep cycle, how to potty train, etc.  I'm not discounting that being a mom of preschoolers is not important work but try talking to your coworkers about your conversation with your son about sexual purity.  They look at you like you just grew a third eye.  Plus, who's going to admit that there teen has any problem other than being sassy?  Seriously, do you want to be judged as being a bad parent?  Here is the fact though, everyone with teenagers are facing these battles.  We are all struggling with how much do we pry and when do we let them have their independence.  It's a fine line between trusting them and trying to be informed about their lives.  I will admit that when we walked into our POT group I wondered how it would be.  I have great kids so it would not be hard to talk about their accomplishments and activities but I was longing for connection.  Real connection.  I was longing for a place where I could share my fears about parenting and not be judged.  We found that.  We were in a room with a group of parents that were all struggling with the same things.  We all realize that no matter how much you beg and plead with your teen that sometimes the decision is theirs and it's not always the right one.  As we shared our worries I started to realize something that I had lost focus of.  My faith.  Long ago as I held those tiny babies in my arms I prayed that God would take them and use them.  I prayed that He would protect them.  It was an easy prayer.  They were snuggled up in my arms.  I had control.  Now I am starting to have to release them and it is frightening.  My heart was reminded that He still has them.  He still wants the best for them.  I have to trust that God's plan is better than mine.  Oh what a powerful lesson to learn as a mom.  This parenting thing is hard on the heart.  I'm learning to trust and let go and pray a lot.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

I was challenged to a blog post today.  My poor little blog has been left in the dust since facebook and instagram came on the scene.  We've become a world of "insta" so who has time to sit around and wait for a blog post to pop up.  Oh and you would actually have to go to the blog to check the post instead of getting a nice little reminder on your phone that says who liked your photo or commented on your post or liked a comment you made or liked a picture you liked or commented on a post you commented on or started following you.  God forbid you miss that stuff, it's important. I'll admit there is part of me that likes the "insta" in life.  I mean your keurig can spit out a fresh cup of joe in 30 seconds or less, my flat iron heats up in 20 seconds, my convection oven cooks in half the time, and I can fast forward through commercials on my DVR.    "Insta" is good but I will admit I have a love hate relationship with it.  Sometimes parts of me screams to slow down.  Everything is to fast!  Oh my little iphone can let me know what's on my calendar, what all my friends are doing, and what the weather is in a flash.  It keeps me connected, so why do I feel so disconnected?  I know where you ate dinner last night and that your kids are playing tball, your power is out, and your pissed at your mother in law but I haven't actually spoken to you in weeks, months,even years.  I see your pictures and think that your family is beautiful and that you are a great mom and I miss you but I just hit the thumbs up button.  I pretty sure you don't know that I think all those things about you.  So is facebook and instagram and twitter and pinterest really doing us any good?  I don't know.  That's my love hate problem and what about how it effects me?  I see all the post and think wow, these people really have it together and then it creeps in.  You know what I'm talking about the doubt, the fear, the insecurities.  You know what I mean, omg, should my kids be in a club sport too, I haven't made it to the gym in years, my kids not in AP classes, my friend didn't take me out for a fabulous birthday dinner, how the heck did they pay for that fabulous family vacation and how the heck did they get their kids to pose for that amazing picture.  We've all been there.  I remind myself that they probably just finished yelling at each other and not all kids have to do sports, and they have a muffin top just like me, and my friends still like me even though they did not plan a fabulous birthday dinner for me but still that question creeps in, am I enough? Do I matter?  We all struggle with this question in some way and I have to remind myself that I am enough and I do matter.  God created me with a purpose and a plan.  He has plans for me to prosper me.  Maybe those plans don't include club sports or national merit scholar kids.  Maybe they don't include an amazing new house or dream job.  They do include some amazing friends and family.  They include me getting to be a mom to two of the most amazing kids ever.  In my tiny little corner of the world I am making a difference.  It might be making school lunches, washing clothes, driving kids around town, editing papers and listening to friend problems but it's important to the people around me.  It makes a difference to them.  I still long to slow down.  I think about how my mom would pop over the neighbors house to catch up and drink coffee.  Part of me wishes that we still lived in that world.  For now I will continue my love hate relationship with social media.  I still want to see what everyone is doing.  I would like to try harder to have real facetime with my friend rather than living in the virtual world.  To connect and find out what is really going on rather than what perfectly planned post is on your page.  Yes, I will try to write on my blog more even if that is so 2008 ago.