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parenting tweens

Are Moms With Older Kids Unrelatable?

I’m looking at who the mom bloggers are and, well, let’s face it, those of us who have been in the space a while are sort of fading away. I almost never write about my kids (which isn’t really much of a change) but I’m writing less and less about motherhood, which is a change.

When the kids were little there were universal experiences we mothers were having. We all have pregnancies or adoption stories, we all lost sleep, gained weight, got peed on, taught kids where to pee, worried about what they ate or didn’t eat, had first words and there were two ways parent at home or at work.

Now the kids are in school and I work but I’m not killing myself over here. I play tennis a few days a week, I have lunches with girlfriends, I hike and I’m branching out into blogger outreach. It’s really fun and fulfilling. This is a space that I understand well from both sides and I know what good work looks like. I get to reward those of you who excel with something other than a link. I like that.

My kids are on Instagram, my daughter insists Facebook is irrelevant (please don’t tell her that they own the ‘gram), twitter is where you follow celebrities and old people talk and when you say MySpace to them they snicker like you just said Leave it to Beaver.

I get pitches every day that offer me interviews with experts who will “Teach you how to keep your children safe from social media.” Sometimes I laugh before I hit delete, other times I want to scream at them and say stop selling fear. These people also sell books which is where the laughter comes in gales because in the 300 years it takes to get a book to press the information is obsolete.

When the kids are in middle school there are huge changes and many of these changes occur in the family too. Kids are going through puberty. After the first day back to school in 8th grade Jane marveled that all the boys’ voices had changed over the summer. I won’t be writing about my own son’s voice changing… I’ll just let y’all know that I suspect it’ll be sometime around 8th grade.

Middle school mothers start feeling like the victims of planned obsolescence.

I wrote briefly about Jane’s search for a high school and how she’s made great decisions and I’ve been left out of a lot of the process. I still make many of Alexander’s weekend plans but I don’t think I’ve arranged a weekend playdate for Jane in years. The kids choose their own summer camps.

When they were infants they were literally and figuratively attached to me. We weaned ourselves off of each other for some toddler years and now that elementary school is in the rear view mirror I’ve been relegated to the role of support staff. I’m here to help out, listen endlessly and to take over if there’s a crisis. Most of my time is spent listening and helping in increasingly small ways.

So the Mom Business changes quite a bit as they grow. There are very few women left who haven’t pursued part time employment, careers or all encompassing hobbies. We’re less of a homogenous group at this point. The kids have varied interests, everyone knows how to tie their owns shoes and no matter how many times I tell Jane that Coca Cola will make her fat, weaken her bones and rot her teeth I know she’s drinking gallons of it when she’s with her friends on weekends.

I could write about my tennis elbow or my recent need to nap and my overriding fear that the Simponi which gave me my life back is less and less effective but then I’d have to face the fact that it’s probably time to look at a different treatment. I could write about my husband’s new job and how our family will be missing him for the next six months but I find that ignoring a really difficult family situation that we all agreed we would take on is really for the best. I’m two for two on denial and that wonderful man deserves a wife who isn’t bogged down with self pity.

Us mothers of tweens and teens run out of universal experiences because the whys, the ways and the whens that the kids need us are so varied. Maybe the only common thread is that they still need us and we can’t wander too far even when they’re pushing us away.¬†