growing pains for mom

Growing Pains for Mom

I was going to blog today about my interview with Seth and Chandler Bolt who’ve written Breaking Out of a Broken System, a roadmap for success in life with all profits saving lives. For every book purchased someone with Malaria is cured. It’s powerful, amazing and so worth the read. But, I have to get this post out first. Come back for that post tomorrow, please!

After a really rough before school attempt at getting my middle schooler out the door without a catastrophe and a deep sigh (where did my sweet little girl go?) I sat down to scroll through my Facebook news-feed.

And then this caught my eye…

Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids

Dear Lonely Moms of Older Kids

A good friend shared the post. She and I met while pregnant for our middle schoolers about 13 years ago on an expecting mom’s message board. She parents a 12 going on 17 year old, too. I knew this had to be something for me to read and so I followed the links.

I started scanning the blog post. I thought, yes, I think I belong here. I read on, 

There isn’t a lot of cute in the chaos. Instead, there is acne and braces and attitudes.

It can be a lonely time.  

Yeah, no kidding! And, I’m crying. Full on sobs, tears, crying. 

The online world just sort of goes quiet for the moms of pre-teens, teenagers and young adults. Except for the scary stories of kids and families gone wrong. It’s not real comforting.

 I’ve been thinking about you, mama.

I want you to know that you aren’t alone. These years with your older kids can be your best, even if you can’t post photos of them on Facebook very often, and nobody says “OMG So PRESH” anymore.

Yup! Yes! Sob! You wrote this post for me, didn’t you?! I started to comment on the post. Before I posted my comment I realized that I’d written an entire blog post. So, I moved that comment here to share with all of you.

Rachel at Home Sanctuary continues on, yes the acne will clear up and the braces will come off, yes you’re your kids biggest cheerleader, but no you can’t keep bragging about them because they’ll probably kill you, if you talk about your teenager all the time on Facebook, they’ probably kill you- and then there are the things you don’t or can’t talk about. We need to keep our kids’ secrets. Some of the things you want to talk about as a blogger or on Facebook you just can’t

I especially appreciated Rachel’s canter on being a mommy blogger with older kids. The truth is, the mommy blogger space is full. Overflowing. And, it’s mostly all about birth through Kindergarten. Then, the craft posts start to fade, the birthday party ideas begin to space out and the cuteness kind of goes away.

As a mommy blogger (I’m calling it Family Life blogger now), I notice this not just in the other great blogs I read but also in the opportunities that are available to me for product reviews, campaigns, sponsored posts, advertising and blogger conferences.

In my email this morning alone there is an opportunity to review a great stroller, join a diaper campaign, and I just got pitched to review the cutest baby raincoats and boots. But. Sigghhh. They won’t fit even the youngest of children in my household. 

Where are the zit cream campaigns? The girls’ first period campaigns? The teen boys shaving campaigns. (How DOES my baby boy have a mustache now, anyway?!)

Oh, and by the way- what happens to the mommy blogger when she’s dropped the last “little one” off at college? But, that’s a whole other post. 

blogging through tears

My Response to the Lonely Moms Post

I sort of feel like I was just welcomed home. My kids are almost 13 and almost 15. I have a stepson who is like my own that is almost 8. While he is sometimes my tie in to those kid moments, I’ve found out a few things about myself recently.

One- it’s a good thing I had a hysterectomy or else Facebook would have driven me to at least one or two more kids. The cute posts, the clever ideas- oh how I sometimes long for those first baths, first haircuts, first this and first that. Maybe even a good ‘ole fashioned poop story. 

And then, as a mom blogger I have the opportunity to connect with so many great moms online. But, they’re posting about the little arts and crafts projects they are doing with their kids, and the fun Disney on ice events they are going to.

I’ve been feeling left out. And reminiscing a lot. Remember when I could share photos of the kids? Or when I had some cute story to tell or funnyism to share? Now I post a photo of my almost 15 year old and wonder if his hand was somehow glued to his face- since it’s almost always covering it when I say, “Say cheese!”

My kids are outgrowing me! Yep I’m still Mom and they still need me. But now they prefer friends, electronics and feel like they are too old “for that.”

I also am approaching the halfway mark in my 30’s and with teenagers I’ve been thinking about who I am besides the band-aid placer, boo-boo kisser, cook, maid, driver, referee, scheduler, etc. as the kids need less of me (or want less of me) what is left behind?

Who am I if not captain of the family ship as the passengers begin boarding new, more exciting ships of their own?

61 thoughts on “They’re Not Babies Anymore. Growing Pains for Moms & Mommy Bloggers. #BloggingThroughTears

  1. Oh, I feel you on all of this! My youngest is now 18 and a senior in high school. I’ve never called myself a mommy blogger because they were preteens when I started blogging but I have gotten upset about it. And even written a post about it (I’m still a mom).

    Even if it were appropriate to talk about a lot of these things, our teenager (or preteen) doesn’t want us to. It’s rare when I get a pic of my 18 yo. He wants nothing to do with that.

    It’s like your kids reach a certain age and you are set on a boat to drift out to sea. So sad.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting Carla! I agree, we’re still moms! It breaks my heart when my kids don’t need me. There are still those rare moments when their inner kid shines through but they are becoming further and further apart. They just grow up too fast!!

  2. My daughter (my first baby!) is 8.5 months old, so we’re just starting this journey. I have to remind myself constantly to savor all of the baby-ness (including the crying, tantrums, and ingestion of EVERYTHING) because I can see her growing up before my eyes. We’re going to be in your shoes way before I’m ready!!

  3. I loved your post. I have a 15(16 in April) and 10 year old. It is so hard to wrap my head around the fact that they aren’t babies any more. I found their newborn socks a few weeks ago while cleaning out my closet. Their once tiny socks that seemed so big on their tiny feet are nothing but big toe covers now. I miss my babies but I love my big boys more. At least there are no butts to wipe any more!! LOL!!

    1. Yes, no more wiping butts! Gosh I wish I still had things from when my kiddos were babies. We had a fire almost three years ago and lost everything. 🙁

  4. My kids are 16 (almost 17), 13, and 8. I find myself longing for another baby, but then again, I enjoy sleeping all night and not having to pack up half of my house just to go to the grocery store.

  5. We raised 15 children, 13 of whom were special needs adopted. We have 8 teenagers at once, had 4 graduate high school the same year and many duplicated ages along with different races and abilities. I know what you mean when you say that parenthood can be a very lonely and isolating profession. Just realize “This too shall pass” and it doesn’t hurt to say that to yourself several times a day. Persevere and one day you will look back and be glad you did. Blessings.

  6. They grow up so quickly! I try to remember this when I am pulling out my hair…(with 5 children under 8) 🙂 I know it may be difficult now, but -it really doesn’t get any easier…there are always new challenges. It is worth it though!

  7. I am not someone who can really relate to this yet, as my son is only a year and a half old. But, I know the years will pass like the blink of an eye, as the past 17 months of my son’s life have. I’ve thought about how the future will be often, and I definitely foresee missing these days dearly. So I try to soak them up, and enjoy every minute. I’m glad to have read this, to remind me that sometimes the teen years aren’t all awful ;)!

  8. I almost starting tearing up reading this. i’m on the beginning of my journey as a Mom, but as soon as my baby girl was here, I was picturing her going off to college and her wedding day. And of course then there’s the tears. I really appreciated this heart- warming, reflective post about the evolving role of being a Mom. You tugged at my heartstrings!

  9. Boy, this brought back some memories. Although I must now admit my children have teenage children of their own. But I remember the year they all left home within a space of six months. And I know how everyone raves on the joys of the baby through kindergarten years, those when they can hold conversations with you, to me, are the very best.

  10. I am a mother of a two year old and I am trying to prepare myself for the day when I am a mother of an adult child. She is growing up so darn fast. I just take lots of pictures and hug and kiss her all of the time. I also give her my full attention for at least one hour each day…no phones , no tv just mommy daughter time.

  11. I can’t believe how fast time goes by. My youngest is going to be 2 this year, and it’s crazy to me. She’s not a baby anymore!

  12. My kiddos are still young but I get it and I don’t want to. I know it will happen, my babies will no longer be babies one day. I appreciate this post and I’m pinning for later on when my little ones aren’t so little anymore. Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. I can really relate to this post. I have a son who’s 15 and a daughter who’s 17. She’s a senior and will be going off to college next year :(. I’m excited for her and sad for me. She is a homebody so it will be so weird without her here. She says she wants to travel the world and I hope she does, but part of me doesn’t want her to go too far. How do I mother an almost adult?
    Blogging didn’t really exist when my kids were little. Most of the bloggers I follow are young moms. Most of my friends have younger kids. Sometimes I do feel like I’m living on a different planet than them. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Great post, Erica. You’re right, a lot is written about the baby years but it does sort of go silent. I enjoyed your response and writing style.

  15. Although my son just turned 3, I already feel the “pain.” He is already Mr Independent and just the thought of him getting older and moving out makes me sad :/ Sometimes I wish I could just bottle up everything.

    Hang in there mama!

  16. Oh boy! My kids are still young, six and two, and there are many times a day that I long for the days of being a mom of older kids…now I’ll try not to over-fantasize about that time and really savor the stage I’m in now! Thanks for sharing.

    Sarah’s Fare recently posted → Eggs in a Nest

  17. Oh gosh, this spoke to me. My daughter is in that “in-between” stage now – too old for the cute “little kid” stuff but still too young for the acne & attitudes. Learning to roll with it – I find that I actually like this stage of life.

  18. Oh my, do I feel you on this one. My two boys are 16 and 18 and I look at them and see too young men. I hear them talk in the other room and I wonder if we have company because they sound so much older. I miss my little boys, but I’m really enjoying the men they are becoming.

  19. Wow, just tugs at my heart … my kids are both elementary school, but I do miss the “little” ones. I’d happily go back to 1 and 3! And boy does it go fast!

  20. This is an excellent post and I so agree! There are a zillion blogs written by moms of young children and they’re wonderful, but there are also a zillion of us who no longer have young children. Very refreshing to find mommy bloggers writing about raising children in their teen years. It’s a very challenging time and most of us can use all of the advice and support we can get! The blogosphere definitely needs more blogs like that. Thanks for posting this so beautifully! 😀

  21. Having 10 and 11 year old boys. Yep, I can relate. No more hugs and kisses at the bus stop. Nothing on the web to help with the crazy emotions. Hope you keep up the support!

  22. I completely understand! I look at all the blog posts and facebook pictures of little ones and my eggs get in a knot! I used to have to fight my kids to get the camera back because they did so many selfies and now I get the look and they go hide in their rooms! I suppose i could use old photos and pretend to start again 😉 lol

  23. Aww hugs! My daughter turns 9 soon. I can empathize but when she was a baby I didn’t really blog about her. I still don’t that much except when it comes to schooling.
    Go on and start reviewing that make up, try those yummy dinner recipes, and review those great novels written just for you. This was a great post and remember this time period doesn’t last long either.

  24. I recall actually growing closer to my Mom as I got older and became an older teenager- we could relate to each other better at that point. So, don’t despair!

  25. Lots of food for thought as I am a new blogger and a new mommy to a four month old. Thanks for sharing and now go out and DO YOU 🙂

  26. I don’t yet have children, but I most definitely can understand this–at some point the lives of our children ceases to be ours, but at the same time they still need us–and there is a lot to offer.
    I do agree that there is a whole in the family blogger niche and the older children are most definitely it.
    Thank you for sharing this for the linkup.

  27. I have an 11 month old baby now and I can’t wait to make memories with her 🙂 Can’t wait to document our own adventures 🙂

  28. I am sure this point in life will be extremely hard, but I am yet to have kids, so I am still looking forward to all of it. Reading this makes me realize how much I will need to treasure their young years!! : )

  29. Both of my children are grown and married. My oldest has 5 children of her own. The youngest is still a newlywed. For me, I simply transitioned through those seasons of life and enjoyed every minute of it. Parenting adult children is just as fun and sometimes as challenging as parenting small children. It’s those teenage years when you need to pray for extra wisdom.

  30. Wow! My son is almost 7 and I know what you mean about having to pass on sponsored posts and such because they are baby and toddler related. But I haven’t wrapped my brain around the things that I will no longer be able to share or participate in when my son gets older. Great insight. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Commentathon!

  31. We don’t have kids, but I like to get this perspective.
    It’s definitely something to think about–I hate my mom posting about me, but yet I would probably post about others.
    Hmmm. Food for thought.

  32. I read this as my 15 yr. old sits next to me. You are definitely right that there are not many blogs about teenagers and pre-teens. I wish there were more! Potty training and the fun years are easy to be found but when a mom goes to look for teenage advice none is present. Great post 🙂

  33. What a great post. I have seen ONE campaign directed towards teenage boys in my three years of blogging. I did ONE campaign directed at my teenage niece. So, I can definitely see your frustrations about feeling left out with the companies.

    My kids love the spot light at this point, but I do wonder how long they will. I will always respect their right to what they want/don’t want posted online. My oldest is begging for his own blog and I’m still in the debating stage of getting it for him. (He’s only 10.)

    I’m glad that you posted this to prepare me for the future.

  34. I probably had a 3-page letter typed here, but I’ll simplify to this:

    Talk about your kids. Your family and friends like seeing/knowing. Just don’t go overboard to the point of antagonizing the kids themselves.

    My rule with photos: I won’t bug you with a bunch of snapshots if you’ll give me one good one a month. One smiling, or at least not scowling, photo. Just in case. Because we’re never prepared for the worst in life, and someday you may want to see a good photo of you with whoever else … because you never know.

    My rule with posting about my kid: It’s my page. Don’t look if you don’t want to see. I won’t tag your name if you don’t care to know everything I’m saying, and you don’t want your friends to see it. But it’s MY page, and I will say what I want about MY child. Period.

    Just as you’re free to talk about me. But since I won’t go around disparaging you, you’d best not be out there disparaging me! (Mine never would – and she gets upset when she sees or hears anyone say anything that might however remotely be negative about me.)

    I wish FB would allow us to create an archive of our posts and store it. We could go through the archive and remove whatever we didn’t want, but keep what we love or feel is important. Because I say A LOT on FB. Since 200 of the 300 people on there are family members, and 75 or so of the others are real-life friends I’ve known for up to 30 years, FB is how I let people know what we’re doing. I’m terrible with letters, cards, and phone calls. I’m even terrible about texting, now. I haven’t emailed a friend just to say hi in years. So, FB is not just my diary of events, it’s also my sounding board. It’s my connection to the people I love or like or dislike but they’re important anyhow. And I’ll be damned if a teenager is going to tell me I cannot use that sounding board, or give me attitude about it. I was raising another child (not mine) for a while, and she had the same rule. Our compromise was the “don’t tag.” Quite often, she’d go back and read posts when I was upset about what she was doing, and realize why I was upset. Because in the heat of the moment, I wasn’t getting through to her. But separated from the anger a bit by the remoteness of the internet, she could see – and most often, she would apologize. She had issues, but we learned how to work through them. I had issues, but we learned to work through those too.

    Aren’t you glad you got the condensed version? 😉

    1. Condensed or not, I always enjoy your writing and value your thoughts. Facebook is also my sounding board and definitely how I keep in touch with friends and family!

  35. I am the parent to 4 teens (yes, you read that correctly!). One is a sophomore in college (where did the time go?). I don’t ordinarily post things about them–even on Facebook. I’m nearing fifty so the mommy bloggers are where I was 20 years ago–almost a generation I suppose. I can really relate to how joyous and tiring those years were, but I can bring my attention now to the issues of blended/divorce families on teens, my own work in coaching and marriage and family counseling, etc. My time now is spent focused on not just my kids’ lives but on improving mine–I’m a much better parent now than I was 10 or 15 years ago because I think I’ve been able to have the time to work on myself more. And, I have the time now to focus on other activities and interests which will carry me through to when I eventually am faced with an empty nest. I’ve also had to assimilate into shared parenting after being a stay-at-home mom for 14 years which was an incredibly painful transition for me. But, it provided me with the opportunity to again, foster my own self-growth, hobbies, interests, etc. And, ultimately I think that’s good for my kids–to see a happy and healthy, well-rounded, well-grounded, balanced mom.

  36. Hi Erica! I saw you at SITS! Congratulations on being a featured blogger! 🙂
    This post reminds me so much of what my mom went through when she sent us off to college (my younger brother and I). She has always been there for us, she stopped working when I was 4 so every little milestone and achievement was witnessed by her. I know it pains her to see her babies go.. It makes me want to show my love for her more. I appreciate her more now that I’m dealing with life by myself.


  37. Wow! I get this 🙂 There really needs to be more for parents of older kids out there. They are a part of this consumer society too! They need to offer those mommas paid vacations to Disneyland or something like that. That would be the life 🙂

  38. Hi, visiting you via the SITS girls. nice post. You’re right, years fly by and it becomes a bittersweet experience, especially for those moms who do not bond with their kids as they go from one stage to the next of their lives. Wish you the best with your blog!

  39. I am living in the FFWD of growing pains right now. My oldest is getting ready for college and it seems so unreal. You definitely need to treausre every moment because they pass by so quickly.

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