A Post for Moms of Older Kids

I hate to have a title so close to the blog I’m going to share, but it is what it is. It’s a Monday morning after a weekend of little sleep, and I’m just working through it. If this post I’m about to share weren’t so brilliant, so moving for *right this very moment*, I’d share it later in the week.

But this post, written by a mother who has been through tween and teen years, is rich. It is wise. It is *just* what I have needed to hear without even knowing it.

It is called, “Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids”. Even before I read the post, I knew I had to read it, ASAP. My oldest might be only 9, but she is on the young end of being an “older kid”. She can attend the tween nights in our homeschool group, provided I stay. She catches on to more jokes and subtleties in life. She has big feelings that accompany big changes in her body, and while the physical changes are still (I hope and pray) years off, the emotional changes have begun.

And I find myself having twinges of loneliness. My loneliness has a lot to do with choosing to homeschool, and having my days consumed with educating my brood, making dinner, and keeping the house running fairly smoothly. It means I can’t go grab lunch with the ladies or meet up for play dates at the park on a spur of the moment. Having an infant who is learning to sleep better also means my nights are spent at home, helping him adjust to a new routine. It’s a phase. It’ll pass.

But I have twinges of loneliness.

This post? Called me out of it and called me to connect more completely with my kids. (Yes, all of them, but most especially my oldest). Simple suggestions, such as laughing at their jokes, going through the drive-thru, new hair styles. It is so easy. So simple. So needed.

Don’t we all yearn for connection? If we are seeing our children lashing out, or hiding in their rooms, perhaps it is because they are desperately needing connection, and not with the kids at school, but with their family. I know my oldest is only 9, so what do I know? I know I remember being a tween and teen, I remember longing for connection. As a parent now, I think that if we are to give our children any knowledge to leave home with, it has to be about how to best connect with others, lovingly and honestly. How else are they to learn it, than by experiencing it? How best to experience loving and honest connections with others, than in their family and especially with their parents?

I am with  my children 24/7. Some days, I am literally physically touched through every hour, between nursing the baby, holding hands to cross the street, rubbing foreheads of sick kids. I spend most of the day answering questions called from across the house, teaching manners, instructing math, showing them how to measure and cut in the kitchen. We are always together. But there is room for more. There is room–and need–for connecting with my kids in their way. Laughing at ridiculous jokes, watching Harry Potter movies again and again, going out for a special treat one on one.

Today, I commit to connecting with my kids, especially my older daughter. I am going to find out what they want to do, and make it happen. Those friends I wish I had more time for? There will be other times, and acquaintances will come and go. But our families? They are meant for forever. Let’s make forever awesome.

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4 thoughts on “A Post for Moms of Older Kids

  1. I’m in the thick of the little kid phase (my oldest will be 4 in May and she has two younger brothers!), but I can see that though the days are long, the years are short, and soon I’ll be in this position. Thanks for the reminder to live every day with the intention of being close to my kids!

    • Jenny, Thanks for stopping by! It does feel like “older kid” days are far off, doesn’t it? I remember that feeling. Even now, my oldest is barely in “older kid” days…but I know those teen years are looming! Sometimes I write these things as self-reminders. 😉

  2. Oh I feel your pain. I have 4 ranging in age from 2 – 10 and it is a struggle. The physical energy required for the younger one paired with the mental and emotional energy required for the oldest is a hard mix. I have been trying to ‘play’ more with them all because it is so hard to say no to the work and really relax with them. I did it tonight while my husband took our older daughter to a daddy-daughter dance. It was so nice to just ‘hangout’ with the boys. I want to be more than just to one who hollers at them all the time!

    • Mary Ruth–

      I’m glad you had a chance to relax and hang out with your boys! I hope your husband and daughter enjoyed their time, too. It is precious time, and yet so difficult to make time for it. Here’s to you and I making it happen for our families. 🙂

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