The older my kids get the harder it is to be a parent.
People with small children ask “It gets better, right?” and my answer is always “No. No it doesn’t.” And if they ask that same question about girls my answer is “No, it gets worse.”
Just for clarification, some things do get better. You don’t have to wipe their butts anymore. That part’s way better! If they’re hungry they can get food and feed it to themselves. That gets better. They can bathe themselves, it won’t be done very well and only when you tell them to, but they can, so that’s better. They can pretty much care for themselves. Which is better.
Other than that, not better.
When kids are small it’s a physical game. You are just wiped out. Every. Day. You’re up at the crack of dawn after you’ve stayed up half the night trying to get him to go to, or stay, asleep. There’s never any rest because you’re constantly chasing a toddler to make sure she doesn’t get into anything and try to keep her safe. You’re always feeding someone else then you forget to eat. You’re always taking him to the bathroom for the 5th time in an hour and answering the call to ‘come play outside with me’. And do you really want me to start talking about grocery shopping with three kids under the age of 4?
When those cute little ones turn into teenagers it’s a whole new ball game. It turns into a strategic mental game that will leave you emotionally exhausted for days on end. And they are ruthless. Teenagers don’t back down. They push and push until you back down. Then once you do it, even just that one time, they will never forget and push even harder to get you to back down again. Not to mention that the struggles with teenagers are bigger. Now it’s trying to get her to wear real pants, not leggings. Prying them away from electronic devices so I can remember what their face looks like. Not to mention the boyfriends and girlfriends and every unfortunate thing that goes with that. There’s riding in cars with other teenagers and worrying about road conditions and weather. Attitude and disrespectfulness, anyone? Watching them make decisions that you know aren’t the right ones. And let’s not forget the fact that they know everything and are never wrong.
So no…it doesn’t get better. It just gets different. Harder and different.
I have to admit though…As difficult and draining as it is to be parents of teenagers there are rewarding moments. Like little gems nestled in between the jagged edges of the cliff you want to jump off of on a regular basis. I enjoy having good conversations with them that were impossible when they were small. I look forward to sharing a meal with them every night and hearing about their day. I love going to their ceremonies and celebrating their artistic talents and accomplishments or watching them play sports and celebrate wins with them. I always watch in awe as they build a bow and arrow out of a rubber band, a pencil and shish kabob skewer or design and create an elaborate rubber band bracelet. And my favorites are family movie nights, going to the fair and spending holiday mornings together. Those are all the moments that make it worth it. And keep me from running away.
Summer time around here is awesome! I love my job because it gives me the summers off with the kids. Well, until now that is. They “eliminated” my position at the high school I work at because half of the student body will be going to the brand new high school in the fall. Fewer students eliminates the need for an athletic secretary apparently. I don’t understand it but who am I to say anything? Anyway…I’m no longer a Bengal. I’ll be a Redhawk come the beginning of the new school year in the fall on August 20th. Which is technically still summer, but whatever. I’ll be the athletic secretary at the new high school.
Wait…what? Yes, that’s right. They eliminated my position at one high school because of the small student body only to give me the same position at the new high school who will have the same size student body. I try not to think about it too much. It makes my head hurt. I’m thankful that I’ll be doing the same thing though. At least I won’t have to learn anything new. And I do enjoy my job. So that’s a plus. The down side to helping open a new school is additional responsibilities. They can’t fully stock faculty and staff until the student body increases. Therefore I will have not only one responsibility but two at my new post. I’ll be the athletic secretary and the public relations person. I don’t even know the proper name for it. But it makes me sound important. I’m actually really looking forward to working at the new school. I loved working at BHS! Great people, fun working environment! Even though it was all those things, after five years a change of scenery will be nice and refreshing.
The one down side is I’ll have less time off in the summer. The up side is I’ll get paid a little more. In the school district you work by days. The students attend school for 180 days. Teachers work 190 days. The rest of the staff works anywhere from 180 days to year round. At BHS I was 185 days. That was absolutely perfect for us. I worked five days before school started and then I was on the exact schedule the kids are on. It’s the best of both worlds really. I was a working mom when the kids were in school and a stay at home mom when they were out of school. Best. Job. Ever.
Well, when I met at the new school about my job there (when the ‘let me go’ at BHS I was guaranteed a position at the new school) I was asked to work 215. That was a tough decision. I absolutely adore my time with my kids when they aren’t in school. I love being a housewife and taking care of our home and family while my husband works. The schedule was perfect for our family. The money was enough. Now they are asking me to give up a lot of that time with my family. I was torn because I knew the extra days meant extra money. Of course the extra money would be nice. But was I willing to give up precious time with my kids in exchange for that? Money is a necessity to live I know. We were living just fine on what I was contributing to the household income. We’re not rich by any American standard, but we’re filthy rich by the majority of other countries around the world. And we’re stinkin’ filthy rich by our standards. Money isn’t everything you know and in our house you don’t need money to be rich. After much thought we decided that working 215 days of the year won’t be that bad. I’ll still have the major holidays the kids get such as Winter Break and Spring Break. And I’ll still have about a month off during the summer. Sometimes I feel kinda bad for complaining about only having “about a month off during the summer”.
But I can’t help it that you didn’t get a job in the school district, that’s your fault. Everyone should have a month off in the summer!
So this is my last real summer with the kids. I’m attempting to savor every minute of it. The first week was crammed with physical therapy for me, cleaning the house, and not much fun stuff. The second week wasn’t fun either because Emma decided that would be a great time to contract Strep Throat. I mean really, she’s around 100 plus kids for 180 days of the year and stays perfectly healthy (not counting a broken arm and a cat trying to scratch her eyeball out but let’s not get technical about it). She’s home for a week with her family and gets Strep Throat. How does that even happen? Once the fever finally went away we went swimming one day and headed to the zoo another. Which by the way, if you want to go see the new Komodo Dragons at Riverbanks, keep your expectations low. They’re cool and all but look like over-sized yard lizards. Not hideous and terrifying like I was hoping for. Maybe in a few years.
Gary and I are planning some awesome adventures for ourselves and the kids this summer. More swimming for sure. Definitely more trips to the zoo (maybe the dumb Komodo Dragons will grow fast). A few trips to the museum are in order as well. We’ll be hitting the nature scene a lot this summer too! I guess geocaching has given us a new appreciation of the outdoors.
Do you get much time off work in the summer? Maybe you’re a stay at home mom. What adventures are you planning for this summer? We need some new ideas!
Now get out there and have an adventure!!
I know my kids are talented, but this is just insane. I mean really! I didn’t even know tongues could do this. I know there are people who can tie cherry stems in a knot with their tongues. There’s even more people who can roll their tongues. But how many people can do this? It really is kind of freaky looking if you ask me. Maybe I’m just jealous I can’t do it. I tried, but I just got a cramp in my tongue.
So tell me, what kind of weird talent do you have?