When my three toddler boys and I go places in public, the comments fly. They are loud, they seem (well they are) very close in age, and they are usually dressed as a pirate, superhero, or firefighter on your average Tuesday. So I get it.
But lately, the comments from women of older children have made raising children seem nothing less than something to dread.
I’m tired of the moms of teens saying “Just wait, it gets so much worse,” and “You think you’ve seen a tantrum, just wait,” and “Enjoy it now while they still like you.”
As a high school teacher, I have seen the shenanigans teenagers have to offer. Believe me, I get it. But we are discounting their capacity for deep, reflective thought, their idealism towards the world and how things can be, and their ability to simultaneously drive you insane and inspire you.
I’d love for a mom of teens to stop me in the grocery and say something better than, “Wow, you are going to go broke feeding those troops in their teen years.” While I get this commentary is supposed to be well-meaning small talk, over time, it creates an image for moms of young kids that it only goes downhill from here.
Older moms, let’s build up younger moms and inspire them to have hope for the future.
Let’s say validating things like “Wow those years are physically tough,” or “You are doing great,” or “You’re really going to love the stage after that one.” Let’s speak words of encouragement to each other and help moms believe a house full of happy, healthy, polite and communicative (some of the time) teens is a possibility. And if we can’t because we are dealing with tough teens at home, let’s just smile and say less.