on parenting older children
When my firstborn started school five years ago, I stopped sharing his photos. It’s been one of the best parenting decisions I’ve made because it set very strict boundaries for me as a creative in a social media world.
Yes, there have been times when I’ve wanted to post his photos and discuss his achievements but I come back to my self-imposed boundaries and remind myself – it’s not about me; it’s his story and definitely not mine to share.
But now, as I mother a newborn, a toddler, a six-year-old and an almost tween, I’m itching to discuss my experience with older children.
Because parenting a newborn is wildly different to parenting a tween. And yet here I am, doing both. Simultaneously breastfeeding while discussing everything that school brings to the surface – sports ability, friendship circles, nasty words, teacher expectations, have and have-nots, another lost school jumper…
And then, of course, the idea of high school. Which is only two years away.
I can’t go there.
Lately I’ve been drawn to facebook articles on tweens and teens. I’m more likely to peruse stories about raising resilient teenagers than I am about toddler antics. I’m petrified of the effects of social media on my older children and equally buoyed by just how marvellous the millennials seem to be (no doubt Gen Zed* will follow suit). But…
As a mother, I’m not ready. I don’t feel prepared for what’s ahead. It’s daunting.
These words could just as easily be from a woman pregnant with her first child, fearful of the unknown. And yet here I am, a mother of four, equally unsure of what will be required from me as I guide these kids through the maze of older childhood.
Which is exactly where the story is.
I can’t continue to write here and just talk about babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. It wouldn’t be honest and it definitely wouldn’t be the whole story. But I can’t and I won’t be breaking my self-imposed boundaries. So how will this story play out?
I’m more than able and willing to discuss my fears and flaws (and brighter moments) as I mother the “big kids”. And what better way to begin than here…where I’m flanked by readers who have been there and those that can come along for the emotional ride.
I’m sure there will be times when I choose not to share part of the story but for the most part it will be about me – the things I’m learning, the challenges I’m having and the advice I’ve been given.
Where’s the Buddhism for Mothers of Older Children?
*I had to google what the next generation will be called. Gen Zed’s have births starting in 1996 and ending in 2010. And after 2010? Hello Generation Alpha!