My youngest child turns 20 next month.
I will no longer own a teenager.
I've owned a teenager since 2003.
That's 16 years of my life held hostage.
Or is it?
I stopped being a full time mum in 2013, when the youngest child left home, aged 13 and entrusted his teenage years to his boarding school.
They did a good job, there were issues, of course there were, long distance parenting of 6000 miles and a 2 hour time difference with limited access to the internet for us both (me with constant power cuts and him with living in a 17th century house with thick stone walls) wasn't easy. Holidays and visits weren't the same as living under the same roof 24/7.
Each teenager was different, One needed a lot of support from external influences in his life, another was fairly self sufficient from the age of 14 and both these left home at 18. The second youngest was almost 20 when he left home, the early teens were traumatic for us both, the later teens were very pleasant.
Every stage of parenting has been just that.
I can no longer write about my experiences as a mum of teens, than I can write about my birth experiences, it is all a distant memory now.
I can recall events in life, strops and tantrums on holidays, disagreements about days out and the endless fights amongst the 4 brothers. But I can't recall my feelings, I can't recall who did what and when.
I'm not traumatised by raising 4 teenage boys, it just doesn't matter anymore in that respect. Heck I have no idea what day of the week or time any of the kids were born. I need to consult their red books for that.
Each stage of parenting is different and with 4 boys and a girl with profound disabilities, life was never going to be straight forward, merging two sets of children together as a full time family was never going to be easy, but we did it. We all survived and we all enjoy spending time together, not as a family of 7, there are too many issues for that, too much distance and family commitments, but in small groups, visiting us in Dubai or us seeing them on our trips to the UK.
The teenage years went a long time ago in our household, the empty nest has been managed and it's no longer an issue I'm having to adapt to.
It'll be grandchildren next, but I won't be starting over again, I won't be parenting, times have changed on how that is all done and there's still the distance to consider.
That won't change my life anymore than the youngest child turning 20 has.
Each stage of parenting is definitely different. My boys are 22 and 20 this year and I thought that parenting gets easier once they are past the teenage years. It doesn't!!!ReplyDelete
parenting changes for sure, we've not been involved in the day to day support of our children moving from their teens into adulthoodDelete
Oh man. I only have one, but yeah, incidents just fade don't they. The only constant is love.ReplyDelete
it sure isDelete
That is a big milestone! I'm sure you've had enough of the teenage years by now. You've been parenting teenagers for as long as middle teenager has been alive. I must say that all these details do get forgotten and mixed up over the years. A lot of the memories I have, I now question which child it actually was.ReplyDelete
Onto the next stage for you, whatever that may be!
the next stage has been happening for 5 years, I'm just coasting nowDelete
My youngest turned 30 last year, and the eldest turned 40 earlier on this year. I am like you few things stick, probably because for all they were a big deal at the time in the great scheme of things they are not important, but of course we only realise that with hindsight.ReplyDelete
I am sure if I could go back and try again I would do a few things differently but at the end of the day I have brought up five of them, like you an accumulation of two families, and they have in all fairness turned out to be well adjusted human beings who are in turn doing the best they can with their children.
I'm hoping all goes well when we have grandchildren like it appears to be going with yoursDelete
Sounds like it all has worked out well. And lots more great moments to come. Well done on surviving, and even, it sounds, thriving! #TriumphantTalesReplyDelete
I can barely handle the idea of having an 8 year old, you're awesome! #triumphanttalesReplyDelete
I'd struggle with an 8 year old nowDelete
I will be sad when they all move out. At the moment we are managing unexpected extras at dinner when the girlfriend stays over without warning. There always seems to be some new adjustment to make in life....glad you were happy with the empty nest. I know a few mums struggling with it. #TriumphanttalesReplyDelete
ours was a very sudden empty nest with us living abroadDelete
Parenting is a tough job, I'd say THE toughest job, because there is no one correct way of doing it. It changes with each child, and of course, with the situation at that point in time. But you seem to have overcome all the challenges and aced it, well done! Here's to the next stage. Thanks for joining us on the #itsok linky.ReplyDelete
yep you don't get a second chance at itDelete
This as such a lovely read for me. There are days when I feel like I am drowning (5 kids 9,8,6,4,1), I keep telling myself that my frustrations will eventually fade and I will have the best memories of life with littles. I yearn for the teen years - people think I am crazy :) but in reality it all goes by so fast, doesn't it! #itsokReplyDelete
it's amazing ho0w quickly it all comes to an endDelete
It's the end of an era! My parents said they love the grandchild stage more than the parenting, if that helps at all. #GlobalBloggingReplyDelete
I'll be sure to let you know when we get to that stageDelete
It sounds like you have done a wonderful job. I bet the time has flown by! Thank you for sharing with #TriumphantTales.ReplyDelete
thank you, the years have gone fast for sureDelete
Right now I just can't imagine having a 20 year old - it seems such a long way off, but isn't really! #itsokReplyDelete
I couldn't picture it either, it just sort of happensDelete
This is really interesting. My boys are 10 and 14 so I still have a few years left of teenage parenting. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing with #pocolo
it happens so fast then seems like only 5 mins agoDelete
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