Parenting: I wish I knew then what I know now.

Posted: Tuesday, November 02, 2004

As a mother, this is a first time experience for me and I hope my children will still be speaking to me at the end. My family moved here when I was 10 years old from Longview, Washington. It was a big step and move for my parents, as they were moving us from both sides of our families. My parents had grown up in that area, so they had roots there. By moving here they took upon themselves to raise us without any extra family help.

At the time, I had no idea what they were taking on themselves, oh and by the way, I am the oldest of 4 girls. Now as a mother of 3, a son 19 years old, and 2 teenage daughters, 17 and 15, I understand even more what they took upon themselves. I have enjoyed many, many moments raising my children. I have also made many, many mistakes.

Unfortunately, my children have divorced parents and that has been a challenge as well. Now that my children are older, I have APOLOGIZED to both my parents, but more so my mother, more times than I can count. I will never forget the first time my older daughter was 13 years old and she treated me exactly like I had treated my mom at one time or another. I was devastated. She did the normal teenage thing where I wasn't cool anymore and she didn't want me around when her friends were around. I personally thought I was very cool, what did she know anyway? How could I not be cool anymore, and when did I become my mother?

Don't even get me started on the whole boyfriend thing. I like both of the boys that my daughters consider their boyfriends.( Technically the younger one can't date yet.) but I feel like I have become something I never thought I would be as a parent, you know, a strict disciplinarian and being much more aware of what they are doing and where they go. I remember telling myself I will never be like my mother, HA, HA.

Another thing I struggle with is the whole cell phone thing. My older daughter was shocked that she went over on her cell phone minutes, well when you talk on it constantly the minutes are bound to add up.

Raising girls has been a much different experience than my son, my struggles with him were mostly homework issues. Now he is going to KPC and working and doing very well. It has been very hard for me not to continue mothering him. But I have taken a step back and done some letting go. There are times when we hang out together now, I really enjoy the man I see him growing into, but I also miss the little boy that used to tap people on the back and say, "excuse me" when he wanted your attention or all the "what if's" he used to ask me, such as "Mom, what if you had to choose between being taken by a UFO or being stranded at sea?" I could never answer those questions to his liking, but he always had one for me.

With my daughters, they are so much like I was as a kid. Sometimes, I think they are a split personality of myself. When one is behaving the other one is causing me fits. I see now why my mom couldn't understand why I wanted to go somewhere all the time, because I don't get it now either with the girls. I can only hope that someday my children will have the same realization I did and maybe I will be a whole lot smarter in about 15 to 20 years. It took me a long time to forgive myself for being what I consider a rotten child at times. I truly appreciate my mom and dad to no end. They are wonderful friends to me now that I am almost 40.

I wish I had taken the time to appreciate my mom as a teenager instead of thinking I knew everything and she knew nothing. Boy, do I know now. It has also been nice for my kids to grow up with their grandparents and for me to see them with my children. So, to my children, you are wonderful, great kids who at times have good moments and bad. Raising kids is not what I expected it to be, but sometimes I also get rewarded with something I didn't expect either. Every day is a different adventure with your kids. Sometimes it seems like you are on a rollercoaster that just won't stop. I will never feel so many emotions regarding 3 people that I brought into my life. As the holidays approach, I will try very hard to remember to be thankful for all the people in my family and in my life instead of letting all the chaos of the holidays take over. Oh yeah, go tell your mother or dad you love and appreciate all they did for you when you were a rotten kid.

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