The Tricky Part of Blogging in the Teen Years

riandty

Some of you know that this blog has been around for a really long time (originally at Homeschool Journal).  I’m not sure how long.  Maybe 8 years?  It’s been a while, though, and I have always been a rather transparent blogger.  I believe in full disclosure, shots of messy houses, confessions and real stuff.

Which all gets tricky in the teen years.

You may have noticed that I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to.  Part of the reason is because I’m pretty darned busy.  I have 5 kids to homeschool now, plus I write four columns, cook three meals a day (or so) from scratch, do several billion loads of laundry per week, do all kinds of crazy homesteading and foraging jobs, and occasionally try to check in on two blogs.  And that doesn’t even get into all the housework I should be doing.  🙂

But it’s also because my little homeschool students are growing up, and they don’t necessarily want me broadcasting their news to my world.

rhiax

Look how that little girl that I kept accidentally giving mullets to over the years has grown up!  And she’s the little sister.  🙂

My big kids don’t necessarily want me broadcasting their lives, and I don’t blame them in the least.

But still, this is hard for me, for many reasons.

  1. I love them and am proud of them, and still want to tell all about their current loves, interests and accomplishments.
  2. I have always used this blog to try to share advice and support from a BTDT perspective, to help others who might face the same issues.  This worked fine when I shared information on surviving your four year old, but it’s not really okay to share specifics on surviving your sixteen year old when said sixteen year old may have friends reading (I’m surprised and confused at how many of my teens’ friends apparently read this blog!).
  3. Their lives are a big part of my life, which makes it hard for me to come here and talk about my own life if I need to respect their privacy.
  4. It seems disingenuous to blog about fluffy things when big things are a big part of our life at times.  During those times, I stay silent because it feels fake to just talk about the little things.

So I’m still trying to navigate these years as a writer/blogger/jabbermouth.

I respect my kids and will not post about things that are personal to them, but I also believe in the community of blogging in order to support each other and form a new sort of network for this new age.

And considering how many bloggers have completely given up on the idea of blogging for connection and community and have instead embraced blogging as a way to try to make money, there are fewer and fewer authentic blogs out there of moms just trying to support each other.  I don’t want to give up being a part of that.

Good grief, do I know how much we need connection, community and support during times in parenting, homeschooling, and yes, raising teens.

Luckily, I still have little ones to write about and design lesson plans around and all that fun stuff.  And I hope to start posting about them soon, too.

But I also hope to post more about the teen years here in the near future.  All with permission, of course.  Because frankly, we need each other in those times as much as the others.

And I miss the blabbing.  😉

vandg

 

 

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Growing Pains

Victoria may be the one who has just turned eleven, but I seem to be going through just as many growing pains.  She seems to like hers but I’m not enjoying mine a bit.

She is off in Nebraska this week, keeping Tiffany and gang company.  I talked to her on the phone twice and she couldn’t wait to get off the phone with me.  I think I’m annoying.  I’m certainly not missed.

I don’t know this person who has stolen my little girl from me.  She cares about fashion and considers herself too old for make believe.  I embarrass her.  I bore her.  She wants to get a subscription to Glamour and learn how to wear makeup.  She reads Twilight and wants to buy a laptop.  She’s eleven going on twenty, full speed.

I remember the year I changed on my mother.  We were close the whole time I was growing up and then we weren’t.  I always thought it was because I’m a survivor of a whole gaggle of abuses (not by her) and they had a profound affect on me.  I thought it was because I was so badly bullied in school (that was the year the whole student body had a plan to set my hair on fire).  I thought it was because we were so poor (I slept on a cot, with the faucet dripping so the pipes wouldn’t freeze).  I thought it was because my childhood was so horrid and she was so clueless and I was so damaged.

I never thought it would happen to my child.  I thought we were different.  I have dedicated the past eleven years to making this a wonderful family to grow up in.  We travel and laugh and play and learn and volunteer and talk and talk and talk.  And suddenly that’s not enough.  Like it or not, my child is outgrowing me.  Not in the sense of needing me to teach her and guide her and provide for her, but in the sense of her being my little girl.

I am a puzzle piece that no longer fits.  And so, just as Victoria must change as part of her healthy evolution, I must change as her mother.  Like it or not, my job description is now altered and I have to become something new, too.

And I’ll do that, and I’m sure I’ll find things to love in that new role and handle it fine.  But first, I’m doing a little mourning.  I’ve tried to push past it and I just can’t.  I need to feel this.

I miss my daughter.

I miss the days when I was her favorite person and knew everything.  I miss my little girl who had her own unique sense of style and didn’t care what anybody thought of her.  I miss her telling me she wanted to live with me forever.  I miss leading monster parades and dress up parties with Victoria as the leader of the pack.  I miss her asking to do more homeschool and being eager to please.  I miss my sidekick.

I posted about this last week on the Magical Childhood blog.  I tried to make it sentimental and sweet.  I tried to see the good in it and put a positive spin on it, and to end on a fun note.  But the fact of the matter tonight is that I don’t feel like it’s fun right now.  It’s healthy and necessary, and tomorrow I’ll focus on the younger kids and the bright sides and all the platitudes that I endlessly give myself.

Tonight I am sipping Southern Comfort and missing my little girl.

I know I will love this next daughter who is replacing her, but tonight I am giving myself permission to be sad.

Well Then!

Yesterday I wrote on the Magical Childhood blog about Victoria nearing 11 and changing so drastically.  She is growing up so suddenly and changing so much.  It’s more than a bit unnerving!

So I went looking for normal development for 11 year-olds and found this handy dandy chart listing the physical, emotional, social, etc. development of these mysterious creatures, from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

It was all very sensible and helpful with references to muscular development and self consciousness and other changes to anticipate, with how to most effectively help the child with each change.  And then I got to this…

Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
Is critical of adults and is obnoxious to live with. Be tolerant.

Well then!  It doesn’t get any clearer than that, does it?  😉

I told Victoria and she gave me one of those looks, but I swear I saw a grin.