the secret reward for surviving the toddler and teen years of parenting

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Three of our four kids are adults and watching them live their lives simply takes my breath away. They are chasing their dreams and living their own adventures and I have been gifted with a front-row seat to watch it all.

I am amazed at this season I’m living. I’m still figuring out the correct terminology to use. I am still a parent but I’m no longer parenting two of my 3 Es. I gave birth to them but they are no longer children. All I know is that these three adults are my friends and my favorites and I love them more than my life itself.

During the years of 2-year-old tantrums and “threenager” fits, I had moments of looking to future in envy wondering if parenting would ever be easy. Things eventually settled into the sweet years of elementary school and I assumed that I had arrived. No sooner had I settled into that season and got comfortable then things changed significantly. During the tears and silence of the teen years, I wondered if this was my “new normal.” I heard other mothers talk of the friendship they had with their “adult children” and in the midst of homework and eye rolls, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that someday we’d sit and laugh together, attend marriage events together, and seek each other’s advice for daily living. So, I plugged along assuming that I had lost the joyful relationship I once had with my kids and wondering where I went wrong.

If you are plugging along in your mothering journey and wondering if there is a light at the end of your tunnel, I want you to know the secret I didn’t know. Not only is there a light but there is a whole new world awaiting you. Soon your children will no longer be children needing you to be their authority mom. You get to be their friend mom, instead.

Here’s the catch. It will be up to you to step out of the authority role that has been your identity for eighteen years. In order to find the secret reward of surviving the toddler and teen years, you have to relinquish control.

You’ve raised your kids to fly on their own, so don’t hold on to their tailfeathers.

Instead, let go and let them stretch their wings.

Yes, there will some turbulence and some dips in their altitude. Think back to when you were in your 20s. Did you have it all together? Most likely not but you learned from your mistakes and you moved forward. Allow your offspring the same privilege and let them impress you with their abilities.

The secret reward for surviving the toddler and teen years is a lifetime of friendship with those who love you best. It’s an incredible gift to be allowed a front-row seat to watch them soar!


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