I was recently intrigued by a conversation some friends had about the social-media hush from Moms with older kids. We tossed some thoughts around – but the consensus we came to about our more mature Mom-friends went something like this:
Raising older kids is not a series of pretty little packages.
The baby years are tough in their own rite. No new mother would claim that her existence is anything but taxing. Very quickly it is learned that your life is lassoed by these tiny people, and you are ruled and reigned by them. Yet, in most of these moments there are sweet and innocent themes. After all, a toddler is a toddler and at the end of the day, you are still kissed with sticky hands pressing against your face.
But Moms of older kids are drowning in a different pond altogether.
One of my children recently remarked: Mom, sometimes I feel like you enjoy nagging me. And though there was prompt addressing and forgiveness asked, nonetheless these are the types of statements kids with maturing understanding level.
It is sobering to sit beneath the razor-sharp mirrors of their growing discernment.
The Cute Factor
So where are the Moms of tweens and teens? In a quick scan of Facebook statuses and blogs, it is easy to note that most updates of any sort come from the little-years camp.
We are just beginning to dip our toes into life with bigger kids. But already, there is more at stake. Our fear is greater. Our concern for their future is greater. The future always felt so far away, but suddenly it is looming on the horizon. And sadly, there are already a handful of regrets trailing behind. So, there is simply no time to waste.
But it is also not as cute in the bigger-kid years.
It is not cute having to install open DNS on a computer, so that pornography cannot destroy your children.
It is not cute to find a man old enough to be her grand-father, following your daughter on Pinterest.
It is not cute to note character concerns which will affect them down the road, and realizing your reign of influence is limited in its power to harness them.
And yet, I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. For as I have grown to see, as I raise them, they are raising me.
My sin used to be better buried beneath piles of paper drawings of “me with Mom”. The affirmation was constant, and the trust unchallenged.
But, since they are developing consciences of their own, they are bringing to light what I would prefer not to see.
But isn’t that always the way with sin? We only acknowledge it if we have to. And bigger kids force our hand in the arena of sin and repentance.
Moms of Older Kids need a Different Kind of Faith
As I arrived at the airport a few days ago, I stood next to several couples who appeared to be jetting off on honeymoons. It was fun watching them- all body contact and whispers and smiles. Newlyweds have made promises which they fully intend to keep, but the faith in the marriage they have begun is vastly different than the faith that will keep them married.
They just do not realize it yet.
Likewise, the faith that Moms with tiny kids possess, is exactly what is needed. But that faith is much different still than the faith it takes to not give up as big kids begin to flex the muscles in their minds and wills.
As my own children become older, I can anticipate the temptation to disappear. Especially on days where every drop of emotional energy has been wrung out. But I come back to Satan in the desert. Standing with Jesus, he knew the opportunity was great. You can have all this, he motioned. Because he is conniving, he knew the wide-open vulnerability of solitude.
Likewise, a solitary Mom is a desert. She is lonely, discouraged, and maybe even hiding her fears and inadequacies by staying where no one can see her.
But part of continuing to help our kids get to the next step, is leaning on one another.
We might go a few inches under-ground when it comes to social media- and perhaps this is even wise- but we need to stay above ground in our willingness to reach out and ask: Can you pray for me?
There is a marked powerlessness in walking solo.
But there is great power in humbly relying on a village of other parents to help you raise your child.