They (whomever THEY are) say women change every seven years. Who I am today is very different to whom I will be seven years from now. I just can't decide if that is good news or bad news.
In the realm of my mom-hood that has serious implications. My first child became a teenager sixteen years ago. That means the "mom of teenager" I was then was different than the "mom of teenager" I was seven years later, and now, after seven more years, I am different again.
But then again, having seven children in fourteen years would change anyone, wouldn't it?
I love being a mom of many. I love the crowd, the life, the vast quantities of food, the laughter, the debates, the jokes, and just the general variety. And then when they all leave, I adore the peaceful hush that settles over my home.
But there are some realities that were not anticipated. When I had my last child at 39, I don't think I ever did the math to realize I would be a mid-50s, menopausal woman when she became a teenager. It never occurred to me.
My older kids love to point out where I have become a softy in my "old age." I let my current "last" teenagers say things, watch shows, wear outfits, and eat food I never would have allowed the first batch.
Such is life in a big family. Parents get tired. I like to think my big principles are as solid as ever, but the little stuff just doesn't matter in the same way.
On the other hand, there is little wool left in the universe to pull over my eyes. These last two kids get the BENEFIT of my having heard that, seen that, and knowing exactly what actually is going on. I have a doctorate in Shenanigans Youth Will Attempt. Therefore, they get lectures and rules based on poor decisions their older siblings made.
These two get away with more, and get away with less, all at the same time.
Why Being an Older Mom Is Tough
This stage is hard because, while I often have an insider's grasp on what is actually going on, I might be too tired to do anything about it. Being worn out is a reality that factors into every decision about which battle to fight.
Being a Mom in my 50s is also hard because I am distracted. I am a little attention-deficit on a good day, and will often move on to the next task before the last one is completed. That must be why I always burn the last batch of cookies. By the time the fourth pan is making its way into the oven, I have mentally moved on to the next task and forget about those cookies until a nice burnt aroma fills the air.
But, I don't want to move on with my life until this last of batch of kids is done. In other words, Don't Burn the Cookies!
I have to remind myself, "you are not done!" pretty consistently. I want to finish this race strong. I don't want to poop out and coast over the finish line. These two, beautiful souls, still growing up in my home, need and deserve a fully invested Mom, even if I am experiencing a hot flash when they want to sit down and have a heart to heart talk.
Why I Love Being An Older Mom
Being a Mom of teenagers may make me tired, but it also keeps me young. I feel a laziness creeping in as I age. I mean, do I really want to fix my hair and put on makeup? Every day?
But with my cute girls by my side, I am much more likely to slap some paint on the barn and try to dress somewhat currently. They keep me young, much more than botox or a spray tan would.
I love the energy and life and chatter and squeals and drama(some of the time- I only love this one some of the time) and vitality that young ladies add to every room of the house. While their lows may be lower than the Mariana Trench, their highs reach to Mount Everest. How could I ever be bored?
This stage of motherhood is deepened by the experience of walking with Jesus through five other hazardous journeys in the Land of Growing Up. I no longer nag about every single thing. I mean, I nag. Come on- I am still a Mom. But I have learned what to nag about and what to pray about.
I now know down to my toes that Jesus is even more invested in these souls than I am. I merely cooperate with Him. I can't fix them or mold them to my ideal. I am here to cultivate their environment so hopefully they hear His voice and follow His lead.
My nest is not empty and I am grateful for that fact. I revel in these last few years of kids at home. They WILL grow up. They WILL move away. I WILL miss them with an ache the seeps into every cell of my body.
So hot-flashing Moms of teenagers, UNITE! Let's hold the line, love with passion, and show our teenagers Jesus in technicolor lights.
They need us to run this race with passion and energy. It might require more coffee than when we were in our 40s, but we can do it.
Our kids are worth every moment.