05 January 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 19 comments

Black and White Wednesday - Teen Life

With the new year upon me I am diving right into my dreams and desires list and one of those desires is to write a bit more about some tough subjects.   I'm jumping head first in on this our first Black and White Wednesday of 2011....

When we begin as parents we are overwhelmed with taking care of this small person that has been placed in our arms.  We do everything we can to make sure our baby is safe, fed, healthy, and has all he or she needs to thrive.  We spend hours stressing over this little being in hopes that we are doing it all right.  All the while we are thinking babyhood is the hardest thing we've ever done in our lives.  Ever.  Fast forward thirteen years.  Then you find yourself with a teenager.  I find myself laughing at the thought that I used to think babyhood was the hard part!  I used to dream of the days when I had a teenager and life would become easy again...Oh baby was I ever dreaming!  Yes, you can laugh at me now.  :)  Babyhood may be tough yes, but teenagers are beyond your wildest dreams.  Think back to your own teen years and now place your teen self in todays world.  Yeah...not so pretty.

During Big J's childhood I used to think of myself as a cool mom.  I was going to be the one that all the other kids would say, "ooooo your mom is SO cool!!".  Then as life started moving forward from elementary to junior high my perception of my parenting started to change.  I started seeing things happening in my son's life that reminded me of a certain person I once knew.  Myself.  I started looking at his future and remembering my past at the same time.  Not for him.  I began to reevaluate my parenting ideals and took a good look at what I really wanted for my children.  Positive inner peace.  A strong relationship with God.

Nothing in the life of a teenager today is easy.  Nothing.  If a teen is smart, he's considered a nerd.  If a teen is academically challenged, he's considered dumb.  If a teen is from a wealthy family, he's considered stuck up.  If a teen is poor, he's considered worthless.  If a teen is over weight or has a bad complexion, he's considered ugly.  If a teen is beautiful, he's considered easy.  I could go on.   What's sad is that it's hard for a teen to come home and talk about it.   It's confusing to them.  They are embarrassed.  Teens are bullied unmercifully.  Bullied for the smallest detail in their life.  We read about it everywhere these days.  It's horrifying.  All a teen wants to do is fit in with his or her peers but unfortunately with the pressures of our society today, he essentially can't fit in anywhere.  

Fitting in comes with a huge price tag and can cause teens to travel a path they may not want to walk down or are ready to experience.  I began to see this power struggle with Big J and immediately started talking.  A lot.  And a lot more.  I haven't stopped talking.  Sometimes I know he's not listening to me but I still don't shut up.   On the flip side I listen.  I listen to everything.  I'm like a little fly on the wall with big ears.  I check out everything and ask for names and details.  He may not like it.  In fact there are times when he calls me the meanest mom in the world but I'm not, I'm just not going to let you go to spend the night at a strangers house, sorry!  Yup, I'm one of those moms.  And you know what I don't care what people think.  I'm not that dumb to know that yes maybe I am blind to some things but most things I see.  I don't have a problem being my child's advocate.  He wants to be a productive part of society!  He wants to be a change in the world.  He wants to stay clean and sober through his adolescence and beyond.  He wants to live a healthy life with God as his focus.  I WANT to help him attain those goals.   I want to watch him succeed.  I want to watch every moment!

But.  Yes there is a but.  It's hard.  It's SO hard to be the mom I want to be.  Harder than I ever could have imagined and yes there are days I just want to ignore it all.  I struggle with it daily.  I wake up somedays dreading the things I have to say or do.  I do it, but it's difficult sometimes.   I do not regret any of the choices I've made in my parenting, I only regret that I didn't get started earlier.  But remember I used to want to be the cool mom.  Now I just want to hear my son call me mom today, tomorrow and forever.  This story is far from over.  It's only just begun.   This last year in our lives hasn't just been filled with rainbows and sunshine, it's also been filled with major struggles and hard parenting moments.  My blood is forever filled with glitter and I'm always over the top happy but as I said in the beginning of this post, this year I want to write more about the other part of my life...the teen parts....the tough parts...and the best parts too.  

Happy Wednesday!!  Happy New Year!!  It feels good to be here again!  I've not been around in blogger land much lately with all the holiday goings on and I'm really taking advantage of our school break which is not yet done!  It's been nice to take a break and enjoy this time with family.  In fact we are off for our first adventure of the year...the kids and I are taking an impromptu road trip tomorrow and I can hardly stand it!!  Hope you are all enjoying a new beginning and finding time to take a breath from the holiday craziness!  


I remember how tough it was to be a teenager, no confidence, angry at the world, feeling so unhappy with myself. I wouldn't want to go back there! I think it's great how you're so involved with your son, and I'm sure he'll be grateful for it. Hope the trip went well, and love the photos.

I love how you tell like it is, Kayce with raising teenagers. You know I've been there done that and yes, I agree...probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. We aren't here as our child's best friend, we are their guide and mentor. And I was a mean mom too at times.

I have no doubt your son will emerge as a confident, happy young man. You are doing the right thing my friend!


Kayce - I'm so glad you are sharing here and allowing others to stand beside you in prayer. Every Tuesday I share Teen Talk Tuesday (on our family blog) that you might want to read together with your son. It will help you help him to keep his focus on God.

Your photos of him are great!


I love this post. My son is turning 6 and is too precocious for his own good. Already I see challenges ahead and I know that I have to be a credible mom now for me to be credible mom in his teen years.

This is a really great post - being a teen is difficult. I watched my brother struggle and then decline...he's nearly 27 and still struggling. I know I'm not a parent yet, but I need to remember that these years are sooo crucial to parenting! Love the images.

Happy New Year my sweet, wise, beautiful friend! You are already kicking butt and the best mom I know. Keep writing (and keep talking).

Hope you have a wonderful road trip. And thanks for sharing the tough stuff too. I know I am years away from the teen years, but it is still tremendous to be able to see how other people deal. Thanks.

Oh, you put it into words so well. I totally agree. My oldest will be 8 this year but I can sometimes see what we have ahead of us. I've already had to say to her that I don't really care what rules other families have...we have ours and they fit us. She's a sweet girl and I know she listens but I feel that we have to be really honest and consistent with her.

Erika B

How real and refreshing and scary and more. And so well written too.

Thank you for sharing so deeply and I really look forward to hearing more. My ears are wide open because I can see tiny signs of the times to come and I need the tools.

Have a great little adventure and Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

Kayce...I think about the same things you have written on a daily basis. I've always believed that I'm a mom to my children not their best friend. It's so hard right now raising them at the ages of 8 & almost 4. I can't even imagine when they're in their teenage years what it's going to be like. It scares me beyond words. Thank you for posting about this subject. I think this is going to help a lot of mom's out there that are thinking about the same exact issues. Your son is so very lucky to have you as his mom.

Your photos are amazing... Hope you have a fantastic adventure with your family. :-)


You are doing an amazing job during a tough, tough phase of your son's life...hang in there and I will put you on my prayer list for this week. Love ya Kayce! Thanks for keeping it real!

Being a Mom is the toughest job out there..
I have been kind of hard on my kids.. being a single Mom most of their lives.. but I will have to say I don't regret the things I have done..
Do what U think is best for your child..
Peer Pressure is AWFUL..
Love you my friend..
TONS..you are an AMAZING MOther.

I know the teen yards are going to be hard. They are trying to be independent and figure out who they want to be but they are still kids. It's a hard time in life. Thank you for giving me a small sneak peek of what is to come.

this boy can't go too wrong with a mom like you!

Well written post my friend.


I'm a "mean" Mom too....Oh this teenage thing has my stomach in knots.

Just wait till next year when you're potty training Jen and giving Jacob driving lessons at the same time..OMG girl, thank God you have blonde hair..it hides the grey so well!

This is such a good post. I know the years to come are going to be more difficult for Z as he gets older. I already worry about what he will have to endure in school. Being a high school teacher does have good points, and drawbacks. I know how tough it can be for kids. It is going to be so hard watching Z deal with all of that when all I want to do is protect him.

I always learn so much when I read your posts. Thank you for being so honest and open. It does help.

I remember my teenage years and so wish I had a "meanest mom on the earth" mom who kept me on the right path! Keep up the good (and tough) work, he'll thank you for it later!! :)

Oh, and these are such cool shots, too!

You write so beautifully and I am so grateful for all you share. My oldest is only 10 but I am already getting scared for those tough years that are coming all too quickly. We have had some horrible things come out in our community just recently involving teenage boys and the hazing that has been going on in the basketball team. It is scary. Very scary. Something you only hear about in movies and on the news. Not in our little podunk town in Idaho. The world is definitly not the same as when I was a teen. I have been thinking so much about this lately and I am grateful for your insights!

Thanks for this post...I only 'imagine' what being a mom to a teen girl in the next decade will be like. I am both terrified and excited. I'll enjoy all I can now AND then but I certainly know none of the parenting world is for the faint of heart. It's nice to hear about it from someone who is handling it with grace.

Happy New Year to all -