Before I had children, I was an expert. And I couldn’t figure out while all those parents of unruly children couldn’t get a handle on order in their own homes. How hard could it be, after all? After over a decade of watching and working with children, I’d awarded myself an automatic “Diploma de la Experience” in the raising of my own.
Or so I thought.
My clueless bliss continued when my oldest of three boys abandoned twelve for the teens. I thought, I’m going to be the coolest mom of teenagers ever. Who believes all those horror stories anyway? Likely propagated by the inexperienced and clueless. This is going to be great!
After all, the kids in the youth group loved hanging out at my house. Every time I walked into church on Sunday mornings, teenagers circled up, chitchatting about their week and ready for a quick hug from their “second mom.” My adolescent piano students warmed my piano bench, alternately laughing with me and sharing intimate conversation about life, relationships and faith. Why wouldn’t my experience with my own teenagers be just as precious, if not better?
Ah, the optimism of ignorance.
I’m now wrapping up the tail end of the teenage years in the Cushatt house. My oldest is 19, the middle almost 18, and the youngest 14. We still have a half-dozen years left of teenagerdom, but we’ve made it over the hump.
We’ve survived junior high (need I say more?), bullying, failed classes, broken bones, summer school, body hair, illegal substances, multiple rounds of stitches, voice changes, an over-sexualized culture, aggressive girlfriends, Homecoming, materialism, questionable friendships, speeding tickets, broken curfew, one-going-on-two high school graduations, and even six months of aching for a prodigal who wouldn’t come home.
I can’t say we’ve experienced it all, but give us time. We have a few years yet.
Still, we’re surviving. No, better than that, we’re thriving. And it’s not because my kids finally got “their act together” and I became the “coolest mom of teenagers ever.” In fact, call for a vote from the Cushatt kids, and I’m pretty certain I would not be re-elected for a second term.
Quite honestly, at times I would’ve gladly resigned my post for a quieter, cleaner, more-predictable (and certainly less locker-room-fragrant), existence. Being a mother to teenage boys is one the most difficult experiences of my life.
And one of the most wonderful.
Leading, guiding, teaching and loving our boys as they grow up to be the men God has created them to be is a profound and honorable calling, one that will require more from you and I than we ever imagined. But it’s worth it.
As we launch this new blog, I want the following truths to establish the basis for our ongoing journey together as moms of teenage boys:
• You are not alone. When my idealistic ignorance came crashing down into the chaotic reality that was my testosterone-infused, hormonally imbalanced home, I thought I was the only mother who’d ever failed her children as utterly and completely as I had. If you feel a little bit lost and in over your head, I’m with you. Remember: we’ve all been there one time or another.
• This blog is about you and for you. That means we want you to be part of the conversation. Your questions, experiences, insights, struggles only serve you unless you decide to share them with others. When you allow us into your world, even the most difficult challenges become a place of comfort and companionship for others. Don’t let your story stop with you. Send me your questions. Divulge your experiences. Let us know what you’ve discovered works and what doesn’t. We’re in this together.
• God loves your boys even more than you do. And although you have some responsibilities as their mother, the pressure’s off. What He’s started in them, He will finish. It’s that simple.
This is just the beginning, fellow moms-of-smelly-laundry-producers. Godly men are in the making, and we have front row tickets to the event of the decade. I’m glad we get to do this together.
What is your biggest frustration as a mom of a teenage boy? Your biggest joy?