There seems to be more children with anxiety in our society than ever before. This is something that I have been reading quite a bit about recently and the facts are quite staggering. In fact the research shows that as many as one in six young people in the UK suffer from anxiety. To look it another way, one in five teenagers in an average class will be suffering from anxiety (anxiety.org.uk). This is a frightening statistic frankly and it got me thinking about why this is happening. As a mum, I know that there are many pressure of our teenagers which I have written about Here.
Driving home from school the other day and my 17-year-old tells me that I have my hands at the wrong position on the wheel! What?? In fact, after a few driving lessons she is often pointing out various things I’m doing that are technically “wrong.” I remember doing this exact thing with my mum. I feel officially old!
I have amazing children who are now almost grown. I started this blog because I found that although I was working part time, I finally had time to do something else. My parenting days are far from over but my teenagers just don’t physically need me as much and it happened quite suddenly. It crept up on me when I found myself alone one Saturday afternoon enjoying a cup of tea and realised that I didn’t need to be anywhere! It got me thinking about all the things that used to drive me nuts that I was actually now missing. It’s as if my “parenting routines comfort blanket” has been removed and I am now thinking about how I should replace it. I’m feeling sad and possibly hormonal (ahh the menopausal brain) so bear with me!
- Being up early
Oh how I craved a lie-in when the children were tiny! My hubbie and I used to try to take turns having that extra hour in bed at the weekends but it often never worked out that way. The baby would need feeding or we would take the children swimming early to fit in with naps. Having any extra time to sleep became a bit of an obsession! But now we have teenagers who think sleeping is a national sport I just don’t seem to need to lie in! I wake up naturally at 7.30am on a Saturday and although it’s great to be able to take a cup of tea back to bed, the children are asleep for half the day! If we plan to do anything it has to be after lunch really. I miss the early morning snuggles reading that book over and over… There, I said it!
- Children’s TV
This is going to sound bonkers but I miss CBeebies with Tinky Winky, Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig. I even miss the theme tunes! In my job as a teacher I was always knowledgable with what the children liked when I had small children at home. “Oh yes I did see that episode when Daddy Pig slept outside in the car!” Now, I don’t have a clue and think the fact kids watch some Japanese woman opening Lego on YouTube slightly disturbing! I certainly don’t miss iCarly or some of those tween programmes that my children used to watch but I do miss Good luck Charlie. Charlie was just too cute! It’s now Ex on the beach, Prison Break or Indian cricket (sorry, not for me).
- Buying Children’s clothes
It’s such a chore shopping with babies and young children isn’t it but at least they don’t have a say in what you buy. If you want them to wear that cute piglet suit then they will. If you want to dress them in an old-fashioned sailor suit then so be it! Tweens and teens have a very definite idea of what they like and dislike. I remember trying to persuade my son that shirts that he had been happily wearing for the past 3 years, were smart but no, he just wouldn’t wear one. My children have a monthly allowance for clothes now that we gave them when they turned 14. It saves the aggro to be honest and if they want that Supreme T-shirt that costs £60, then they have to save for it. But, I miss the cute children’s clothes you can buy and having a say on what they wear.
- Going anywhere!
I’m not sure if this is just my children but I miss going on day trips. If I ask my two what they would like to do during the holidays, the only thing we agree on is to go to the cinema or to London. Well, going to London for a day or longer is not really a day trip for us because we would have to find someone to check on the dog. It’s also an expensive day out as we would go on the train and they want to shop! Days out in the ‘Big Smoke’ are therefore, not going to happen often. They also don’t mind being driven to see friends of course but that doesn’t include me or Hubbie! It may also be because I have a girl and a boy so my son may want to go ice skating for example but my daughter would want to go out for a meal. But I miss farm parks and soft play (For little kids). I miss going to the beach (too much sand apparently) or walking in a nearby beauty spot (too cold/wet/boring). Often, we just don’t go anywhere or we eat out. They then complain that they are bored! Hohum.
- Having evenings “off”
I love having my teenagers watching TV with me (especially CSI or Americas Next Top Model) but sometimes I would like an evening “off”. I would like to watch what I want to watch and not have to fight to watch Broadchurch or Gardeners World! With small children they are, hopefully, asleep by 8pm so you can relax and spend some quality time with your hubbie. Well I miss that. Often, my teens are still up when we go to bed.
So there you have it. I love my teens but I miss my babies. Perhaps it’s nostalgia that protects us from the hard times we had with young children? There are many times that I remember feeling tired, overwhelmed and fed up but I still miss it. So, enjoy the times that make you feel tired, over whelmed or fed up because those times don’t last. In fact, they are over in a blink of an eye and then you’ll be looking at the next stage in your life whether you like it or not.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
If I was a teen I wonder if how I would cope with my current life……
I would get to work at, like 11am and get, like a coffee first because I just could not do the early start. Usually I get to work at 7.30am but that’s just way too early so I just couldn’t make that. Sorry. Oh and btw, I can’t drive so have to rely on the bus. I know that it takes a full hour to get to work but I always forget to leave that long and will probably miss the bus. A teacher? Yes, I know that I’m a teacher but they are just kids right? So they could colour in or something and I’ll be there. I have a TA so he could just get on with whatever they usually do right? I don’t have proper work clothes soooo can I wear my black jeans? They are ripped at the knees…is that ok? Oh and I always show my midriff, it’s kinda my thing. I do have clean Converse so that’s good. Now, I can go home at 3pm right? Yeah, cos that’s when school ends. Cool, I can go into town after that and see my friends…..
Well chores are stupid so I just won’t do any basically. I suppose I could drag a wet cloth around the kitchen and push the crumbs on the floor and leave a wet trail all over the kitchen counter. That’s the kitchen cleaned! I can put my breakfast things in the dishwasher later anyway. I never make my bed so that’s cool. There are a few makeup stains on the carpet but I can just rub those in and they have kinda gone….that’s fine. The wet towels on the floor? I can reuse these tonight so they can stay there for now. I flushed the toilet earlier so that’s good but I could put some bleach in there and spill a little on the floor at the same time but that means the floor is clean doesn’t it? The sitting room is basically for sitting in so the cushions can be on the floor. I like sitting on the floor. The glass I used last night can stay there ‘cos it’s fine. I can also put apple cores down the back of the sofa as no one has really noticed. The T.V is on pause? Oh, I remember! I paused that last night when I watched “Ex on the Beach” and went to get snacks. I can leave the snacks there so that I can eat them later.
Shopping for groceries
So I can do this! So much money each week and it’s all for food? Well no! I need a new top and oh! there’s those gorgeous new shoes I want so….I can buy milk, bread, crisps, pizza and cereal. That’s enough cos that’s all I eat really. Everyone can eat that too because it’s sooo good although perhaps we need some apples? I need new make-up too as that’s a necessity. Oh…that’s all the money gone and it’s Tuesday. Mmmm. Ah well, I can always “borrow” money from Dad.
Now I know that the dog needs walking and I need to cook tea for everyone but I just need to take a photo for my Snapchat feed. I can’t muck up my streak you see so I’m just going to send that photo of the floor. There. Oh and now I need to upload that picture to my Instagram account of that brilliant picture I took earlier….Ok. Dog. Come on time for a walk. I think I’ll just pop around the block. It will only take 15 minutes. I know she wants a longer walk but that will do. I’ll just pop into the local shop and buy some chocolate on my way and then go to the park to see if my friends are there. We could get a burger on the way home actually. Oh it doesn’t matter about getting home to cook tea. I’ve eaten so….I’m sure they will all be fine…they could eat cereal or toast.
Actually….maybe not. 🙂
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
I’m at home today as my son is ill. I watch him as he lies on the sofa covered up (well part of him) in a blanket with his big feet hanging over the edge of the sofa. Where did he come from? I ask myself. This huge, great man child who I love with all my heart.
This was a question that my mum used to relay to us as children. It became a family “thing”. “Where did you come from?” It’s hard to imagine our children before they were born isn’t it? But once they are here it’s hard to imagine them not being here. Where were they before? Were they waiting somewhere, waiting to be born?
Apparently mum asked my younger sister this once when she was about 3. Immediately she replied, “I came in a wocket!” We still laugh at this now….a rocket indeed, with a man called Robert apparently. Maybe we come and leave this world in a rocket….wouldn’t that be something!
My son was 3 only yesterday but here he is almost grown. Where did the smiley and content little baby who slept through the night and ate his body weight in baby rice go? Where did the defiant and chatty little toddler who asked 4 million questions a day without waiting for an answer, go? Where did the cheeky and physical little boy who refused to wear trousers and took his Lego creations to bed with him, go? Where did the school boy who loved hot chocolate with cream who was obsessed with Transformers, go?
He’s still here. He’s just feeling poorly. He may now be a fully fledged teenager; shaving, texting girls, obsessed with sport but he still here. He still loves to wear shorts and eats his body weight in food. But although he may have changed, he’ll always be my boy and hopefully he’ll always want his mum to make him a hot chocolate. Well, maybe until she gets taken off in a wocket…..
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
I’ve come to conclusion that teens are quite like toddlers. In fact, if you have toddlers keep all your current strategies because you will need them again…Here’s 5 reasons why….
- You know that annoying Frozen soundtrack you have to listen to in the car? Well, your car music choice will still not be your own with teens. Believe me when I say you will wish it was still Frozen.
- Toddler trantrums getting you down? Try teen melt downs….at least toddlers fall asleep afterwards.
- Are your toddlers fussy eaters? Well get ready for fussy, frigging “I only eat yellow food” teens.
- Is your toddler driving you mad with their choices of clothes? They still will. “Not those black jeans, the other black jeans!”
- Toddler still waking you at night? Same with teens except you do tend to get a lie in which is a bonus after they don’t go to bed before 11pm.
So there you have it. Teens? Toddlers? Same thing basically. Enjoy!
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
The internet is full of parenting advice or the ironic posts about needing gin at 4 o’clock and although I chuckle I do think, “you wait…..if you think parenting babies and small children is tricky wait until they become teens!” Don’t get me wrong, babies and toddlers are physically exhausting and I couldn’t wait until 7pm when they were tucked up in bed and I could be an adult again. The thing is, and I’m sure other parents feel like me, that I miss that stage…..
I miss the rosy beams at 6am (yes, really!) when they see you first thing in the morning. I miss the snuggles when you read a bedtime story together with Upsey Daisy and Iggle Piggle. I miss the cheeky grin when they have hidden your keys. I miss the pure joy of their giggle when you flap the newspaper and play Peek-a-boo. I even miss having to do that jigsaw for the tenth time that day. It was so predictable but safe almost. The routine was monotonous at times but also comforting. I suppose it’s like any stage of being a parent; it comes to an end and before you know it you’re into the next stage and you never even realised.
Let me tell you a little about the stage I’m in now with my children…..
- Being a taxi.
I’m always in the car. We make sure that our kids have hobbies when they are younger don’t we? Tennis, Scouts, football, ballet. Children these days are encouraged to try everything; it’s a very middle-class thing. We encourage them, rightly so, to try lots of different things. The difficulty is that now they are teens the hobbies become quite annoying. I have renamed myself “Taximum” and I’m sure many other parents can relate. My son is a keen hockey player and although I am naturally proud of him, the better he gets the further we end up driving him. Hours in the car to wait for a few hours and then to drive home again. And then there is my older teen who goes “out”. The problem is she wants to be picked up again and there is never a bus after 9pm in the country. Until she learns to drive that means waiting outside places in the middle of the night and when she gets into the car she doesn’t want you to talk to her even though you’ve driven to collect her at midnight. So much for that gin at 4 o’clock.
When we had toddlers and small children we had an area downstairs for all their toys. I remember at the end of the evening we would clear the children’s things away so that we could enjoy a quiet, adult conversation without being surrounded by toys that could be trodden or sat on. Well, teenagers stuff is a little different. Basically, there is no area for teenage stuff. It is everywhere. Pants, socks, earrings, various text books, make up, wet towels. We have tried to train our children to put their stuff in their room but they always seem to have an answer for why their school shirt is down the back of the sofa or there’s a makeup stain on the carpet. Stuff also equates to plates, cups and other kitchenware. Mugs are a favourite in the old house….they find themselves lost for months, only to be found under a bed.
- Do NOT talk to them before school
My time in the car is a lonely one; even though I am not alone. Teens just don’t want a conversation in the mornings. “Do NOT speak to me!” They are not programmed to do anything before 10am so a lovely conversation in the car on the way to school is a no-no. I remember when they were younger and all the amazing questions they would ask and you think you have a genius child -“Why is the sky blue Mummy?” “Who invented the car Mummy?” I now know that was a stage and every child asks these types of questions because when they are teenagers they lose the ability to speak whilst on any type of journey.
- You are old
I’m afraid this one is obvious. You, as their parent are old and therefore, know nothing. I remember the admiration when my children thought I knew everything. Now the looks are quite different when they realise I actually know nothing. I am especially old when I have lost the one hockey socks later to be found in my son’s bag. There is nothing to debate here I’m afraid!
“Will there be Wifi?” This is common teenage phrase in the old house. As long as there is Wifi they will come with us to a friends, the shops, the hotel…… My advice is do not book a holiday in a hotel without Wifi when you have teenagers. Remember that flight that sounded like a good idea with your 20 month old because you didn’t have to pay for their seat? Well it’s like that…..just don’t bother really. I’ve tried to be the parent that asks for all phones to be downstairs at bedtime but that never works. I remember once when my daughter had an iPad when she was about 12. I changed the settings so that she couldn’t go on the internet without adult supervision. I was quite pleased with my technological prowess. But what did she do? She just downloaded the google app….I didn’t even know this was possible! That’s because I am old apparently.
- The joy, laughter and fun times
The above is true but, of course with these things comes seriously funny moments and fun times that I absolutely cherish. I wouldn’t change anything about my teens as they are actually great fun to be around.
I love the fact that we can all lie in bed on a Sunday and then go to have brunch together. I love the cinema trips when we can watch films other than Disney sing-a-longs. I love the debates about Trump or the state of One Direction. I love the things they find to share with me on YouTube.
I even like the Sex Ed chats…..my one advice here though is have Sex Ed chats in the car, preferably first thing in the morning……In this way they can’t escape. Oh and they also tend not to join in with the conversation!
I know that this stage in my parenting life will come to an end soon and I will miss it terribly so my advice to you all is, enjoy every stage. It passes by in a blink of an eye. Whilst my daughter talks about university courses I look at her and can see her beaming face as a baby looking back at me.
Perhaps that’s why our mums look at us in the same way.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.