Raising Teens, Raising Tots

The Isolation Phase

My facebook post many days may look something like this:

I love my kids!  They are so cute and I love watching them laugh together!

What it doesn’t say behind it is:

Man today was hard.  I swear they were battling to see who could have the most temper tantrums today or maybe throw the most at me (whether attitude or Hot Wheels)

But in that moment, we capture a memory and share it with the world! Look at my wonderful life!!  And a wonderful life it is….but it’s not easy.  (If you follow me on FaceBook, you actually will see some of the 2nd type of posts…I’ve contemplated one with a for sale sign in front of them…? Haha)

Having a teen and a tot is a unique experience.  I often tell people “Yes, a decade apart is the way to go! You have a built in babysitter and it’s like having two singletons”  But—it presents a unique set of challenges as well.   I may list them all in another post, but I want to focus on one in particular today.

It can feel isolating!

Let’s start with the teen.  She is an amazing kid- responsible, great student, great athlete, polite, volunteers, kind hearted, doesn’t know a stranger—but she’s a TYPICAL TEEN GIRL!  No longer is mom that cool to hang out with or talk to without bribing or tons of prying.  Friends come first, technology rules her mind, and I’m often the bad guy lately.  Feels isolating.

Next, the toddler.  I’m going to be blunt- I don’t always get him.  His brain, unlike my teen’s, isn’t wired like mine.  He’s DIFERENT than me—like his DAD!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated how his brain analyzes something and puts things together, but I don’t get him.  Sometimes Most of the time that can be quite frustrating.  Feels isolating

Then there’s the moms.  I had my teen young (23) and my toddler older (35).  Many of my friends that I made through the early childhood stage are 10 years older than me- most actually.  They are amazing friends, but they are done.  They don’t have toddlers. (They love mine though and spoil him rotten with love!)  The toddler moms are about 6-10 years younger than me on average, not divorced/remarried etc.  We have some things in common, but they aren’t hauling a toddler off to a soccer game in rain icedrops falling from the sky or trying to corral them in front of all the other middle school moms who just came from the office or yoga and can focus on the game. (I think all the other moms must do yoga….or maybe they just like yoga pants…again, another post!) That can feel isolating.

My husband.  Again- another post.  I’ve always known we were opposite, but I swear he doesn’t get me at all.  And raising a kid together, not “my” kid he’s helping with, but OUR kid, wow- that’s bringing out every difference we have!  Date nights seem to be few and far between and I have to work harder to connect and not critique.  That can feel isolating.

But this is not a whiny blog, and this isn’t a whiny post.  The important word was FEEL.  I FEEL isolated sometimes. I FEEL like NO ONE GETS WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH.  I FEEL like I’m the only one who’s ever FELT this way.  In reality, almost every mom, similar situation or not, either feels this way now or has felt this way sometime in the past.  Motherhood can be amazing, wonderful, fulfilling—and isolating.  If we let it be.  It’s important to connect with other people and live life together.

I’m so lucky- I haven’t had to look too far- everyone I need is right in my neighborhood!  One neighbor- pregnant at the same time, kids (she has twin boys) 2 weeks apart, we are currently living much of life together.  Younger, yes.  But we were friends before anyway and with her wisdom, I often forget we aren’t celebrating the same birth year.  Another neighbor, our 3 person families have been best friends for almost a decade now.  Add in Colt, and it’s a new phase, but we can relate with the girls…and the husbands!  She gets the brunt of my frustrations and is such a good listener, that I can talk for an hour before realizing she’s barely said a word.  Whoa… And then date nights.  I need to be more intentional about connecting with my husband.  Taking on the entire family financial responsibility seems to really weigh on him.  We both agree is good to be home with the “baby”, but life doesn’t look, feel, flow, anything like it did the 1st better part of a decade we were together.  {insert stereotype} He’s a guy.  Connecting is not his thing, much like changing poopy diapers.  Unless he HAS to, he’s not going to do it, so I need to be intentional to make sure there is time carved out for us.  Bringing in a sitter, staying home on a night I may want to hang out with my girlfriends so we can pop popcorn and watch a movie off the DVR, maybe showering before he comes home from work…. Those are important things to help connect with him.

Will I still have days that I FEEL isolated? Yes.  But there are opportunities around us, often which require being vulnerable and authentic, to connect with others who do understand and can relate.  God didn’t design us to be isolated and alone.  It takes a village, and each stage is #JustAPhase of this #AdoredChaos life!

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2 thoughts on “The Isolation Phase

  1. Michelle says:

    You are not alone in how you feel! You are an amazing person and I love how open and honest you are about your feelings. It’s one of the things I admire about you. We all have our unique situations and it can feel isolating when us moms put the whole world on our shoulders. Miss you girl!

    Liked by 1 person

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