By Lora Horn
Do you ever notice how most of the so-called “Mommy Blogs” out there focus on little kids? There are very few blogs about being a mom of tweens or teens.
I’m not being patronizing at all. I was a “Mommy blogger,” though people didn’t have niches or classifications when I started writing. I wrote about anything I cared about: parenting, theology, politics, morality, and kombucha. It’s amazing how things have changed
in the last ten
years in such a short time.
At some point, I stopped writing about my kids. I didn’t notice it happening, and it seems to happen to most other moms, too. I’ve spent several minutes contemplating why this could be and decided to share my thoughts. (Just kidding, the editors will back me up when I say I’ve been thinking about this for well over a year. That’s how long they’ve been waiting for this revision.)
This is what I came up with:
Kids eventually don’t like you writing about them.
And seriously, that’s fair. They have a right to decide how they want the public to see them. I remember hearing my mom ranting about me to her best friend. My junior high self was mortified. I suppose she needed someone to talk to, but it made it hard to be around that woman without feeling shame. (Seriously, do not vent about your family on the internet.)
After a certain point, and at my kids’ request, if I really wanted to post something about them, I would ask.
The older the kids are, the busier things get.
When I had a little one, I was astonished at the thought that things could get busier, but they do. School itself adds a tremendous amount of activity but it happens to homeschoolers, too. Add sports or other endeavors, and the car starts to feel like home.
With little kids, days could get lonely. Blogging was a daily test to see if the world still existed outside my front door. Could I still communicate with people who wiped their own noses and other body parts? It’s not the only reason I blogged, but it was part of it, more than I knew at the time.
When my kids started choir, sports, and homeschool co-op, I had my social needs met, too. Sometimes I missed the good old days of social isolation.
The older they get, the more different my kids are from your kids.
It’s easy to blog about little ones. There are only a few months’ difference in walking ages, eating ages, potty-training ages, etc. I can say “this worked for me,” and chances are, some variant is going to work for any other baby.
The older they are, the more their personalities play a significant role in how they respond to the world. The struggles and joys of raising one nine-year-old can be incredibly different from raising another nine-year-old. We won’t even talk about age twelve.
The older they get, the more their lives are about them.
At some point, being a parent stops being about what I’m doing as I raise little Johnny, and more about what’s going on in Johnny’s life that I might participate in, watch, or even miss because he has it handled.
The older they get, the clearer it is that they are alive by the grace of God and not any merit of my own.
Seriously, I have a 20-year-old son. Twenty. How did that happen? I look up at him (and I mean up) and I am blown away that he survived my parenting, and apparently ate well, too. He’s breathing, moving, and talking. We won’t even get into the fact that he is kind, intelligent, and doing well. That’s the grace of God, not me. Sometimes, I think he’s alive and thriving despite my parenting abilities.
My teenage daughter is kind, intelligent, and gifted as well, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. She’s not done yet, but she does know enough about taking care of herself that the odds are growing in her favor.
I’m not going to slam on Facebook. I love Facebook. But it is far easier to post a thought as it happens than to sit down and formulate an essay. It just is. Blogging then falls by the wayside.
Idealism is thwarted.
I was a babywearing, child-led weaning, family-bedding, kombucha brewing homeschooler. I led support groups and chat rooms for other parents. I was convinced My Way of Parenting looked at the developmental needs of children and met those needs like a boss, and I did it pretty dang well, thank you very much.
Especially with the first kid, I had this parenting thing down.
My kids both started reading in preschool. Some of my friends’ kids didn’t start reading until 9 or 10 years old. And you know what? If we put our grown-up kids side by side, you totally cannot tell the difference. Often, you can’t even tell my awesomely-homeschooled kids from super-bright public-school kids. (The ones in the chess or debate clubs might even be able to take my kids down).
And can you believe both my children completely refuse to wear t-shirts that say how long they breastfed? I can’t get credit for anything.
Joking aside, sin is still sin, and kids are still kids, and as I said before, the older they get, the more complex they are. No need can be met completely. Besides that, the devil and the world are out there adding their efforts to the damage our sinful selves accomplish. I knew this, but ladies, I know it better now.
No matter what we do, our kids still have things they contend with. We can raise them in the faith and they can still struggle or reject it outright. We can give them a great education and they still might wander, struggle, or rebel. They can be scarred by life or even by us, despite our best efforts to love them. And watching them hurt crushes our mommy hearts.
When they were little, I found so much comfort in the fact that they were baptized. Now that they are older, remembering their baptisms is what gives me the comfort to let them out of my sight, as if I could protect them from everything the world can throw at them. They belong to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does not let go easily.
Mommy blogging serves a great need. It is one of the ways we learn, reach out, and support each other as sisters in Christ. It does seem that, at some point, it stops serving the needs of both readers and writers. Mommy blogging was incredibly fulfilling for me for a while, and then other things took its place. If this is universal, then it is easy to understand why we don’t see many blogs about parenting older kids. I’m wondering if this is your experience, too?
Lora Horn has been happily married to her husband Jeff for 22 years. They live in Escondido, California (San Diego) where her husband is pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. She’s mom to two great kids and owner of one great cat. Writing being her first love, she blogs at Rebellious Pastor’s Wife. She also runs a virtual assistant business, helping churches and independent businesses with their web presence, content writing, and administrative needs.