It’s true, you know. What they say about the pre-teen years or as they’ve been so eloquently coined ‘Tweens’. They still love to snuggle up to mumma and run to the school gate at pick up to give you a hug after a hard day at the books. They’re incredibly helpful around the house, so much so that over the weekend I was a bit lost as my girls insisted I didn’t lift a finger. The showers are sparkling, the washing done and packed away, cupboards all tidied up, and dinner was even prepared. There was one incident, however, when they argued over who was going to vacuum and who would do the mopping.
As we left the house for school this morning, their sweet faces smiled at me as they informed me the beds were made and the kitchen tidied so I didn’t have to do it when I got home, and I could just concentrate on getting some work done.
Am I being naïve to hope it might carry on this way?
Are they just really helpful little humans?
Or, is it calm before the storm?
There are so many parenting books out there about babies/toddlers but maybe a few about older kids, mostly about disciplining them. And, as I’m a bit of a book nerd, this is where I turn to get some sense of solidarity from mums who have been there before. While searching I was left wondering, where were all the books that are just like, “hey, I’ve been where you’re at with raising tweens and teens and here’s the deal”?
Well, that’s all about to change. I interviewed Alexa Bigwarfe on the Double Happiness Multiplied podcast during Season one about losing one of her twin daughters to Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Since then, she launched herself into researching all ways to help parents. From her books and podcast, she is guiding the way for us to connect and share our experiences.
I’m all for supporting our fellow twin mums, that’s why I’m excited to share the news that the third book in Alexa’s Lose the Cape series will be released this week.
Lose the Cape! Ain’t Nothing But a Teen Thang needs to be on YOUR shelf. It’s packed full of funny stories and bittersweet essays about raising teenagers, along with helpful relationship advice and keeping your teen safe.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
I feel scared. Middle school—do we have to? I’m not prepared for this life stage. We’ve had emotional battle after battle. I’m not trained in the field of “how to avoid damaging your child.” Over the years, I’ve learned to become a nurse, a personal chef, a chauffeur, a coach, a math and science tutor, a professional organizer and a party planner. I did not realize how much harder it would be to play psychologist/counsellor. I mutter a lot to myself these days and then turn around and yell at my son for muttering under his breath to his teacher at school! I mean really, why on earth do we waste time learning Lamaze and breathing techniques? The medical professionals should be sending us to psychology class instead. It’s more useful in the long run!
Right now, I think I’ve truly found the ‘sweet spot’ of parenting. The kids are old enough that they are self-sufficient and no longer mauling me all day long. They’re still cute, sweet, and mostly respect us as parents. I feel like it can only get easier from here. Then I reflect back to an afternoon at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house about five years ago. Her kids were young teens. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “You have it so much easier than I do. I can’t wait until my kids are a little bit bigger so that I can relax.”
She practically snorted. “This isn’t easy. It never gets easier, you know?” She was sitting by the edge of the pool. Her kids were off doing their own thing. No one had asked her to wipe their butts or get them a drink or get them the fiftieth snack of the morning. She wasn’t a human jungle gym as little hands and feet crawled all over her. She was kicking back, enjoying an alcoholic beverage and, in my view, she didn’t have a care in the world.
I thought she was crazy for insisting that life with teenagers could be as difficult as life with three little kids. I could barely keep my wits. My kids were six, four, and two, and I was drowning in motherhood. I didn’t cope well with the constant neediness of these little creatures. The youngest was still potty training and I knew it would be years before she could independently go to the bathroom. The idea that it didn’t get easier not only seemed unfathomable but straight up depressing.
What I’ve learned as my children get older is that parenting comes in waves. The “hard” gets different. While they don’t crawl all over me anymore or need me every two minutes, the worries and concerns are of a completely different magnitude. I no longer worry about one of them falling into a pool and drowning. Instead, I worry about them falling into the wrong crowd.
As I approach the teen years, my oldest child getting ready to begin middle school, I’m examining what life really looks like with teenagers. I see that my sister-in-law wasn’t wrong. It doesn’t get easier. It’s just a different kind of stress. The emotional struggles and the difficulties of communication as my son becomes his own independent thinker are challenging and exhausting in a completely different way, and just as overwhelming. I’m terrified that I am not at all equipped to handle teenage children, and I’m relishing these years that I believe to be the “sweet spot” of parenting. They are still young and sweet and innocent, while very independent, able to entertain themselves and get their own snacks. They love and trust me. They are silly and enjoy being with me, and enjoy family walks, outings on the bicycles, and family movie nights. Their faces still light up with joy when they see me. My son is still happy that I come to have lunch with him, even as a 5th grader. I’m terrified of what is to come as we turn the next corner.
Excerpt from the Introduction, by Alexa Bigwarfe
Yes, I am terrified too.
But we don’t have to be.
Let’s raise these teens in a village – albeit a virtual one now. Heck, us mums of multiples need all the help we can get.
And, I’ll be hoping to get my windows cleaned at some point this week … cheeky wink.
You can find all the information you need about the book here:
Until next time,
I wish you Double Happiness Multiplied