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Week 19| Why I Decided to Be More Present for Our Teens


Oh my goodness, I remember asking my sister-in-law how on earth she does it as she was in the throws of the teen years with our niece and nephew. It honestly seemed a little overwhelming to me when I was only dealing with little people who didn't quite yet have minds of their own. She always told me that you work your way up to that age. Thankfully you aren't just handed a teenager {well in some instances people are but generally speaking...} She was so right. And here we are... a 13 year old and a nearly 15 year old. Worked our way up to this phase we have. My poor heart can hardly take it. Where on earth did all the years go?!

I remember when our kids were just babies... and I was going back to work after maternity leave from having our daughter. I thought there was NO way that I couldn't be without them or even more so, no way they could be without me. There was NO way that my SIL & MIL could take care of them like I could (despite successfully raising their own kids). I was crazy. I was back to work for less than a month and Ben and I decided it would be best for me to do the stay-at-home mom thing for a bit. It truly was the BEST decision for us at the time. Later that year I decided I was ready to do part time work again, and have done only part time since then.

While I always thought it was so important to be around while they were young, little did I know it would be even more important to be around as they got older. It's crazy when I think about what I want to be doing right now and the fact that I want to be soaking up their last few years in our home. Yes, I know, they are our kids forever but these days go by so quickly!! And we are at the point now where most weekends are consumed with friends & sports so I will take all the time & interaction I can get!

That has meant adjusting my priorities, my job and other demands. I am by no means helicoptering it up - however, I do love driving them to school each morning, picking them up in the afternoons when I can, being home and having dinner together each night, all the little things. It also gives us lots of opportunities for conversations that we may not otherwise have. These things are important and times we will otherwise never get back. These changes have also allowed me to be at sporting events and other activities for them that I may not have otherwise been able to attend.

And the truth is... I really do enjoy being around our children. I love seeing the people they have become and can't wait to see what the future has in store for each of them. Most of the time they are super funny & chatty, and they still want to hang out with their mom & dad!

Yet with these lovely teens and these moments comes so much...

  • Managing their schedules.

  • The laundry {you'd think they have an army sharing their wardrobes with them?!}

  • The food, holy shiz they can eat! {Shiz, that happens to be our 13 yr old's favorite word of the moment.}

  • The showers - yes, I know, there are plenty of teens who hate showering, however we have the opposite extreme in our house. Multiple showers a day which only leads to more laundry... more clothing, more towels - it's a little crazy! {because it would be SO gross to use the same towel more than once even though you are CLEAN when you use it?!}

  • The music .... what in the what?! I joke that FU@# is my favorite F word, Friday being the second favorite. But somehow it just doesn't sound right in music, especially when your teens are listening to it. Our son is always like "hey, listen to this new song..." I have to say most of the time I am embarrassed to have his music playing in my car. Seriously. It just feels all wrong. {Speaking of music, they were talking about "oldies" and Camryn was like "I like Journey." Whoa sister... oldies are what MY parents listen to. Not the 80s music you are referring to. Puzzling right? If we consider our parents music oldies, does our music (80s, 90s, 2000s) qualify as oldies as well? I can't even. This is making the impending 40th that much worse.}

  • The lingo... as I was talking to our son, he was saying that someone was "all up in his grill." His grill?! Is he suddenly some heavy duty Chevy truck? Or a Weber for my burgers? Another what the what moment... Not in his business or bothering him?, "all up in his grill"... Ok.

  • The attitudes... in their defense, those horrible attitudes tend to only sneak out when asked to help around the house. {Or should I say, lucky for us?} Haha! And I thoughtfully try to remind them that we ALL live here and have to do our part, sighhhh.

I think we learn as much from them as they learn from us -

I swear as the mom of toddlers I would often catch myself saying "is that a safe choice" as they explored their world - you know jumping off things they shouldn't be jumping from, riding their bikes down gravel driveways & hitting the brakes too hard only to wipe out, riding a four wheeler up a pile of rocks and flipping over, all the really NOT so safe choices they like to make. It seemed so hard. Shaping their little minds to know right from wrong, safe from unsafe, good from bad, being caring & thoughtful instead of mean & hurtful... to really just be good little humans.

Now I often find myself saying "is that a good choice" as we have discussions about their world when really hard conversations come up like bullying, drugs/alcohol, social media, relationships, all the things... all the things it would be really easy to ignore or not talk about because they are uncomfortable and awkward, however so important to help guide them to making "good choices" when they are off on their own. Now is the time I hope that all those "simple" little life lessons we hope to instill in our little children have really stuck and we/they continue building upon that foundation.

These are the reasons I have decided to be more present in our teens' lives. They are still finding their way... and while there are plenty to help them along that way, I want them to know that we will always be first in line.

#Teens #BeingPresent

DANICA FINOCCHARIO-SMITH

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Phone 585.749.3493

Geneseo,  New York 

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