Carving It Out

Posted by

I wake up at 3 am often these days, not sure if it is the heat, anxiety based on chemistry, worry based on real-life stuff, or just hormones.

Part of it is my worry that I am not getting enough time with my son. This is funny, because there are many moments when I have had more than enough of his 18-year old snarky comment about the phone rule (in the kitchen at bedtime), or his lack of cleaning up his own dishes, or the rank smell of his bedroom. I am trying to be ready for him to move on.

I am working on carving out those “love moments” with my teenagers- times when we connect heart to heart without any mention of the dirty socks, the drinking glasses lining his bedroom shelves, his gas money needs, or the lurking conversation about birth control (semiannually I force myself to check in with him, despite the choking sensation I have when I start the conversation).

It is SO important to my son that we have a relationship based on caring about what is important to him,and not on (undone) chores and homework.

My kids blessed me with the insistence on real authentic communication. Unlike my parents, they are not appeased with lame pleasantries. “My day was fine” doesn’t cross my daughter’s lips unless she is REALLY mad at me. She almost always gives me the longest long version possible. When I ask how school went, I might hear “Well, my T-shirt wasn’t right, so my boobs were a bother, and that made me self-conscious. And then in Chemistry, Mason spilled the solvent, and Allie complains about her cramps too much, and… for another hour most nights.”

“Ack!” I want to run screaming 50 years back on first impulse, but we have to buck up and respond, don’t we? We have to be genuine and honest with them, in order to have a genuine and honest relationship. So the tough conversations that mean something to them have to happen- and we have to sit on our hands sometimes while they discuss the best zit-popping techniques rather than lecture them not to touch their faces. They want us in the now, right here with them, with our energy and our focus.


  1. Hi Anne,

    I’m super-impressed that in the midst of being quite normally resentful of dumb things that your teenager does (or “teenagers do”, as it’s probably both of them!), you find yourself also able to focus on the longer-term requirement to maintain a close relationship.

    I don’t think that is common and you should pat yourself on the back.

    I’m not sure if this is good or bad news: Many times in the last few years, I’ve talked to women (fewer men — typically less drama growing up maybe?) who have happened to mention that they were horrible as teens but now have great relationships with their parents. My impression was that not only is this time to be endured, it may also be that the tough times WILL go away and be replaced by something much better as our little ones learn to fend for themselves.

    Cheers, SD.

    1. Thanks SD!
      It is Always good to hear your perspective and wisdom. I think your comment is more evidence for us to remember to “preserve the relationship” with our teens. No matter how irritated we get, we need to preserve our relationship and continue the unconditional love. We love the child, even when we don’t love their choices. * of course, unconditional love does not mean I always do what they want, or continue to give them money when they are using it unwisely. Boundaries in the midst do unconditional love is tricky…
      Thanks for visiting, SD!

  2. Thanks Patti! It is hard though… Yesterday my son started talking at 7:30 am. So I put down everything. I sat down for over an hour. Teenagers don’t talk at convenient times, I was late to work, unshowered, and no breakfast. But the important thing got taken care of. I heard a lot of his important stuff.
    Thanks for visiting, Patti. We all need encouragement to keep the priority on the front burner.

  3. It’s so true that we need to carve out a place to communicate with our kids and engage in authentic communication. Sometimes, as a parent, this means that we need to truly listen to our kids, instead of talking. You’re doing a great job because you understand that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s