There was a time when I came here to write about whatever parenting hurdle I was flailing on and oh, there was such great relief in hearing from other people who knew exactly what I was talking about. I found so much comfort from sharing those stories, and so much great advice. Maybe it sounds strange to say that I became a better parent through the process of writing on the Internet, but I believe it to be true. So many anxieties soothed, so much experience and wisdom to draw from.

I don’t think there can be any one-size-fits-all approach to sharing our lives in any sort of public way, but I know for me I can’t write about parenting the way I used to. It’s more complicated, my perspectives and feelings are intertwined with people who are no longer babies and are building stories of their own.

I miss it, though. I miss that feeling of connection, and of seeing different points of view. I’m so grateful I had this outlet when my children were little, but you know, I never thought ahead to how things would change. It’s different in person, too: I don’t have that instant in-common feeling any more. Same-age kids aren’t same-experience any more, I suppose.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are parents with older kids. Do you share your life the way you used to? Is it harder or easier to connect with other parents now?

Comments

25 Responses to “Growing”

  1. Kelly on January 12th, 2016 10:20 am

    I have found that as our kids get older, there are even more subjects that divide us such as what we teach them about sex before marriage, grades, college or after high school choices etc. I have said that it would be great to have parenting teen classes modeled after early childhood ed classes but I think too many people would be offended and the class would end in blows and f-bombs. It’s sad to me that we still don’t accept one another, not unlike the breastfeeding debate or the stay at home moms vs. the working moms. Let’s support one another PLEASE

  2. Zoot on January 12th, 2016 10:24 am

    I do share it, but not everything. I’m open with my kids about it and let them read stuff if I need to. I have shifted to more writing about my personal life and growth instead of theirs – and I don’t write about the really person stuff like the years around my child coming out and the journey our family went through. I always wanted to write about it because I wanted my experience to help others, but it wasn’t my story.

  3. Amy on January 12th, 2016 11:29 am

    I’m not a blog writer, but a longtime blog reader – I’ve been reading yours since at least 2004, or earlier – and I’ve found that in recent years I’m reading fewer and fewer of my old favorites. I loved reading blogs (ahem: journals) back then because of that connection, that instant common understanding that you mention. Now that my kids are 10, 12 and 16 I *think* I have a better handle on everything to do with parenting, and less investment in my position on anything related to parenting (if that makes any sense) so I don’t read blogs the same way. I also found that once my kids started real school I made a lot of local parent friends that I could share that connection with. Sorry, what was the question again?

  4. Stephanie on January 12th, 2016 11:31 am

    My kids are 16, 12, and 5. I find that on Facebook (the closest thing I have to a “public” platform for sharing things), I write considerably more about my little guy than I do about my older girls. Part of that is my natural self-censor button, and part of it is that my girls would totally freak out if I shared the kinds of things about them that I share about my 5-year old.

    However, I do have an online group of about 50 moms, and we all STILL share all the nitty gritty–the good, the bad, and the ugly–with each other about parenting. We all “met” online when we were pregnant with our kids who are now 16. We lost touch over the years, and then reconnected on Facebook about 5 years ago after one of the kids was killed in a house fire. While I have met several of them in person, the majority remain “online only” friends. It’s not really a public forum, but it’s also not a small group of people. We are very diverse, and there is a wide range of political, social, and religious beliefs amongst us, so there are times when it feels like you are getting a public reaction to something, even though it’s coming from someone you’ve “known” for 16 years. It often feels like a happy medium between really cloistered parenting advice, and public parenting advice, if that makes sense.

  5. Cindy on January 12th, 2016 12:06 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog FOREVER. I agree, my son is 13 and things are totally different now. He’s so different and I don’t ask other moms for advice or anything, I do my own thing.

  6. allison on January 12th, 2016 12:35 pm

    I am in the same boat. I stopped blogging so long ago, because it had become all about my kids and at a certain point I just wasn’t comfortable sharing so much about them online. I do still share stuff on facebook… but mostly just anecdotal stuff. I don’t go into detail with any issues we are facing or what have you. It just feels like it’s an invasion of their privacy. I can’t do it. I don’t even want to do it. But I miss it. Weird huh?

  7. Katie on January 12th, 2016 12:38 pm

    God. I feel like I’m about to ugly cry into my Fresca right now. I started reading your blog when WE were pregnant with our eldest kids. I blogged all the time about everything. I sort of quit once I joined Facebook, which makes me sad, but….alas. Is true. I don’t share as much but I still share MY frustrations. Like how my kids are bugging the crap out of me, etc on FB. But yea. Its not all the nitty gritty anymore. And honestly….I’m SO. MUCH. HAPPIER. now. So much. But yet, this whole convo is making me all weepy and sentimental. WTF.

  8. Mary Clare on January 12th, 2016 1:18 pm

    The issues are more complicated now as my kids get older. I’d like to keep getting feedback from fellow parents and finding ways to vent. After this mornings fight about how leggings-are-not-pants with my 7 YO complete with tears, door slamming and lots of yelling about unfairness, I realized I’m gonna need some more room to vent as we get into the pre-teen and teen years. I have a few friends that I rely on and who are non-judgmental.Lastly, I’ll add that I’ve appreciated this space over the years for stories about struggles and successes.

  9. shay on January 12th, 2016 3:13 pm

    I am not a blogger, but I share on FB. I am very careful to be positive and nothing too embarrassing (tampon up the nose of my son who was having a severe nosebleed notwithstanding). I have kids in college, and I share, but again, all positives, and for any photos and videos I check with them first. My younger kids will tell me immediately, “Don’t post that one.” Older, meaning 8-11 yrs old.

  10. Jessica on January 12th, 2016 3:57 pm

    I too think things are more complicated – nuanced. It is no longer a quick question like what do you do when your baby starts waking up 4 times a night after sleeping through the night for months (remember that question?) My questions now are more of the: “I know I’m supposed to keep my daughters busy all the time and focused on academics but that means I am busy all the time and am exhausted and I don’t think they are gaining any additional wisdom or confidence or joy with all this although it may really just me being so freaking tired I wouldn’t recognize joy or wisdom or confidence if it ran me over with 8 semi tires and so I’m wondering if I offload something for the 10 year old would it be voice lessons which she adores but it is expensive and I’m really not sure of the long term relevance or would it be basketball which she loves but the practices are killing me and she’s never going to play basketball even on the high school level although maybe she will because what do I know I wasn’t ever a jock so I wouldn’t know a natural jump shot if it bit me in the hiney or should it be church choir but you know church is so relevant to her growth spiritually but is it really wouldn’t she get as much spiritual awakening if I just let her sleep an extra hour every day and while chess club is pretty low impact it does necessitate me leaving work early which means I have to go in early which means I cut even deeper into my sleep but it is so good for her brain at least that’s what I’ve read….) See how this question, assuming you’ve even bothered to get this deep into my comment is way more specific and way more complicated? I just know I worry every day that I am a crappy parent and that I’m missing the boat with my 7 year old and 10 year old daughters. I wish there was some place I could go to read and comment about someone else’s specific family stuff. I miss the old blogging world – Facebook doesn’t hold the same intimacy – we all have to be too damn happy on Facebook. My 2 cents.

  11. Mel on January 12th, 2016 7:30 pm

    I don’t have a better handle on how to raise my kids, but I think my schedule has gotten busier now. Ian, who is 10, and Cailin, who is 7, have activities outside of school, playdates to attend, dances to dance, chess to play, etc. Then there’s keeping up on the homework and fixin dinner and bedtime. I’m not at home like I was when the kids were little, and finding time to write to connect is harder for me than it used to be. I have found some local parents, though, and that makes it easier to connect. Still, I enjoy reading your blog because my son and your oldest re so close in age and you are so honest when you write that it’s refreshingly different, even when it’s painful to read. Since I still like to read your blog, I should take the time to comment more than I do.

  12. allstarme on January 14th, 2016 10:05 am

    I would say that I end up in conversations sometimes with other parents about my oldest (8) and we discuss how psycho they seem to be at this age. But I don’t bond over diaper contents anymore or sleep trouble. I guess it’s just a new random set of issues.

  13. yasmara on January 14th, 2016 10:45 am

    Honestly, I *wish* I could read more about the challenges of raising older kids because, much like the crazy infant/toddler years, I feel like I need some extra advice/support/commiseration now as we approach middle school with our oldest.

  14. Mary on January 14th, 2016 11:14 am

    I used to write almost every day about my kids and the funny things they did. I slowed down as they got toward high school, and now the youngest has gone off to college and I haven’t written a single thing in almost a year. Part of it is their own privacy, and part of it is that it’s less funny as they get older.

    I miss it though. And as they’re off to college and I’m not in their schools all the time, I have less chance to make connections with other parents. It’s a weird time of life, I’m having some trouble adjusting to it.

  15. Maggie on January 14th, 2016 5:08 pm

    It’s difficult because as my kids (particularly the 13 YO) get older I get much more sensitive about sharing their things online. Oldest, in particular, however, happens to be in a phase of life that is difficult to parent. I haven’t felt so uncertain and conflicted about things since he was a baby because the tween years are tough. So just at the time I’d really love a place to share issues in relative anonymity, the freedom to do so has dropped dramatically. Bah.

  16. Steven on January 15th, 2016 4:35 pm

    I share now only when asked. And I only share the bare minimum to answer a question. I learned pretty early on that most people don’t really care about your kids and will only listen long enough to either be polite or for their turn to tell you about their kids. My boys are 15 and 13 now and they have their own lives that are becoming more disconnected from me. At the same time our relationship is so much better because you can finally talk to them about real things, your fucked up past and your real hopes for their future that have nothing to do with colleges and careers, but about peace in one’s life, what a good wife/girlfriend might look like and how to cook and fix a car, you know, the stuff of life. Those are not moments to share, but to cherish and keep to yourself. Those thoughts will make you smile when you least expect it. And as they get older, you come to understand that all the stupid shit we wrung our hands over when they were little is either missed or wasn’t worth worrying about to begin with. Enjoy these days.

  17. Mel on January 16th, 2016 1:13 am

    My kids growing up has ruined my regularly scheduled blogging for sure. My 17-year old told me his friend did a Google search for some random phrase and my blog came up and they read a few posts. That’s just . . . well, not what I was thinking about when I started blogging when he was 5 years old. Anyway, it’s different now but I carry on because I love having my blog to look back on. It’s just a more-censored blog and less revealing. Also? In real life I feel myself very much less connected to other moms than when they were little. It’s really hard when your kids are adults or heading that direction and they aren’t fitting the perfect script like your friends’ kids are.

  18. Angella on January 16th, 2016 9:13 pm

    I don’t share as openly anymore, as you know, because my kids’ peers could use it as fodder. Many of the kids in G’s grade (eighth) follow me on Instagram, so I’m not going to post anything to embarrass him.

    (They tell him often that I’m cool, so I’m going to run with that before they turn like the hormone-ridden creatures that they are.)

    If I do write something more personal, I clear it with them first.

  19. Kris on January 17th, 2016 7:16 am

    I think we all just want to find our tribe.

    It’s easier to befriend the parents of little kids, I think, because we’re more isolated when they’re small. Lonelier. Hell, if you held a door open for me when my son was under 5, I would have begged for your phone number to take you out for coffee to thank you!

    But now, rules are coming in to play & mine don’t always agree with theirs. We let mine have things like Oreos & pizza, because we’re all about the moderation & not about the deprivation. Doesn’t align with everyone, and I -want- to be able to throw down a bowl of Cheez-Its & a pitcher of lemonade & call that a snack without fearing the wrath of Micah’s mom or Naveah’s dad.

    Mostly I just fear the judgement of other parents, now that the kids are old enough to ostracize my son for our entire family’s lack of social graces.

  20. Jess (Big Neffy) on January 26th, 2016 12:47 pm

    Late to the party here… I don’t blog, but I notice I sensor myself on Facebook as well as stories I tell coworkers. I have two girls, 5 & 15 and if you look at my FB feed, you might think I just have the youngest. I find parenting in the younger years SO much easier than when they are older and I wish I could share more about my 15 year old, but I don’t feel it’s my “right” to discuss her anymore. But there are so many days I want to run to FB and say “Listen to what she did. Are ALL 15 year old girls assholes?” But…it just doesn’t feel right.

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  23. Maggie on February 2nd, 2016 5:58 am

    It is definitely more complicated and I share much less. Partly because I know it bothers them to have their business out there but also when they are little they feel more like an extension of you, like you have more ownership of them, so to speak, but now they are more their own person. Just as I would not discuss my difficulties with my husband or sister in a public forum, it just doesn’t feel write talking about the struggles with my girls that way either. That said, I definitely still enjoy connecting with other parents in person and do that quite often. It is more difficult meeting new parents but the connections with the parents I was already friends with seems to be stronger in a lot of ways.

  24. AmyQ on March 14th, 2016 8:32 pm

    My 17 year old daughter hit me with a HUGE wake up call yesterday. We’re in the throws of change all around- with her graduating, independance, processing tons of emotions related to her leaving the nest, resenting us, me parenting from fear… Oh the list is endless and the whole reality of being done with that part of her life and mine…. The movie clips of regrets and moments so sweet, flood my thoughts without warning everyday. It’s a different season, for sure.
    But we were having our weekly Sunday Smackdown yesterday and I was letting her have it about causing so much distrust between us. I’ve been on that soapbox for years. Nothing new was being thrown and out of no where she looks me in the eye and says, “I don’t tell you the truth because I don’t trust you either. Every time something ever happens you tell everyone. It’s embarrassing!”
    I’m really glad to read you’re one step ahead. I had no excuse. I just shut the fuck up and let the words hang there. Of course my apology was pointless. I screwed up royally. I’ve got 4 more to go so I hope I’ll redeem myself. Thought I’d share that. You’re doing the right thing for them. Hope you’re doing well. Xoooo

  25. M on February 3rd, 2017 8:23 am

    When our kids were babies, I found so much comfort in this place where you shared your story. As they have gotten older and life has shifted and changed I’ve not read much of anything. For some reason, across the country from you, you came to my mind and I wondered how you were. As if I knew you…
    I’ve read back through some of your posts. Your writing is absolutely phenomenal. It felt like I was talking with an old friend. Anyway, on to your question: I totally agree, there is less to relate to, that is, with the same people. There are.new people to relate to now. The old ones have gone on with their lives and have new circles too. It isn’t a bad thing, for me. It just took some adjusting and intentional awareness to process where that life had gone. Now instead of diapers, I am immersed in sports games, tween-y attitudes, a level of sibling fighting I had no clue was coming, endless homework, remorse for not savoring those babyhood days more, realization that baking cookies is not something my kids care about anymore…..On and on. All as if that life had been lived by someone else and it’s over now. On to the next life. My heart breaks for your suffering. I have no doubt your transparency is an encouragement to so many others out there who struggle with similar things day to day. God bless you and your family!

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