I miss being able to write more freely about parenting. There’s more to say than there ever has been, although it’s certainly harder to put into words — diaper blowouts and tantrums are pretty universal and thus easy enough to describe, but tween/teen issues can be so complicated, and of course totally subjective to my point of view. Still, it would be wonderful to share more about my kids and what parenting is like these days. It would be nice to hear more from you all on what I’m facing, because I know so many of you have faced or are facing similar joys and challenges.

The problem, of course, is that my children are now old enough to care very much about how I present them online. I no longer include them very often in things like Instagram Stories, by their request. They allow some photos, but they must be vetted and approved. No one has ever specifically told me not to write about them, but I am cognizant of how self-conscious this age is, and how awful it would be if I posted some cute-in-MY-mind story that somehow got shared with a classmate, which is specifically why I tend to do more mild complaining than anything else. It’s probably cooler if your peers find out you occasionally drive your mom right up a wall than if they find out about the adorable thing you still do that she hopes you’ll never age out of ever.

The boys are 11 (almost 12) and 14 now. We are fully entrenched in the middle school years, which has been, in some ways, a lot like what I imagined it would be, and in other ways totally different. Middle school is about the age I feel like I can really remember (I picture those core memories from Inside Out, and how many of mine seemed to have formed when I was a young teen), but so little of what I experienced applies to my own kids. Socializing is different, friendships are different, the way everything in school works is totally different. Technology in particular has changed our culture so much I often feel pretty lost trying to understand what my kids are into, which I suppose has always been true of one generation attempting to relate to the other, but did previous generations have iPhones, they did NOT.

There’s a lot I’d like to talk about, but it mostly all comes down to the same thing I’ve been saying since I started this blog: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. The good news is I know plenty of other parents feel this way too, we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is an ever-changing mix of chaos and mistakes and wins and frustrations and pride and love. It’s so different than it used to be, but in that sense, it’s pretty much exactly the same.


14 Responses to “Mommyblogging in 2020”

  1. dani on January 17th, 2020 1:06 pm

    a friend (who had some problematic parenting while she was growing up) gave a great piece of parenting advice once: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO SAY YOU ARE SORRY.

    I found it really comforting. so if I do eff it up (and we are all bound to at some point or another, just on differing scales), there’s always that.

  2. Suzanne on January 17th, 2020 1:59 pm

    I, too, have no idea what I’m doing. It is actually quite comforting to see that I’m not the only one.

  3. Ang on January 17th, 2020 2:40 pm

    I have been following you for YEARS – my oldest in college, youngest in high school – and I still don’t know what I’m doing either! Their drama keeps changing, it’s hard to keep up.

  4. Anonymous on January 17th, 2020 8:10 pm

    Hi. For what it’s worth, please don’t stop with your frankness, open heart, open door. Why stop now? You’ve supplied us with nuggets of motherhood throughout our own mothering. I think I started reading you in 2009-2010? I have a special needs child and I was in the raw beginning of accepting that, of the pain of being cast out because my child didn’t behave “normally”. You made a comment about being annoyed by a tantrum if child on the school yard. I was so mad. I think I tried to change my name when I expressed my anger passive-aggressively. But you know what? You let me in on your landscape and where you-at the time-stood on the school yard. You were the very mom, I worried about. But, my reaction to your honesty brought out my own. That was an amazing compass. No one outside of your “circle” knows who you or your family is. I’m self conscious having my name on this comment! BUT this is what you do! And your boys are minors and cannot weigh in on the really important writing mom has been doing their WHOLE lives and ask her to change her style now. It doesn’t sound like you like feeling limited and I need your wonderful, sometimes snarky, sometimes painful…joyful…everything! POV. Your kids are going to humiliated if you trip on a shoe lace at Starbucks…you will in the next few years mostly humiliate them! Please, don’t go changing this blog because it may embarrass them. Think farther down the road where they think, “ wow, my mom gave up her privacy and ours sometimes to be bold, to be helpful to be an awesome mom writer who doesn’t say it don’t know but who dared to say her honest thoughts and opinions and knowledge in a way too giant sea of it don’t knows’. Please. Think about it? You are annoying at times, I sure am, but I love your truth. Don’t go backing off. This is what you do. They can’t edit you and you are awesome!
    Wow this is long! I mean it all.

  5. Anonymous on January 17th, 2020 8:14 pm

    Typo: Not “ it” …”I”.

  6. Amy B. on January 17th, 2020 8:14 pm

    Typo: Not “ it” …”I”.

  7. Linda on January 18th, 2020 1:55 pm

    Anon — I’m so sorry I said something that was hurtful. I hope we at least had a conversation about it afterwards, I have learned so much when people share their POV and it’s changed my behavior many times over the years.

  8. Anonymous on January 18th, 2020 2:36 pm

    It’s fine! Like I said, it was hurtful but ultimately positive. That was not at ALL the point I was making! Please don’t let that be what you focus on from what I wrote. I replied to cheer you on.

  9. Vanessa on January 18th, 2020 8:00 pm

    Ha, you have to write a novel if you want to be really frank, that way you can change all their names. It is super frustrating, and at this point I write only for myself and luckily/unluckily as we age other people are less interested in us so my journal is safe (I hope).

  10. Julie Pippert on January 21st, 2020 10:09 am

    Oh boy do I know what you mean! From the beginning, I thought “how will my kids feel about this when they are older and reading it?” Because I began in 2005 when they were preschool. Now they are high school and nearly college! Luckily, with that consideration, it meant sharing okay things and they love reading the old posts. It’s harder now, though, because they are highly personal and private things that are their stories. But I’m starting again because part f it is my story, and that’s my angle. Bonus, they are also old enough to discuss it all. I think us tween parent need community even more than (or as much as) when they were preschool and littles.

  11. Aimee Giese on January 21st, 2020 12:07 pm

    This is exactly why my site pivoted to music. I feel very clogged up now because I do have so much to say – re parenting – but nowhere to say it.

  12. Susan on January 21st, 2020 1:37 pm

    I hear you, loud and clear.

    It’s so hard because we can’t share the parenting challenges when we all need the support more than ever.

  13. ML on January 21st, 2020 10:27 pm

    I wish you could start some kind of anonymous website where we could all write as parents of teens. Like the mom sites of yore only with total anonymity & old fashioned support. I, too, have been reading you since my (soon to be college age) kids were babies. Parenting high schoolers is terrifying. I’ve never felt more sleep deprived (back to school, new career, kids only talk after midnight) or ashamed of the now confirmed ways I used to be terrified of failing them. My daughter is a senior/ son a junior & I have so many words & feel so in need of a confessional blog again.

  14. Lindsay on January 22nd, 2020 10:21 am

    I am in exactly the same boat, and I’m sure many many other moms are as well. Thank you for putting this into words. Parenting tweens and teens is hard and lonely work, and I really wish we could all commiserate more about it, but like you, I shudder thinking of inadvertently making things harder for my kids than they are already.

    Have you had any of your sons’ friends follow you on social media? This has been happening to me for a few years and it’s so awkward and I HATE IT.

Leave a Reply