I have two teenagers and one sassy tween. Next summer, I will have three teenagers, help me God. Trust me when I tell you this stage tests your confidence big time! No matter how many hip slang words I learn, how in style I attempt to look, or how unbothered I keep my attitude, I am completely uncool. I am Mom, and therefore, I am cheesy. At least my dogs think I’m cool.
Little kids want all your love and kisses and snuggles. I loved reading to my kids every night of their childhood. The two dogs are the ones snuggling with me in the evenings now. The kids want no kisses and suffer with loud sighs through my hugs. I’ve explained the science behind the 60-second daily hug. Now, I’m even more uncool than before.
I know this slow breakup with me is developmentally necessary. Teens have to mentally become more independent. I have to let my kids do this to me. Sometimes, I laugh at their snarky remarks when I ask them to do a chore or participate in family activities. Their choice of ways to show their growing independence can be hilarious. It can also break your heart.
My dogs don’t ever have to grow independence. They will always need me. They will always think I’m cool.
As these changes are occurring to my offspring, changes are also happening to me. A large chunk of my identity has been Mom for the last 18 years. I concurrently need to go to a place of not needing my children to be a huge part of my life. My independence has to grow as well. I can’t keep being sad that the cuddling little children I had are now morphed into mini-adults. Accepting the next phase of life as and uncool mom is necessary for us all.
Maybe this is why I got a new puppy. Not only for her to be a companion to my 11-year-old dog (who hates his new sister, by the way) but for me. I’ll have a doggie home with me when my children are all off on their own. Someone who will stay behind to be needed and cared for. Is that when I will feel cool again?