This is for all of those moms in their 40’s who had moms who smoked cigarettes, dad’s who worked with their hands and killed their bodies to provide for their families and had one or two or three siblings. This is for the 40-something moms who want to be a good mom to their kids but sometimes wonder if everything they are doing is screwing them up more. This is for the moms who do too much for their kids and feel guilty that they can’t get them the Lululemon pants they want or don’t truly WANT to give them the LLL pants because those things are ridiculously expensive and who needs to spend that much on a pair of stretchy pants? But dang it, all of their friends are wearing them and you remember what it was like when you didn’t have the Jordashe or the Guess that everyone else had in High School. You remember what that felt like and you don’t want your kid to feel that. Or do you? Do we need our kids to feel the “pain” and feel the “want” so that they will appreciate what they do have and all that we do for them? Do our kids need to feel more pain? Do they need to feel “less than” and realize that this is the real world? Are we coddling them too much? Are we doing too much for them? Are we making it worse for them in the long run?
I’m here to tell you that I do not have the answers and neither does anyone else. Do you know why we don’t have the answers? Because NO ONE has parented a teenager in 2021 before. No one has been in these shoes. No one has had to deal with the uncertainties of a global pandemic while day traders are changing the landscape of the stock market with stocks like GameStop and AMC. No one in our generation knew what sex trafficking was and how it was going to change the way we live in this world. No one has lived in 2021 with the teenage suicide rate higher than it has ever been and social media changing how our kids see themselves AND each other. NO ONE HAS BEEN HERE BEFORE!
We have an app in our house called “Life 360” where we can check on the location of our kids (actually it tracks their phone so it’s not PHYSICALLY attached to them, but then again, they are teenagers so it really is). It tells me where they are, how fast they drove, what short trips they take. It is a magical piece of technology that has changed parenting to the better. I love this app. However, I took some scrutiny regarding this app from some friends of mine a few years ago and it truly made me pause. Now keep in mind, the two people giving me grief are good people, excellent friends and smart individuals but they were appalled that I had a “tracking device” on my kids. To give you some context, one of them is in his 30’s, never been married and has no kids and the other was his mom who raised her 4 kids 20 years ago when life was a bit simpler. I respect both of these individuals but I found myself defending my stance on why this app is necessary. Unfortunately, we did not come to a consensus and they continued to disagree with this invasion of privacy but I stand by the fact that this app eases my peace of mind. It creates a sense (false or otherwise) of safety that if I need to know where my kids are for any emergent reason, I can just open the app and find them. This may seem like an invasion but I have told all three of my kids that if they aren’t doing something they shouldn’t be doing and aren’t anywhere they shouldn’t be, this app should not bother them. They begrudgingly keep it on their phones and know that I am not trying to ruin their lives but instead keep them safe. This is the difference between parenting in the 70’s and 80’s and parenting in 2021.
I could go on and on but let’s leave it at this: no one can tell you that you are parenting the right way or the wrong way. No one can tell you that you are messing your kids up or you are creating little geniuses. No one has parented in 2021 before. No one has had the same struggles we have had and no one has the right to judge you. Don’t give into those judgements and know that you, mama are doing the best you can. You are a badass.