These are the telltale symptoms of a Mid-Mom Crisis. Those of you with older children know what I’m talking about … it’s like a mid-life crisis but for motherhood, that period when you realize you don’t have much time left with your child at home and you start having panic attacks. My son is in sixth grade now. Seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and then … he’ll be GONE. Holy mother of all motherness, somebody get me a cold compress.
I’ve had my gorgeous boy alongside of me for 11 glorious years, and I’m now realizing I only get six more of him after this one where I’m able to see his fabulous face every day, cuddle with him in the morning, and tell him I’m sick and tired of him losing his shoes.
I don’t know why this is the year it hit me. Maybe because he skipped fifth grade and jumped to sixth, and so in a matter of minutes an entire year that he would have been home with me was swept away. Now all I feel is a sense of urgency. There’s so little time left. Have I done all the things we should do together? Have I taught him enough? Have I effectively cemented into his heart and brain all the things he needs to know about love and resilience and believing in yourself? Can I fit all of these lessons in along with teaching him how to do his laundry, avoid internet scams and make a decent meal?
He’s changing before my eyes and it’s scary, especially for someone like me who isn’t a big fan of change. He’s long and lanky, an irresistible puppy with oversized feet, the kind that indicate one day he’ll be enormous and able to chew off his own leash with ease. He’s eating so much these days I can’t keep up. I remember the days when I could buy a 4-pack of pork chops to feed my entire family dinner. Now? Double that. He pays attention to the news when it’s on, and last week he asked me what abortion was. He doesn’t want the “that’s a grownup topic” or the “none of your business” answers any more. He’s too big for hasty parental responses in avoidance of serious discussions about complicated things. He wants the Truth. He seeks my help with his homework, but completely resists actually using any of my ideas. He’s smart, and scary funny, and for the first time he’s noticing what other people think about what he wears. He even has his own hair products now. Let me repeat … HIS OWN HAIR PRODUCTS!!!!
This is all too quick. He just got here yesterday and now, given how fast the first 11 years have gone, I know the next six will gallop by and I’ll soon find myself sitting in a car on a college campus, unable to drive straight thanks to my heaving sobbing. I’ll probably crash into a tree and remain there for two weeks, immobilized, wondering whether I taught him all I could and gave him as much unconditional love as possible.
I’m not sure there’s a remedy for the Mid-Mom Crisis, at least not a way to entirely eliminate the symptoms. Still, I pledge to practice deep breathing, drink lots of water and sneak in extra hugs. I also pledge to do everything in my power not to drive my son crazy with an overabundance of lessons on home keeping and Conversations About Life. For now, it’s the best I can do.
Are you the parent of a tween or teen who’s had a Mid-Mom Crisis, or are you having one now? Are you willing to take the pledge, too?
Photo credit: © Klaus-Peter Adler – Fotolia.com