I have no idea what I am doing {I have been here before}

Guys, I have to tell you that we are in a new stage of parenting and it is freaking me out!

We have our oldest about to turn 14 and he will be going to the public school next year.

I feel like I am getting one parenting challenge after another and I am making things up as I go along.

Please don’t tell him we have no idea what we are doing.

I guess that is not completely true.

We know that we love him.

We know that we trust him.

We know that we have a really good relationship with him.

We know he is seeking after the Lord.

One thing after another we are challenged with each week and it is in areas that we never had to deal with and half of the time I feel like a deer in headlights.


Phones, texting, video chats, movies…and it goes on and on.

Sometimes we make a decision about something and he will think we are being unfair or too hard.

Maybe we are or maybe we aren’t…but I love this kid and I am not ready to hand him over yet.

I don’t mean in an unhealthy crazy mom way that can’t let her kid grow up but in the way that being a kid is awesome.

Enjoy it.

Don’t rush things.

Don’t grow up too fast.

It will all be waiting for you. I promise.

Being a parent is hard because you have hindsight and you want the best for your children.

Being a teenager is hard because you want to make decisions, have freedom and find your own way.

This boy of mine is a keeper.

He has always been kind and thoughtful.

He has always asked a million questions.

He has always had a way of wanting to protect those he loves.

I feel like I am having a flashback to when he was two and started telling me what he liked and didn’t like.

How I would have to chase after him so he didn’t run into the street.

He didn’t understand all that was in the street…but we did.

How do you do this with a teenager?

I won’t always be there to grab him right before he runs where he had no idea of what was waiting.

I guess this journey of letting go has been going on since he was born.

These next four years will get us even more ready to send him out into the world and let him find his way.

No one told me 14 years ago when I just wanted a full night’s sleep that my heart would one day be breaking that our time is running out.

Four more years.

The clock has started and I don’t think I am ready.

I guess these next four years are for the both of us.

I have no idea what I am doing but I have been here before and I figured it out.

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  1. Danielle

    It will be good (and somewhat scary) then they come out on the other side. And you. <~~~~ (underlined) You get to say "I have unleashed something amazing to this world. And that moment is worth all of that.

  2. Jayne

    I feel you. I feel the same all the time too. Then I’ll tell myself, must pray some more. There probably isn’t anything can help mums not feeling the way you are describing so candidly. I only have God and He must do what I have lacked.

  3. Cathy G.

    Two of my 3 children are now adults………the other one is 17……….with the first 2 up and out and I look back I have to say that we are an honest, open family and TALK about EVERYTHING!!!! I believe that really is key and the kids having a good group of friends meant a lot!!! And Girl………….. just stay on your knees!!!!!!! PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!! 🙂

  4. Teresa Swanson

    Hello, dearest Jeanne
    All of my children are now grown, two married, and another in his last year of college. (And another, my youngest, forever in my heart, as he has Down’s Syndrome and will always be my helper at home, he is 22). My oldest son was the hardest to raise, as he was very independent, yet vulnerable at the same time. He did get in with the era of drugs, and he chose to leave home, as he knew his dad in particular would not approve of his worldly wise life-style. BUT, my son accepted the Lord when he was 13, and I NEVER stopped praying for him. I was there for him when he would call up me for food just to keep him alive, that was when he was 18 and left home. He is now 31, and married to a very sweet Christian girl and they are expecting their first child. But he did have turbulent years to go through. BUT I never gave up on him, and never treated him any differently and he knew I loved him. He had to make his own choices and finally came through a lot of hard times, BUT he grew in the Lord because of it. Not that I would recommend that for any young person. We can’t hold their hands all of their lives. On the other hand, my 23 year old son, is the one who is going to college, making a success of his life, knows what his older brother went through, and was at times bitter about my seemingly ‘favoritism’ for his older brother. I hope some day he can understand it was not favoritism but sheer, heart-wrenching grief I was going through just to see my oldest son go through what he had to go through on his own. I know of others whose sons have also been through the drug rehab scenario and it is never a pretty picture. Hopefully your son will be like my 23 year old son, who was home-schooled until he was 15, when we placed him in high school for his 11th and 12th grade years. He was my son who grew up in the Harry Potter years, so he was an avid reader, writer, pianist, and also very independent, knowing exactly what he wanted in life. All of our children are totally different from one another, but with similar talents and inspirations. Being frank, and honest and open helps especially if you and your husband are on the same page for main-streaming your son into public school. If your son’s basic fundamentals are intact, he should turn out fine. All teenagers are vulnerable to peer pressure and I would say Christians are beginning to be in the minority so it may not be an easy road for him. Just remind him of what Jesus did on the cross and how he bore everything for us. When my oldest son was 13, I sat down with my Bible in hand and read to him. He walked upstairs and got down on his knees and accepted the Lord. Yet, he still had to go through certain things in life, which were his own choices, but now he is one of the strongest Christian men I know.
    I hope this helps. Mom’s aprons strings have to be untied at some point in our children’s lives. Always love them and always pray fervently. You may appreciate the many, many times I was down on my knees praying for my children. That’s what mom’s are for Prayer Warriors!

  5. lisa bivona

    aye yi yi, we’ve all been there. Just keep your eyes and ears open, And have faith in him.

  6. Cathy

    You will do great!! But, always let him have a say, or maybe a choice. I’m old now, but , my dad always made me think about my choices. Looking back over the years, it’s the reason I have had a great life. I knew it was my choice, not anyone else who was going to make my life good or bad , except me. All the best on your parenting journey…… again , you will do great!!

  7. cathy penton

    Love this post and I think I question my parenting abilities more now that they are grown then when they were babies but love is still the fundamental quality that I still think cures all… You will have boundaries that no other parent will because they are your children and you know them best… What you feel in your heart and follow through with it…. I know we have never met but I know you will be amazing !!! It definitely does go all too fast. xx c

  8. Jeanette @ Creating a Life

    Ah, the heart-cry of mothers everywhere. What. Am. I. DOING?? haha My oldest is 23 (married) next oldest 16 {not so little is 10, and littlest almost 7) We have home schooled for 13 years now. The oldest is a homeschool graduate, but when she was high school age she participated in choir, band, and some academic classes at the local schools. Even THAT was nerve wracking for me at first! Of course there were things that she encountered that were so concerning to me, but we talk talk talked about everything all the time. She was the kind of kid that wanted to tell me every single detail if she had been out for an evening with friends, etc. I would make sure she had my full attention when she wanted to share about her experiences. I knew if I didn’t connect with her at that moment, it would might not come again. Same with my now 16 year old. Lots of talking and her knowing that no one is more interested in her life and her feelings than me. All this rambling to say that you’ll probably never get over that feeling, but it sounds like you and your husband have already established an open, loving relationship with your son that is going to be the foundation for this next season of life. There are no guarantees about what choices our kids will make. You’re doing the best you can do by encouraging his walk with the Lord, being there when he wants to share what he’s experiencing and, as others have said, just keep praying! Life is shaped in the moments of each day, and that’s how you’ll help to shape your son into the man he’s meant to be. One day at a time, and God filling in in all the ways you might think you are ill equipped. I have a feeling you already know all of this 🙂 Thanks for letting me ramble (too much evening coffee for me!) Love the family photos! Bless you on your mom journey.

  9. Brenda Geiger

    I know it’s scary, I’ve been there. Twice. You have built his foundation of values, faith, and family. When they become teenagers it is THEIR time to begin building their lives. Sit back quietly, pick your battles, and give them room. It’s the most amazing and rewarding experience is to see your children “find themselves.” Sometimes you may have to “bite your lip” but in the end it’s so worth it. Be confident in what you started, and enjoy the ride, it’s yours too. 🙂

  10. Suzen

    My profession is as a Parent Advocate for parents who are having challenges with their kids. I think of the troubled kids as canaries in mine shafts…they are trying to tell their parents something. I can recommend a book: Conscious Parenting, which is really wise. What your kids do for their profession, or whatever they do in their lives is not up to us. They will learn best through experiencing the consequences of their own choices and with us as parents keeping them safe, but guiding them along. Teens really hate feeling “controlled” and it is as this time that parents are really put to the test with all the dangerous temptations around them. If you have set a good foundation, and I think you have, things may be bumpy but they will turn out OK. Listen without judgement, ask questions that stimulate thinking (not too many, though) and be on hand for working though tough times. Learning when to let go and when to intervene is the hardest. And the thing is, they will never really leave because although they live elsewhere, they will always come home to you and then there will be their own kids who will love you as Grandparents. The ties will change, but they will always be there. It’s sure an adventure! Have faith, you have laid a solid base for them. They’re going to fly off to new horizons just like you raised them to do. It hurts our hearts to see them go, but know that you’ve done your job and you’ve done it well. The families I see have trouble because the parents are either unable to show their love to the kids, or they are overprotective. You have that balance, I’m betting, and everyone is going to be fine. You will not be calling me, that’s for sure! 😉

  11. paige

    you’re a wonderful mama. thankful that HIS mercies are new each morning because i totally need that every single day with kiddos at this age…and up. whew. xoox

  12. teriflemal

    I’m shaking my head with each word you wrote. Yup. Yup. I remember. It’s a gradual letting go, and it’s part of the process if being a parent and being a kid. Stick with it. Watch over him. Give him just a little rope even though he wants a lot and even when you get weary of always being watchful. I used to wonder if other parents would have answers and insights I didn’t, but now I realize were all just shuffling a along this road and doing the best we can. Your gut never lies. Go with it at all times.

  13. Kate R.

    I am a new mom to a 3 month old baby boy. I am learning how to navigate this whole new world of parenting. Each moment is filled with fear and excitement as we watch our little baby grow and change. Your post is so beautiful! It is helping to remind me to cherish every moment and stage and that we may not always have all the answers. I was very scared about having a boy because my younger brother was so turbulent during his teens years and now in his twenties he is finally figuring out his life. Even when I was so angry with him because of his behavior, my parents never gave up on him. The strength of their love has been incredible. I guess the best thing you can do is love your son and encourage him to do what is right while giving him the space to make his own decisions,(which is wayyyyy easier said than done!)

  14. Nancy

    You didn’t ask for my advice, but from someone who has been there & done that (my son is 26 & daughter is 32 & both are out on their own now) I will say to you — enjoy it ALL! The good, the bad, the challenges, the awesomeness of it all. Does anyone really know what they are doing? No! We just do it and we do our best and we live and learn. Now that mine are grown & gone from my home, sometimes I find myself wishing I could go back in time — not to do it “over”, but just to do it all over again, because though the most challenging “job” in my entire life has been raising my children, it was also the best “job” and I really, really miss being a “hands on Mom” on that day to day basis. So, be in the moment, Jeanne & know that whatever you do, it is the right thing.

  15. Donna P

    Oh Jeanne you had me in tears by the end!! I have 3 kids as well, my oldest is turning 11, a girl. I’ve been told they grow up sooner than boys, at times it is starting to show. I too am having a hard time letting go, but we must. I am so glad I am not the only one struggling, but these kids of ours are so very loved and with all this it shows. Trusting the Lord and His plan for them!
    Thank you Jeanne!

  16. Kolein

    Ok, now that I’ve cleared my throat and wiped my eyes….you are not alone. I’m in the same place right now – 9th grade son going to academy in the fall after being home schooled for 14 years. The rubber meets the road here. I thought jumping off the cliff and trusting I could become a wife was hard. Nah. Then the next cliff was having my first baby at 35. Nah. Then having my next baby at 40. Nah. Cliffs are so incredibly gorgeous. They teach us so much about who we are and who the beauties are that we have the privilege and honor of caring for and teaching and loving. Your awareness is your artistry and gift to those around you. I figured it was all hard after the first push! LOL! You got this Babe!!!!!!!!

  17. Lori

    As a mama who’s oldest turns 17 on Saturday *sniff*, I will confirm that it does go so fast! But I will also share with you how absolutely wonderful it is that this young man grows up before your eyes and you’ll see how he cares for you, protects you, gives, and you end up having many, many somewhat adult conversations with this young man and your heart swells. He will morph into someone who you will rely on some day for advice–yes, this really is true. He will bring to you so many things that God has given him. Love him wholeheartedly and he will know you gave everything you had. Whether you knew what you were doing or not!

  18. Jo

    Hi Jeanne, Your post really struck a cord with me today. Thanks for being so real.

  19. Jill

    First, let me say how much I enjoyed reading all the replies above me! Some brought me to tears and had my shaking my head in agreement – this motherhood thing, it bonds us all. Second, if I had half your patience, I probably would have been a homeschool momma, cause I am just that crazy and controlling when it comes to my girls. It always seemed scary to send them into the world. As a momma to a 15 (almost 16, gulp) year old and a 12 year old, I am here to say, that your children can face all the stuff outside because of what you do/say/practice at home! I am thankful my high schooler attends a Catholic school {although we are not} that teaches lots of morality and values that are Biblically centered and has a 98% attendance at their non-mandatory weekly masses. It helps but I am convinced that WE are children’s ultimate teachers and to me out here in blogland, you are doing a fabulous job! The do grow up but it’s such a joy to watch! Those seeds you planted and nurtured all those years begin to grow and flourish….they begin to make choices that confirm that!

    Enjoy this season of parenting…..

  20. Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

    My oldest turned 24 on the weekend and my youngest is turning us into empty nesters this coming weekend. Like your son, they are raised. At this stage what they need to know is that they are loved and that they always have a soft place to land. Hang in there Jeanne and enjoy these last years with him under your wing.

  21. Debbie

    Hi Jeanne. I am right there with you. My oldest son will turn 14 on Monday and start high school in August. Although we never homeschooled our children, I too worry for what is to come for my son. I also often feel that I am running out of time with them and that I have no idea how to do this. All the best to you and your family as you navigate this journey together.

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