I have a new teenager in my house. As a parent, it seems the years are ever so fleeting. One day we are in the murky waters of what feels like the longest and hardest and most exhausting days of our lives and then collectively they become like a train passing in the night. When we awake, our littles have grown into bigs. Overnight.
The other day I stood staring at my boy and noticed that he had worked his way up my 5’9″ frame, well past my shoulders, only inches away from where I stand. It had me wondering when he will stop looking up at me and when my eyes will avert upwards towards him instead. I know it will happen ever so quickly and if I am being honest, I don’t think that I am quite ready. I like where I am now because it is where I am with all three of my boys, the sweet spot.As a parent, it seems the years are ever so fleeting. One day we are in the murky waters of what feels like the longest and hardest and most exhausting days of our lives and then collectively they become like a train passing in the night.Click To Tweet
What Is The Sweet Spot Of Parenting?
For me, the sweet spot of parenting is when the hard of babies and toddlers is a thing of the past and before you succumb to a new hard, known as the teenage years. Because my youngest is five and seven years younger than his older brothers, my sweet spot is sort of short in comparison to those whose children are much closer in age. Don’t get me wrong; all of my years of parenting thus far have been good years. Not without their challenges obviously but good years nonetheless. I sort of have a soft spot for the itty bitties. Babies and toddlers are kind of my jam. But right now, when everyone can dress and feed themselves, when a full night’s sleep is my every single night and when the last time I changed a diaper was over three years ago – yep…the sweet spot is where I am at.
5 Ways I Am Embracing The Sweet Spot Of Parenting:
- Planning family days away from all the distractions – Here is the thing, this is the most distracted generation for parents and children alike, most likely ever. My opinion here. Don’t shoot the messenger. But truthfully, distraction is everywhere. Some of the distractions we try to limit that can quickly consume the lives of my family are cell phones, IPads, Netflix, video games (hello Fortnite), household chores, home renovations, along with so many other things. Our solution, more times than not, is to get lost on a hiking trail together. The conversations that have been had out on those hiking trails have been vastly educational and informative. I have learned a lot about my boys during those sweet times. And now that everyone is pretty independent and because we haven’t yet entered the realm of moody teenagers, there is no better time for these favorable family outings than now.
- Enjoy the ease of now but don’t be afraid to say NO – This time in my life has been one filled with so much joy. I feel like I finally have this parenting thing figured out, my boys are all happy and fairly easy going (most of the time) and I just feel an overall ease that I haven’t felt in over a decade. Sometimes, with that ease though, we get off task and forget what our one sole purpose is during this time. To raise these kids up into respectable, kind, productive, appreciative, lovable people. I’m talking about the importance of saying no when the ease of saying yes is right there at our fingertips. We won’t even get into the topic of the current state of our children and entitlement as that deserves another post all on its own but saying no is a vital part of getting through the sweet spot before teenage hormones take over. It’s now or never y’all because while saying no will be a part of that time as well, the lessons behind the no won’t be heard if they aren’t already hearing the two letter word now when our voice isn’t overshadowed by everyone else’s. From my current experience, I know my boys crave structure and rules, unbeknownst to them of course (call it mother’s intuition). Will this ring true in a few years? Probably not. But during this time, where I am today, there is nothing that I know to be truer than that. So enforce rules, say no and just enjoy the sweet spot, y’all.
- Taking the time to really know and understand my children – Every single day after school, I ask my boys the same question, “how was your day?” and every single day I get the same response from my older two, “good.” The amount of information I get from them is limited, to say the least. But y’all, it doesn’t keep me from digging for more. The truth is, I want to really know and understand each of my boys. What makes their eyes light up with joy, what makes them belly laugh so loud that the entire house feels it, what they lay awake dreaming about at night when all is quiet and calm. My oldest wants to be an entrepreneur and dreams of starting his own gaming company or amazon business (the verdict is still out) and my middle wants to start his own business flipping houses. I want to encourage the pursuit of making all their dreams come true, but I couldn’t do that without first knowing what those dreams are.
- Snuggling often – I’m not saying that this works for everyone. Some people are not snugglers, and that is ok. I, though, am a snuggler, a kiss on the top of the head ten times a nighter, and a let’s snuggle on the couch and watch movier. It’s just what I do. And over the years, it has become who my boys have grown to be too. This time will pass though, and when they all become teenagers, I know those sweet moments of snuggling will be gone. So I’m taking advantage now and enjoying every single snuggle I can sneak in, while they will still let me.
- Taking the time to find me again – There comes a time in most people’s parenting journey when things start to feel just a little bit lighter. That is until the heaviness seeps in again. But during the sweet spot, your children don’t need you quite like they once did. There comes a sense of freedom with that. Freedom that not only allows you the time to start to find yourself again but also makes you long for it. During this transition, I have discovered newfound passions, harvested old ones and cultivated a life that feels so very meaningful to me, aside from my role as mom. This is so important to me, and I hope to continue to grow even more as the years continue.
These are just a few of the ways that I am embracing this sweet time in my life. There are so many others I could easily mention as well. I think the key is to be intentional in your everyday. Remember that just how the hard of yesterday is gone, so will be the sweet of today. These seasons are ever evolving and when you reach a point that feels ever so sweet, grab on and enjoy the ride. This too shall pass.
How about you? Have you entered the sweet spot of parenting? How are you embracing these sweet years?
Holly is a 42 year old wife and mom to 3 boys, from Nashville, Tennessee. She is a hot tea lover, book reader, journal keeper, Pinterest pinner, podcast listener, y’all sayer, self-taught graphic designer, hobbyist photographer, writer and dreamer of all things big and small. You can find all of her ramblings here at Blu Nest Bloom.