Parenting Challenges…What are Yours?

no-kiss-zone-mdI always wonder what other moms and dads find challenging when it comes to all things parenting. What first comes to my mind is the obvious struggles and frustrations that come with not listening, but that is not what keeps me up at night.  My oldest son, who is 6 1/2, who was once filled with I love you’s, kisses and cuddles, is now growing up and not seeking those things so much anymore. It’s easy to think of ourselves as always being moms to little ones, and for me, it’s difficult to imagine them actually growing up.  We often define ourselves as mothers to babies, toddlers and little boys and girls, but as we all know, time just seems to fly by and as we get older, so do they.  To one day be a parent to a 15 year old or a 35 year old seems light years away and completely foreign.

It all started with my son’s new school as he entered Kindergarten back in August of 2012. He was never the type of child to cling to my leg and on his first day of pre-school, waved goodbye and never looked back. When Kindergarten was under way, you could see the elation on his face as everything was so new and exciting. He soon realized his love of sports and enjoyed playing with the older kids before school, during school and even after school. I was so impressed with his confidence and the amazing friends he was making. I soon discovered though that when I kissed him goodbye at school, he would wipe it off. What was once a smooch on the lips became a quick peck on the cheek, if that.  As someone who is very affectionate with my children, this saddened me but I knew it was coming.  I just didn’t realize it was coming this soon!  Next I would be told that I was no longer needed to walk him into school and drop off was the new preferred method.  What was my purpose?  It became obvious that chauffeur was my new title.

I am well aware that this is all part of growing up and try not to take it personally. However, it still stings. Did I mention that when I pick him up at school, I barely even get a hello anymore. The “Hey Mom” is now the “What snacks did you bring” or “I was hoping you would be late so I could play with my friends”.   This is all new territory for me but I know I have to respect my son’s wishes and I would never want to embarrass him at school.  I realize that I need the hugs and kisses more than he does.   I will say that whenever he jumps in my lap now or wraps his arms around me, I cherish every second.  I feel very proud that he is growing up to be an independent little man.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, my four year old has always been attached to my hip, cried at pre-school every day for two years when I dropped him off, and crawls into bed with me every night.  I know one day, sooner than I would like, all my boys will be grown up and the kisses and hugs will become few and far between. On the bright side, there is my husband and my beloved dog who always welcome my affection!

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I actually started writing this article over a month ago to get my thoughts out.  Since then, my older son is now calling me “Mama”, which melts my heart.  I do wonder where that came from but I am enjoying it rather than questioning it.  He also asked me to stay and have extra cuddle time with him in his bed last night.  You can bet my answer was “YES!”.  Just like adults, children go through phases.  My son is growing up and testing his independence but when he needs that hug, I will be here with open arms!!!