Last week I met with a friend and picked her brain for ideas about one of my kids. This morning I met with another friend whose kids are a little older and talked parenting strategies and how I can tweak up our routines. I had a friend text me for advice about some doctors for some stuff about kids. See how vague I’m being online?
Lately I’ve noticed that the older my kids get, the cagier I get online about the things we’ve got going on. Because it’s one thing to share about toddler tantrums and preschool shenanigans, but as our kids get older and develop into their own big people with unique struggles and dreams, you realize that those are exactly that, their own. So over the years, I’ve noticed that I keep doctor stuff private and discipline stuff private and a poop story is funny when it’s about a three-year-old or myself, but older kids gets the privilege of secrecy and respect…most of the time (wiggles eyebrows threateningly at sassy big kids).
When we first adopted Evie, my agency asked me to reach out to several other families in the process of toddler adoption. A year later I followed up with some of them and they all talked about how hard it was and how they felt alone and thought they couldn’t do it. And that’s why I wrote a little of our stories and journey with attachment and becoming a family so that people wouldn’t feel alone and to let people peek behind the glossy photos.
But there’s stuff about my kids I can’t tell you.
As my kids get older and I learn and listen to adult adoptees and my own children, I notice that I’m holding things closer. As they grow up and develop their own personalities and story lines I recognize that they get to choose when to share and how and if. And I’m getting quieter about everything out of respect for them. It’s one thing to talk about toddler tantrums and poop explosions because that’s fairly universal and understandable. But when it comes to our medical and emotional needs and discoveries for all my kids, I’m thankful for the in-person friends.
And that’s why I’m so passionate about us developing momlationships. Our IRL friends who know us and love the heck out of our kids and understand all the context and everything about everything.
I think you guys with teenagers get this. Blogs get quieter as the kids get older and their own Facebook accounts. And we have to figure out how to navigate this. I continue to be so honest, but I’m figuring out where my stuff stops and my child’s stuff begins. And sure, sometimes I’m gonna overshare and they’ll learn that, for better or worse, mama’s a writer. But I’m working to get the important stuff right.
We still really do need each other and need to learn from each other. We moms need to resource each other and come alongside and empathize. We don’t need to recreate the freaking wheel and we don’t have to go it alone.
Even though I was finding mom friends for the first time when I was a new mom and my kids were little, as they’re growing up, I’m finding that I need those friends now more than ever. I’m spending less and less time at parks on playdates but more and more time in intentional get-togethers for mutual brain-picking and coffee cups clinked in solidarity.
And we will figure out how to hold on to one another here without spilling all the sordid details, okay? We will figure out how to let our kids have the right to privacy without losing our common ground. Let’s help each other find our people out there in the wide world, the ones we can trust to hold our struggles safely.
Parents who have adopted older children, things are sometimes hard, and then sometimes there are glorious moments of beauty. And hard. And I see you.
Parents who adopted younger children who are growing up, there’s good, there’s hard, there’s healing, there’s new layers peeled back and revealed. I see you, too.
Parents who have adopted out of birth order, I see you, and imma hug you and just lay my head on your shoulder for a minute. (Sorry, am I cutting off your oxygen? Okay, I’m letting go.)
Parents of older kids, I see you. Sometimes you want to hug them and never let go and other times you flinch when they come home because you aren’t sure what you’ll hear.
Parents of kids dealing with medical needs, I see you. It’s like you spend all day on the phone with doctors’ offices and you worry about your child’s need but then sometimes you catch yourself not worrying about it and feel bad that you forgot to worry for a few hours.
We need each other. We are here for each other. We can do this together.