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My Problems Grew with My Kids!

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Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems!

stressed looking mom

Sarah Bowman: As I ungracefully lugged around a double stroller, overflowing with two kids under three, a diaper bag, and a purse, I remember an older (more elegant) friend murmuring "little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems." The implication was that what I was handling was purely physical.

As my body struggled to remember its former shape and my marriage frayed at the seams, I could not have been convinced there was anything of import beyond the physical. On the distant horizon, perhaps I would have to worry about preschool applications, but ... I was far too tired to imagine anything other than survival. Wait until they are teenagers, my so-called friend whispered. Please. How difficult could it be to have kids that can use a bathroom by themselves, answer a telephone, or (heavens) drive themselves to school?

Now that my kids are addicted to their phones and the older girl drops the younger boy at school each morning, I can finish the morning paper and drain the coffee pot. But teens are never out of mind when they are out of sight. During the school day, I worry about how much sleep they are getting, their grades and the looming SATs, and whether or not their friends are a good or bad influence. Athletics offers some needed pleasure in the mix (who doesn't love watching their kids compete?), but there is always the risk of them getting a lifelong injury. And then there are the weekends! The kids are out of the house, in cars and at parties, and I never really know where they are or what they're doing. I spend way too much time comparing stories with their friends' parents, just to be sure they're doing (roughly) what they say they're doing, for a hallmark of this age is a sustained proficiency in truth-dodging and, as parents, we must engage in story-sifting -- a strange type of morning-after archaeology that only a mother could love.

I'd gladly trade the exhaustion of yesteryear, and look back wistfully on the nights when I could tuck them into their beds and fall into a worry-free slumber. Now, they are out past midnight and I struggle to stay awake until they're safely under my roof. Not that they go to sleep once they're home -- hello Facebook! -- but, at least I can close my eyes.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley October 1, 2009, 4:33 AM

I will appreciate my 7 and 2 year olds all the much more. Even when my toddler is running through the library and my son is trying to sell popcorn door to door and then leaves me there to convince the person why they should support scouts while he is putting all over their flowers in the flower beds. Sorry, this all happened yesterday so it is still fresh on my mind. But at least I am not sitting here at 6 am wondering where my kids are!!

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