Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems!
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
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.
|Sarah Bowman is the Co-Founder of Kids Off the Couch.com. She has a BA in Semiotics from Brown University, worked in the film business as a studio executive before becoming a writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, and two teenagers.|