Mothering teenage boys is a puzzle.

I want to write today about being a mum to a teenage boy.

My first born was 15 a few weeks ago, and, I feel the same way I did on his first birthday. On his first birthday I cried, and held him all day. It was a multi layered cry, on one level I was relieved that we had barely survived the first year, he was growing out of the baby stage. I wept harder though, when I thought about how he wasn’t the baby anymore, that my arms would get lighter from here on out. I cried in celebration because it was our day, his birthday, and my birthing day.

This year on his 15th birthday I cried. I cried because our relationship is evolving and my arms and heart are aching for my little boy that always wanted my attention, that little boy love for his mumma. I would stand for hours watching him bowl a ball. Now he goes out into the yard on his own to practice cricket. For the little boy that would always yell out to me, just so he knew where I was at all times. For the little boy that would cuddle me just because he wanted to, now I have to place his arms around my neck. He is moving out into the world and doing things that he doesn’t need me for. He organised work experience with Queensland Cricket at Albion, which meant he had to catch two trains to get there and then walk to the fields. He was completely confident and excited to be doing this on his own. My husband and I took him the first two days and he was mortified. The third day, I sat drinking endless coffee, in my back yard staring at my phone waiting for him to call me; when he changed trains, when he arrived at Albion station, when he clocked on at work. I was more worried on that day than the day I sent him off to school. At school, the staff have to care about the students, keep them safe. Putting him on a public train, and off to work in the big wide world, where no one really cares, was scary. He was totally fine and completely nailed his work experience – the whole experience, not just the work part. But getting ready, arriving on time, being responsible.

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Date day. (I look impressed don’t I)

 

He also has a girlfriend who he wants to spend more and more time with. This is honest to god killing me. I want my little family with me at all times when I have the weekend off (which is not often). He is now wanting to go and watch her play sport and spend weekends with her. Last weekend they had a “date day”. He watched her play sport and then her family dropped them at a local beach town. My boy took his girl for lunch at a burger restaurant, splurged on ice cream, and they hung out on the beach. I actually had tears in my eyes talking to my husband about this situation. The conversations in our house are now revolving around not blowing allllllll of your money that you work for, on a girl. This conversation does not go down well. This also hurts my heart because I want to be supportive, but, am finding this teenage, first love situation stressful, and hard to navigate so that I don’t look like the bitchy mum.

The no secret rule in our house is one we have preached since we tied the knot. We always try to be open and honest in an age appropriate way with the boys. At the moment that includes lots of talk about how to treat a girl, how to be respectful. We have had the; having babies at your age will completely ruin your life conversation. We have been focussing a lot on talking to him about choices and the wrong ones will send you in a down ward spiral, how at this point in your life the world is your oyster. This was cemented last week when my boy and I had to meet at the school to decide his “pathway” through the next two years at school. My husband has been spending a lot of time with him, and his brother fishing in their little boat, surfing, riding skate boards, and mountain bikes, and four wheel driving, re-enforcing in his soul that we are always here for him, and that there is always opportunity for conversation when hanging out with dad. I feel a bit left out at the moment with all of the boy activity going on. There is a definite shifting, I feel like we are puzzle pieces that haven’t clicked into place yet, that we know we belong together, but just have to find our place. I do feel like I am grieving for the little boy days, when my husband and I were the only important people in his orbit. When the most important thing I was teaching him was how to brush his teeth or that a banana is a better choice than a chocolate.

As I sit here writing this my boy is on school survival camp. We are old pro’s at school camp, Montessori kids start going to camp in prep (prep camp is a one night sleep over at the school). This year is different again as I feel like this is a big test for him, with choices that he makes and how he behaves on camp. I am missing him a lot more than usual. And my advice to him when he got out of the car was

“Love you, have fun, learn lots, try and stay warm, don’t get any one pregnant.”

Him “OH MY GOD…MUM!!!”

Continue reading “Mothering teenage boys is a puzzle.”

Day 46

Day 46 

I don’t have to drive down the highway or walk into that bloody department today. I feel better today, I think I am way passed tired. I drove in to my driveway this morning to my family driving out. I cried. They were going to the skate park so I could sleep. I asked my husband to drive me to my Papas birthday lunch, he said yes. I cried. I choked down muesli and yoghurt, camomile tea and magnesium tablets then tried not to vomit it back up when I had a shower that left me light headed from the heat. I don’t remember getting into bed. I remember waking up at 9.28am thinking it was 9.28pm and that I had to get ready for work. With a racing heart and a confused head I figured it was morning not night and curled up and went back to sleep for another hour.

By the time that we got to lunch, I felt like I had a bad hang over, but had a delicious lunch and a great time spent with my family.

Today was the Bathurst 1000. I don’t know anything about cars or car racing, I really had no clue what I was watching, and it was a testament to how deliriously tired I was, that I sat on the lounge chair after a shower and changed into my pyjamas at 2.30pm and watched cars going around in a circle. I was completely into it and watched it until the winner crossed the finish line. Even had a little cry when the winner made his speech – don’t  know who he was, but I was happy for him and his accomplishments.

It is 5.15pm after our massive lunch, I have just had a dinner of avocado on toast, my husband has taken boy 1 to work and boy 2 is playing soccer next door. I am planning on being in bed in the next 15 minutes when hubby and boy 2 get home.

 

End of day 46

This is a short sweet post but has taken me forever to write.

Excited I can sleep in my bed all night.

Not taking a pyjama photo, so the feature photo is one from when I was having dinner with a girlfriend.

 

Day 43

Day 43

 

This afternoon, I am mourning the loss of my favourite pair of thongs. They broke this morning when I was reaching up to get in to my four wheel drive. I wore these black little pieces of rubber everywhere. I bought them at Seaworld on the Gold Coast when the boys and I were there celebrating the birthday of my besties boy three years ago.  They were instantly comfortable. They didn’t need wearing in like most of the cheaper types.  There was no blisters in between my big toe and my second toe and they fitted perfectly.

Those thongs had some stories to tell, they have walked in a mothers footsteps. I wore them every day for school drop off and pick up, grocery runs, they were at all most every Wednesday morning coffee, they went to majority of the Tuesday and Thursday cricket training and every Saturday cricket game. They have been to the hinterlands of the Gold coast, Sunshine coast and northern New South Wales. They have been on beaches from the top end of the Sunshine coast to the glorious beaches of Northern New South Wales. They have stepped in cow shit, and saved me from barb like thistles in the paddocks of my sisters property in south west Queensland.

They were worn with jeans and skirts, cute little shorts, and maxi dresses. I wore them with socks in winter. They went from being too big for my boys, to, too small for my boys.

I have just re-read this and can’t decide if I am deliriously tired after my 17 hr work day yesterday or a complete bogan for writing a post about a my favourite pair of thongs breaking.

End of day 43

Back to work, I tried to have a sleep earlier and the dog started howling and a bird was tapping on my bedroom window.

Did a search for book publishers, for when I go to Europe and write a book about it. Found a self-publishing option via Hay house called Balboa press.

Love the big tree in the feature photo.

Day 41

Day 41.

Our home is devoid of boy’s voices and their presence today and I feel a bit lost. There wasn’t the frantic rush and nagging this morning to get ready for school, where is your belt, where is your tie. I was parked on the drive way watching my boy close the gate, and he had on his belt and his tie and it was 8.00am and we were already on our way to start a new school term. “I love you extra hard this morning mate, you are wearing your belt and tie and we didn’t argue about it.” “mmmmm” he says with the tiniest, tiniest of movement of lips towards a smile, he didn’t smile though.

We live in a Queenslander home, it was originally located at West End in Brisbane city and previous owners relocated it to where we are now. I always wanted to live in a Queenslander. Our house has so much character and imperfections. Whoever moved it here didn’t do a great job of getting the height to standard, because everyone except children have to duck when they walk under our house. There are small, tiny gaps between floor boards and walls where wind whistles through in the winter. None of the doors shut properly and if there you place a ball on our kitchen floor it will roll away.  Our toilet that is in the bathroom reminds me of a public toilet. There is a single floor board outside of our bedroom door that creaks when you stand on it. It is a home that makes its own music, the tin roof pops with expansion or compression in the heat and the cold. The floorboards in the lounge room echo when they are walked on. Windows without screens and trees nearby, mean that bird sounds pour through our windows, along with the occasional butcher bird that likes to sit on my kitchen bench and mozzies and sand-flies that like to feast on my family. All of these noises kept me company today with no children around.

I sat with a cuppa and eggs on toast and finished the book that my sister recommend to me the language of flowers. Don’t know if book club books are my thing, but then maybe they are because, I either hate the book or wouldn’t usually read that style or make me think a lot.  I finished this one, I loved the start and hated the middle and I yelled are you serious at the end. I thought she was a selfish bitch, who never really grew up. I know that she was an orphaned foster kid, but the people surrounding her showed her love, kindness and how to be a decent human and she learnt nothing. There was certain parts in the book that made no sense and I found very frustrating. (I won’t go into it too much don’t want to spoil it), glad I read it only because I can have an in-depth chat to my sister about it.

End of day 41

Just got called in to do an overtime shift tonight.

Want someone to pay me to write so I don’t have to work night shift.

Day 40

Day 40

“It’s not exercise it’s stretching.” He says this and then huffs and puffs his way through a Sun salutation flow, that started our drizzly, cool day and when the yoga instructor on my IPod says don’t collapse on to your left/right side – he so collapses.  My husband still doesn’t take yoga seriously he is such a child, when the instructor guides us to downward facing dog, he erupts in to laughter – it’s really not that funny.

Today was also spent driving in our 1975 Valiant to the town where I was born. The four of us and my mum, spent time in the spitting rain, sipping coffee, looking at the ocean, the boats and more rain roll in. We stole geranium clippings (oak leafed geranium means true friendship and the pink geraniums are used in love spells.) from the garden of my grandma and papa. We stopped in at Bunnings to look at the plants and loaded the floor of the Val, with 8 lavender plants (grace, elegance and femininity – but in the language of flowers book I am reading it means mistrust) that we paid $16 for instead of the full price of $87.84.

Mum filled our bellies with coffee, organic corn chips and quince paste as we sat around her dining table continuing our day with her.

This afternoon was reserved for snuggling under crocheted blankets having nanna naps, it was taken up by standing in the rain, and lovingly transplanting root bound lavender into our garden and dividing up pilfered geranium cuttings into pots. I curled up on our lounge chair and immersed myself in the book I am reading.

The cooler, rainy day meant I filled our claw foot bath with water so hot, my skin was the colour of the tomato’s that I brought to have with our tacos for dinner (not the weather for tacos – not my favourite meal either, but my family loves it and we had home grown lettuce to use so we had tacos that I didn’t really enjoy.)

End of day 40

My legs are sore from riding the bike yesterday and the yoga this morning.

Ironed all the school uniforms for back to school tomorrow.

 

Day 39

Day 39.

I rode a bike today. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was in primary school. My husband and boy 2 were teasing me mercilessly about not being able to ride a bike.

“I can so ride a bike”.

“I have in 19 years never seen you ride a bike- prove it”.

The bike that was forced on me was my husband’s mountain bike. I did a quick lap (kinda quick, while dodging our rose garden) from the house to the chicken pen and back. Boy 2 was running beside me in case I fell off (these men have no faith in me). Boy 2 was trying to tell me how to change gears, and “don’t use the front brakes Mum, or you are going to fly over the handle bars and scrape your face off”. I was happy with my quick lap around the yard and was happy to leave it at that. No, no my husband and child challenged me to ride down our street, turn left on to the newly concreted path and peddle to the next street about 1 kilometre away. You know when you watch documentaries about new born animals and they stand up for the first time and are all wobbly. Yes, well this was me trying to ride a bike down our street and then down the hill that is made of concrete.

Boy 2 stayed by my side the whole way down the hill. He was on his scooter and was coaching me through the gears. My nervous giggle as I was flying down the hill was making him nervously laugh. We raced each other up the hill and passed my husband and our massive dog who was taking up the whole path.  Boy 2 and I were yelling “move”. Boy 2 made me go back down the hill, ride back up and home again.  He wanted me to ride to the other end of our street. He is one tough trainer. The whole way he was saying things like, “proud of you mum”

“you are so good at riding a bike mum”,

“you could go all day mum”.

My heart was full from learning something from my boy, enjoyed my ride and came home and enjoyed a goblet of red, while cooking roast pork.

End of day 39.

Football grand final on the TV, what a bunch of Neanderthals.

Enjoying reading The Language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I will never look at flowers the same way again.

(I was going to write a post about our house, that is why I am hanging out on our back stairs in the feature photo)

Make up post.

Last night I had a nagging feeling that I had forgotten to do something, but couldn’t put me finger on it.

I had worked yesterday morning, by the time I pulled into our drive way I was in a foul mood. I was sick to death of people, sick of the phone, sick of people continually making demands. I was in a prickly mood about our roster, because I never, ever make requests and I requested certain shifts to make the school holidays easier and of course I didn’t get them.

I had the shits because my three went to lunch and the movies without me. I was annoyed at the dollars being spent, because at the moment it kinda feels like we are haemorrhaging money – yes it is school holidays and the 2 young boys want to be entertained. But I mean really, the children don’t have a shithouse life where they miss out on experiences, they have it pretty good, and it is only day two of holidays.

I was feeling a bit defeated with the blog, and the drop of 200 views for the week.

I got home from work and planted myself in the kitchen to make custard and brownies. Even this simple task that I generally find cathartic didn’t soothe me.

A boiling hot shower, where my skin almost melts off didn’t help, because our new hot water system isn’t as burning hot as I would like.

The walk that my husband made me do, also didn’t help because our massive dog who obviously knew I was in a mood kept walking in front of me.

After dinner and kitchen clean up and two episodes of MASH, I gave up on my day and went to bed at 7.30pm.

I woke at 2.02am, and remembered that I had not written my day 29 blog post and I hadn’t taken a photo of the day.

That’s thing about challenges I suppose, you get challenged, and when you slip up, you can either give up or try again.

(the feature photo is me on father’s day, which was the complete opposite to yesterday)

Day 28.

First day of school holidays today.  My boys are always a bit feral for the first couple of days of holidays. That’s ok. They are tired from a massive term at school, sport and coming down from the stress/high if being on the go for 8 weeks. So yeah this morning was attitude plus and pushing boundaries.

My hubby took the covers off our bright orange 1975 Valiant, and we took Val and the kids out for fish and chips.  We went to Bribie, ordered fish and chips and spread out on the wide concrete steps that line a section of beach and enjoyed the greasy meal, while watching people fish and others coasting along on the calm blue/green water in their luxury boats.

This afternoon I sat with my bestie, her husband, her Mum and her mums partner eating rocky road and drinking red wine.  Not only was my cup full of red wine, but so was my heart at the wonderful, funny conversation, that then turned into me interviewing my besties mum for my #mesistertribe. Can’t wait to write about her, an amazingly interesting woman.

When I got home from my afternoon of great people, wine, chocolate, conversation and an abundance of mozzies. I found messages from Daphne my #mesistertribe feature from yesterday, liking the post I had crafted about her  ( thank god). Because we all know how much I stress about those posts.

My heart is full today.

End of day 28

Curled up on the lounge next to my hubby typing this on my phone.  My thumbs are killing me.

My feral, cranky children where delightful after spending time near the sea water.

Day 23

Carpooled with hubby today. That means I am an hour and a half early for my shift. He starts at 230pm amd I start at 3.00pm, the department he works for has an unwritten agreement, that the boys get to work early and all sit around like old women and have
a chat, share the gossip and then let the previous shift go home early. 

I definitely, do not have that unwritten rule in the department I work in, it doesn’t matter if I am 5min early or an hour early. Start and finish times are set. Most of the time I stroll in 5 minutes early with my cuppa in hand, a smile on my face and
get handover.

Yesterday I put my foot down and told him I was driving myself to work. I had zero desire to sit around in the tea room for an extra hour and a half.  I got caught up  writing yesterday’s blog post, hanging washing and getting ready for work. Then the
dog came flying up our back stairs, as I was straightening my hair, and I burnt a tiny bit of my hairline as my about 60 kilogram dog slammed into my legs, because he heard a clap of thunder. This turn of events didn’t bode well for me being able to leave
for work on time.  After much love and trying to get him to unattach himself from my legs. I finally got him down stairs and onto his bed, so I could leave for work. 

“I would have a heart attack, couldn’t handle walking in that late” was the reply text message I got from my husband as I was walking into work at 2.56pm.  

End of day 23

My husband thanked me for carpooling with him, said he enjoyed our chat to work. 

Have typed this whole blog post on my phone. In the work tea room. While eating extra hot wings crinkle cut chips, that burnt my mouth, and then I burnt my mouth more when I tried to skull my coffee, to stop the burn from the chip’s . Listening to Doctor’s diagnosing/debating what is wrong
with a patient, that fell down a hill and now has abdo pain, on a show playing on the tv that takes up nearly whole wall in the tea room.

Vows

Vow | a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way (Collins dictionary).

A guy  I work with recently got married, and of course posted the wedding YouTube video to Facebook. I cried into my porridge and wrecked my work makeup.  It wasn’t the Bali garden setting, with the view of the ocean over a stone wall, or the flowers that adorned everything or the trendy macramé curtain that framed the couple beautifully under a wooden arbour, that had me weeping. It was their vows. Vows that were their own words written with thought, truth, humour and love.

When I was a bride to be, all I wanted was to marry Scott and have his babies. With everything in me down to my soul I wanted to be the wife to my first love.  I wanted the traditional Catholic Church wedding, with the white dress, standing before God, family and friends being tied to Scott forever. The Catholics have their own script and order of service for the wedding ceremony and at the time I was okay with that. The only thought I put into my vows was that I would not vow to “obey”.

The day of our wedding, I couldn’t wait to get to the church, (I was 20min early). Walking with my Mum on my left and my Dad on my right, and my sisters walking in front of me. I smiled and waved and said hello to family and friends, as I walked towards my guy in the black suit looking like he wanted to vomit or curse me for taking so long to get to him. When I finally did reach him I couldn’t take my eyes off him, all we had to do was say “I do” after the Priest recited the words and vows that bound us.

Priest: Scott, do you take Melinda for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Scott: I do.

Priest: Melinda do you take Scott for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Melinda: I do.

After 15 years of marriage, the words that I vowed to live my married life by seem shallow, weak and immature. (That opinion is coming from a place of experience, time, hindsight, trials and love).

I wish I would have had a heart-to-heart to the women in my family, extended family and friends about being a wife and the relationship of marriage. I was so young the concept was of marriage was romantic and exciting. I wish I had my Grandmother, mother, and aunties share their wisdom and insights into being a wife.  What is the joy in their marriage and the difficulties in their marriage?  In hindsight I would of crafted deeper, authentic words and my own personal promises instead of; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.