I graduated high school in 1992–the same year that MTV debuted The Real World. I don’t know if you remember when the Real World first aired, but for me, as a Senior in high school, watching the “real” lives of kids just a few years older than me, was intoxicating and eye-opening. I didn’t miss one episode (DVR was not around in 1992, but there was this thing, called the newspaper, and in it they had something called a “tv guide” which listed all the programs and when they aired. I’m pretty sure you can see both a newspaper and a tv guide in a museum somewhere).
If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, here’s the premise of the Real World:
“This is the true story… of seven strangers… picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World.”
Do people still “tape” things?
Anyway, I was enthralled with the Real World. It was the first time the curtain was pulled back and one could be a fly on the wall in an apartment housing late teenagers and early twenty-somethings. I rooted for Julie and Eric to finally tell each other they loved one another, I cringed at Kevin’s inability to connect with his roommates and struggle to be authentic, I applauded Julie and Norman for loving each other so well despite their differences, and I was challenged to think for myself regarding the injustices and political hot-topics that the show exposed.
(I never really connected with Andre’s storyline. Can I get an Amen?)
The Real World impacted me in a very real way. I mean, my website name is an homage to the reality show.
I know now that the show was not reality, but rather it was scripted and staged; but, I’m okay with that because it provoked me to think critically about what I believe regarding the topics they dealt with on the show.
Several weeks ago, Oprah had the original cast on her Where Are They Now show and I set my DVR to “tape” the episode. Because these were the first strangers I ever “followed.”
As I watched, my favorite daughter took a seat next to me and began asking questions that only a teenager in 2015 would ask:
“Wait, I’m confused, there was a time when reality shows weren’t on tv?”
“Hmmm…so this was ‘fascinating tv’ back in your day?”
“I don’t get it. Why was it such a big deal to see their everyday lives? Just look at their twitter or Instagram.”
I would say, “bless her,” but really, bless us–those of us trying to raise tweens and teens in a culture where being a fly on the wall is the rule, not the exception. And, bless them–those tweens and teens who live with the reality of seeing behind the curtain of every single moment.
It’s unchartered waters and many of our teens are drowning or drowning others. We, parents, either submerge ourselves into it and keep tabs on our loved ones or we play the “well, I figured things out as I went along, my kid will too” card.
I am confident that my kids will figure things out as they go, but I want to be a sojourner with them as they go. Because figuring it out as you go is often costly and filled with regret.
So, I’ve jumped right into the waters with them. If that makes me a “stalker,” I’ve been called much worse.
But, I’m still not a 15-year-old in this Instagram, twitter, snap chat world.
So, I asked my favorite daughter, Kendall, to share what she’s learned and what she is learning from this in-your-face social media world we live in and what she would share with another teen her age.
Let me be very clear, Kendall doesn’t have a perfect track record with social media/texting. Emotions are high at this age, so is insecurity and self-doubt. I’ve yet to meet a teenager who has navigated the social media world perfectly.
Actually, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has handled the social media world perfectly.
Know that she is writing because she wants people to learn from her mistakes and benefit from some of the things that have helped her navigate these waters. I’m protective of her, so if you have something negative to say about her post, email me. She’s stepping out there in vulnerability and I want to encourage vulnerability and transparency in my kids.
She’s been a guest blogger for me before. Here is her previous post if you’re interested.
Here is what she wrote:
Being a Teenager in a Social Media World
Social Media and I have a love/hate relationship. I love keeping up with people through social media. I love the opportunity or encouragement it offers, and I love the chance to be a light.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is tricky. It can be hurtful, full of spite, and often times destructive. I’m gonna throw some numbers at you for a sec, but just hang with me.
- 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13 years old
- Girls 14-17 send an average of 100 texts a day
- About 75% of students will say they have visited a page that bashes another student
I hate when my mom starts a sentence with “back in my day…” but when she explains how technology was back in her day, it always amazes me. Something about a world without social media (or the internet!), cell phones, iPads, and laptops, just makes me think about how much drama would be eliminated and the amount of face-to-face conversation that we miss out on now.
As much as I wish I was a teen “back in my mom’s days,” God calls us to be good stewards of what is given to us, including social media. Here’s what I’ve learned thus far, and don’t get me wrong, God is still teaching me His ways and humbling me in the process.
1. Be Encouraging
You don’t have to lie and comment that someone looks beautiful if that’s not the case (one thing my mom always says is, “everything that’s said needs to be true, but not everything that’s true needs to be said”). Gets me every time! But, there is ALWAYS something encouraging that can be said. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but words are hurtful and just because it’s behind a screen doesn’t make it sugar-coated.
Social media is not the place to resolve conflict. Nothing says maturity more to me than when I get a text saying something along the lines of “my feelings are hurt, can we meet up and talk about it?” I get so discouraged when I read a tweet or see a comment hinting about someone’s hurt feelings or a post that comes right out and says their feelings are hurt. Let’s not use social media as a way to hint at conflict, avoid conflict, or create conflict.
2. Be Prepared
When we look at people’s Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever, we are comparing their highlight reel, to our behind the scenes footage. We know that comparison is the thief of joy. Be prepared to fight against comparison.
Excuse me for being blunt, but be prepared to have your feelings hurt. You’re going to get your feelings hurt and you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Nothing like not getting invited and then social media rubbing it in your face. It’s happened to me before and I know I’ve done it before.
3. Be Authentic
To be authentic doesn’t mean you have to post every feeling on twitter because that’s just obnoxious. When I see a girl’s page (who is interested in one of my brothers) on Instagram and it’s full of selfies, I am quick to tell my brothers to RUN! You don’t have to be a solid (edited) 10 in every picture because we aren’t perfect. We do not live a perfect life. As nice as it is to post flattering pictures, let’s examine our heart. Are we dwelling on earthly compliments? Searching for worldly approval and likes? I am guilty of these things because it feels good! But, let’s be confident and content with who God made us to be and embrace our uniqueness. I know the enemy is going to use social media to try make us feel otherwise, let’s not believe it.
We are the first generation to grow up with this technology. Are we going to choose to steward it well? Are we going to use it for self-promotion or to give God glory? I believe that what the enemy means for evil, God chooses to turn it for His good. I don’t want to use it for evil. Join me in using it for good?
I’ve been grumpy this week. You wouldn’t know I’ve been in a chronic bad mood if you saw me out and about. I save my grumpiness for my family. Isn’t that nice of me? The ones I love the most get Miss Huff-n-Puffs while the friends (and even strangers) get Miss Congeniality.
I can explain; however, explanations don’t justify behavior no matter which way I slice it. So, know I recognize that fact even though I’m going to justify my grumpiness in the following diatribe.
I’m having a hard time figuring out my new role in Kaden’s life. I’ve been surprised by these feelings. Kaden (my eldest) and I have a great relationship and I enjoy his company immensely. I felt more prepared for my feelings last summer. I knew saying goodbye to Kaden was going to be brutal and beautiful. It would change us and grow us and define us all. And, the past year delivered all of those things.
But, I am now experiencing this surprise feeling of “oh, he really has moved out. And, moved on.” He doesn’t need me the way he used to need me.
And, y’all, I know I don’t want it any other way. I really don’t. God is answering the numerous prayers I muttered–through tears and desperation–for Kaden to love and chase after Jesus in spite of his mom’s futile attempt at parenting.
So, I’m in the midst of learning how to be a mom to an adult-ish child. The learning curve is huge and I don’t think I’m walking through it gracefully. In fact, I know I’m not. I’m fumbling through it. It’s like I’m right back in the “new-born” phase. Walking, limping, and sometimes crawling into this new phase of parenting. Except, the kid isn’t crying because he wants his mommy, the mom is crying because she wants the kid.
Wait, isn’t she supposed to be writing about Friday Favorites?
I’ve never been accused of being succinct. I’m getting there…
Added to this transition in my life is summertime. If I hear one more person say something about the “lazy days of summer,” I actually might go all Solange Knowles on them.
Summertime overwhelms me. It always has. I ALWAYS set myself up for failure. You would think I would learn. But, every summer I think it’s going to look a certain way, and it NEVER does. Not ever. I’ve learned to lower my standards on goals and objectives, but I fail to accomplish even simplified activities and uncomplicated goals for me and my children.
20 minutes of reading time for the kids each day? Nope.
5 minute studying of math facts? Nope.
2 hour limit of TV? hahahaha
consistent exercise? What was the question? I was too busy doing squats/lunges in my bedroom trying to stretch out my jeans that are all of a sudden too tight. Does that count as a yoga workout?
I think to myself every May, “Summertime is going to be a time of bonding and growth and discipleship with my children.”
By the time July rolls around I think to myself, “Who let me be a mom?”
I function best when I have space and margin in my life. I need quiet spaces and breaks in the schedule to be an engaged, loving, kind, and attentive mom and wife. Stefan’s busy season at work is summer. My kids busy season for travel, camps, social activities is summer. Therefore, my busy season is summer and breaks in the schedule are rare.
So, I’ve been grumpy.
But, I don’t want to stay grumpy.
I want my kids to remember a mom who loved them deeply, welcomed interruptions, engaged in conversations, and graciously adapted to summertime chaos.
Over the past 2 months, I watched one of my closest friends love her mother deeply, selflessly, and without reservation as her mom died of cancer. Her mom died last Saturday and, as with all of these kinds of situations, I didn’t know the words to say to my close friend. All I could think of was how incredibly grateful I am for my friend’s mom’s legacy. My friend is one of the most loving, kind, gracious, encouraging people I know and I am indebted to her mom for raising a daughter who is a tangible representation of the hands and feet of Jesus to so many, including me.
A reminder that I have some work to do if I want a legacy like that.
I want to leave a legacy of a loving, although messy and flawed, mom. Not Miss Huff-n-Puffs.
Here are some of my favorite ways to leave a legacy of love.
Friday Favorites–Legacy Edition:
1. One of my favorite things we do as a family is have a “question of the night” at dinner. This tradition started when I stumbled upon this Melissa and Doug box of questions. Some of our most beneficial conversations stemmed from a question of the night.
2. The only way I know how to make it as a wife, a mom, a friend, etc…is to allow Truth to seep into the darkest parts of me. My friend told me about the Journible a few months ago and I LOVE it. You write out (word for word) verses, chapters, entire books of the Bible on one page of the journal and on the other page, you journal thoughts, questions, requests, answered prayers, etc. I want my kids to know that their mom needed Truth to combat all the lies that are so tempting to believe.
**side note** If studying the Bible is scary and/or intimidating to you, I have 2 suggestions:
- Find an easy to understand Bible like “the Voice” or “the Message” or even the “Jesus Storybook Bible.”
- I’ve learned that I need some kind of structure for studying the Bible, and a few years ago, my friend told me about the “5 questions.” These 5 questions are often what I use after I read a portion of Scripture.
- What do you like about this story?
- What surprises you about this story?
- What do you learn about God?
- What do you learn about man (humanity)?
- How do you apply what you learned to your life?
You will be AMAZED at what the Spirit teaches you and how Truth transforms.
3. For several years (and I mean several!) Stefan would wash my car every Sunday afternoon. I thought it was nice the first couple of times. Then, I started to get frustrated. Eventually, I got bitter. Finally, I told him, “why do you wash my car every Sunday, when you could be spending time with me and the kids?” (reading that question makes it sound like I was very calm and civil. I wasn’t.) Through conversation we realized that Stefan is an “Acts of Service” guy and I am a “Quality Time/Words of Affirmation” girl. Because he feels loved when someone does something for him, he was exhibiting love in the way he receives it. Thankfully, he’s a quick study and doesn’t wash my car on Sundays anymore.
If we don’t know how our kids receive love, we can spend numerous unproductive hours “loving” them, only to learn that our attempts fall short. Let’s study our children and learn them!
4. Word on the street is that some people actually bake with their kids. I know! I was just as shocked as you. I’m telling you, people are crazy! Not everyone can be normal like us.
Anyway, if you are one of the crazies and enjoy baking with your kiddos, this is my favorite cookie recipe.
Oatmeal Crunkies (too good to call cookies)
- 1/2 C. butter (or butter flavored Crisco)
- 1 egg
- 1 C. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Blend until smooth, then add:
- 1 C. oatmeal
- 1 C. flour
I’m fairly certain these cookies will take the grumpy out of all of us.
I sure hope y’all enjoyed the fourth of July (in whatever country you live). We can all celebrate an “independence” day of some kind. Surely you’ve experienced freedom in an area of your life. Let’s celebrate that freedom! Freedom is something I fight for, something I long for, and something I pray for.
I think I started asking God for freedom when I was a girl. One of my very first movies I ever saw was Annie. I cried and cried to God to give me freedom from my parents (even though they were/are loving parents) so that Daddy Warbucks would whisk me away to live in a mansion, sing and dance with “the staff,” and finally have the long-awaited dog I dreamt of…even if her name was Sandy.
Thankfully, God did NOT answer that prayer.
I may have been tad dramatic when I was younger.
I may have also lettered in Theatre Arts (Drama) in High School (and, yes, I do still have my letter jacket. Maybe letter jackets will make a come-back?).
Thank goodness, I’ve way outgrown all those drama-like tendencies. I’m a seriously mature person now. In fact, if there was a letter jacket for maturity, I’m pretty sure this girl would be awarded one.
Years later, my requests for freedom were honest and desperate. I begged God for freedom from guilt and shame that suffocated me because of rebellion and sin from my youth.
Thankfully, He DID answer that prayer and continues to answer it (it’s a process).
A little over 9 years ago, I became a mom to, count ’em, FOUR kids. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, I was the first of my friends to have 2 kids, 3 kids, 4 kids. You get the idea.
It’s funny how we give credibility to the “pioneers” of the world. Some pave-makers are due credit, but some are simply pioneers because they experience something before someone else. For this second group of pioneers, wisdom, intelligence, and tenacity sometimes plays a role in their earning of the title. More often than not, it’s just dumb luck.
I fall into the second category. I am the “mom pioneer” to most of my friends.
By the way, I looked up pioneer in the dictionary. Here’s one of its definitions: one who is first, or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress.
Now, before you send me hate mail, I am not saying I am the first mom ever in the history of all the moms. I mean, I know Eve was.
(by the way, thanks for the childbirth pains, Eve!)
I simply mean I am the first of most of my friends to experience every stage of motherhood…in all the glory and all the mess.
Day one of being a mom to four, the third born had a melt-down because he wanted a horse and not a baby brother. True story.
Clearly, I am the model pioneer. I have all my crap together. The kid thought his mom was HAVING A HORSE! Let that sink in.
I used to get nervous and anxious when people would say things to me like, “I’m so glad you’re paving the way” or “I can’t wait to learn from you.”
I remember thinking, “what am I ever going to teach someone about being a mom? I can’t even ______________ (wake up before my kids, get dressed before noon, keep up with the laundry, whatever guilt-inducing-good-mom stereotype fills the blank).
For the record, I still don’t wake up before my kids. I can never get laundry done. If it’s washed and dried, it’s never folded and put away. And, my house gets cleaned every other Thursday. Not because of a chore chart or system in place, but because I pay someone to clean it.
I don’t necessarily love the role of being a pioneer. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable…probably because being a mom has stretched me more than any other role I’ve had in my life. At times, I’ve been desperate for Jesus. At other times, I’ve needed to be desperate for Jesus, but too tired and exhausted to lean on Him. Some days, I’m a really good, intentional mother (the desperate for Jesus days). Other days, I’m one pity party away from locking myself in my bedroom with every cult classic 80s movie and pretending I’m still a 17-year-old girl waiting for Duckie to take me to the prom. Actually, that’s not true. I prefer Jake Ryan.
I used to pray for freedom from the role of “inaugural screwer upper of children,” but God hasn’t answered that way. What He has given me is freedom from some of the mom guilt and outlandish expectations of what our culture (social media) says motherhood is supposed to look like. I’ve come to a place of acceptance with my role now. And, for the way He answered me, I am grateful.
Perhaps, you need the same freedom. Here are some of the myths of motherhood that will entrap and leave even the very best moms guilt ridden and defeated:
Myths of Motherhood:
Myth #1. Mothering comes naturally
If being a mom is as instinctual as breathing for you, then, seriously, stop right now and thank God for that gift. I fumbled my way through all of my kids’ newborn stage. Breastfeeding was about as natural as a group date on the Bachelorette. There are things that become necessary and habitual (like taking a kids shirt and wiping his snotty nose with it) but those things aren’t usually “natural instincts.”
I study how to be a mom. I read parenting books, blogs, articles. I engage in conversations with moms of all ages and stages. I ask my kids for evaluations (don’t do this on a day you aren’t ready to hear it, or on a day that you haven’t spent time with Jesus). I ask them what I’m doing well, and what areas I could do better. I also take their evaluations through the filter of “what’s my goal for them when they leave this house.” If their opinion of my mothering is I should buy them an iPhone 5 because they are such a great child, then, that evaluation is taken with a grain of salt. But, if their opinion is that I’m on my iPhone when they are trying to talk to me, then, that evaluation carries weight.
For me, the natural instinct I have in mothering is to protect myself or defend myself. Many prayers I’ve cried, “God, please free me from my selfishness for my kids’ sake.”
Myth #2. If you read to your children when they are young, they develop a love of reading.
I really don’t have anything else to say. As a mother who loves reading, is it too much to ask that one of her four children would love to read? Can a sister get a break?
Myth #3. You are responsible for how your child “turns out.”
I am smack-dab in the middle one of the most joy-filled experiences of my life watching my oldest make good decisions. I am in awe of who Kaden is and how he is pursuing God’s purposes for his life.
But, I am also keenly aware that Kaden is one sinful choice away from squandering all God has given him.
(aren’t we all?)
I am responsible to my children. But, I am not responsible for my children.
I think of it like this-the personal trainers on the Biggest Loser help their contestants by providing them with all they need to succeed in their weight-loss journey. The trainers teach the contestants how to eat healthy (even provide food); they compile a work-out regimen and strategy for the contestants; and, the trainers encourage, counsel, usher in accountability, and even model what a healthy lifestyle looks like.
The contestants have every tool available to succeed in losing weight.
But, at the end of the day, the contestants have to choose (for themselves) whether or not they WANT to succeed.
That is what parenting is like.
We are responsible for providing the tools needed for our kids to be “Jesus followers.” We need to model what a surrendered life looks like, cheer them on when they grow faint, usher in accountability when needed, love them as Christ does, and then, we PRAY for their affection to be for Jesus.
When the contestant “wins” the Biggest loser, the trainer doesn’t take credit for the contestant’s hard work.
When the contestant “fails” on the Biggest loser, the trainer doesn’t get fired for the contestant’s poor choices.
If we are going to take credit for the “good” our kids do, we need to be prepared to take credit for the “bad” they do.
Myth #4. You’ll miss the mess one day.
You won’t. Not even a little bit. You’ll miss other things when your kids move out: conversation, camaraderie, knowing all the details. But, you won’t miss the mess. I have never walked into my house and thought, “Wow. I really miss Kaden’s piles and piles of laundry.”
In fact, maybe I’ll go celebrate that freedom. See, everyone has some kind of freedom to celebrate.
Y’all. It’s only day 5 of summer break. It feels like day one bazillion. I don’t know why I said things like, “we are sooo ready for summer” back in May. Because I’m not. I am not ready for summer. I was lying. If the past 5 days is an indication of whether or not I’ve got my “summer game face” on, I don’t. I think I have my “holy cow! who decided to have all these children” face on. I’ve made dinner exactly ONE night out of the past 10. I’ve let my kids eat “Sunday Cereal” on all the days. I’ve exercised exactly 50% less than I usually do (which is about 50% less than I need to). So, if you’re keeping up with the math, I’m failing with a grade of whatever that is (I never keep up with the math).
Here’s a succinct list of what I’ve accomplished this week:
- brushed teeth (on some of the days. I can’t remember if I met this goal everyday. And, who knows if my kids have brushed their teeth since April).
- loaded the dishwasher today. Only because there was a faint smell of something akin to sour milk wafting throughout the house.
- I’m sorry, what am I listing out? My attention span seems to be on summer vacation.
Anyway, I had a plan for the first week of summer. The plan included (but not limited to) projects around the house, activities to do with the kids, delicious meals to make, and relishing in the quality family time that summer provides TWENTY-FOUR-SEVEN. I did. I had a plan. I know, how naive of me. Bless my heart.
Currently, I’m hiding out in my big girl room. So far, no one has found me. I’m sure my kids are just fine. They have the TV to keep them company. It’s such a good parent. It’s like Netflix is the mom and TimeWarner is the dad.
I’m kidding…don’t send hate emails telling me what a privilege it is to be a parent, or how the days are long, but the years are short, or that one day I’m going to miss the chaos of these days…
I think it’s okay for me to acknowledge that the adjustment from school to summer is difficult for me. My feelings don’t negate the truth that I will miss these days. I’m sure I will, but telling me that doesn’t help me with the here and now. Because the here and now sometimes makes me want to duck and cover. I tried to hide out in the hammock the other day and if it’s not the kids who find me, the dogs do.
And, all God’s people said…
So, while I figure out how to transition from days filled with lots of me time to days filled with lots of us time, I’m giving myself some grace (the hidden, liberal stash of Swedish Fish helps too). I’ll get there. We’ll figure out a new schedule, a new normal. My kids will relax a little (hey, they are coming from a highly structured routine) and I will step up my game. Just takes some time.
If you’re feeling the same way, hang in there, Mama. There’s more than enough grace for you too.
Until we figure it all out, who wants to join me in this challenge? Who needs abs, anyway?
Several months ago, I asked my favorite daughter to begin thinking and praying about possibly guest blogging for me. I asked her to think about what she felt like a 14 year old would want her mom to know. She and I work hard on our relationship. We don’t get it right all the time, and the times we do, we recognize it’s God’s grace working in and through us. She is a typical 14 year old–she takes selfies, she rolls her eyes when I ask, “what exactly do we turn down for?,” and she runs out of the room saying “grooooss” if she sees me and the mister lovin’ on each other.
But, she has exceeded all my hopes for a daughter.
I didn’t find out the gender when I was pregnant with her. Stefan has an old-fashioned approach when it comes to that…”it’s the last great surprise!” Whatever. I was young, dumb, and tired from convincing him to marry me. Anyway, she was born. “It’s a girl!” And, I cried…because I knew God would give me all boys. I didn’t know what to do with a girl because everyone warned me that mother/daughter relationships could be tricky.
We are 14 1/2 years into our relationship. And, our relationship can be tricky. She is figuring out who she is and I’m figuring out how to parent through the emotions, the questions, the attitude, and the joy of who she is becoming. She is exactly like me and exactly opposite of me. She has seen my best and my worst. I’ve seen her best and her worst. And, I wouldn’t change a day of our relationship because she has challenged me, taught me, loved me, and grown in grace towards me. She and I are FAR from perfect. She’ll tell you that too. But, she is perfectly designed to be my daughter and I am perfectly designed to be her mom (and that’s true for you and your girl!). I am forever grateful to our Great God for knowing that a daughter was best for me, even though I was scared of her (at first).
She and I spent some of the weekend talking about her blog post. I told her that I wanted her to simply, “Write from your heart. Write from your experience. What would you want me to know? What would your friends want their moms to know?”
I’m not here to offer advice, but to give a perspective from a middle school (almost high school) girl. This is my opinion.
1. Be my safe place:
When I open up to you and share a sneak peek into my world, I trust that what I tell you won’t be shared with anyone. I want a place of accountability. Not necessarily a place of pressure, but I need a place to grow and prepare for the real world. The culture is rough. The expectations the world has of us girls is completely unfair and unrealistic. To know that we are valued, loved, and heard is music to our ears. Sometimes we need more than that, it may take the hard conversation of “it is not that important what the world thinks of us.” Remind me, “you will be hated for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22
2. Be my partner:
Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s your job to be the parents. I think there needs to be a good balance between being the authority and being the friend. I struggle with this…walking above people instead of with people. It’s a pride problem. But, one of my favorite things about my mom is that she walks in my shoes. She swoops down to my level when engaged in conversation with me. She doesn’t always pull the Bible verse out right away. She gathers information and listens. Then, she shares what the Jesus thing to do is. Have a balance between my emotion and reality verses Truth and perspective.
3. Have a goal for me:
Communication is key in all relationships. I recently was telling my mom how quickly the next four years is going to pass. How fast I’ll be in college…which means I’ll be in the real world (My mom LOVED that…hello? did you read her last post?). It seems like yesterday I was collecting rolly pollie bugs (I have no idea how to spell that) and watching Hannah Montana. Like I mentioned before, my home is my safe place. Who wants to leave their comfort zone? That’s scary. But, what’s even scarier is going out in to the real world unprepared. The years at home sharpen me for war, refresh me, and aim me to the ultimate goal. What’s your goal for me? How are you preparing me for the real world? What do you want me to be like when I leave home?
4. Invest in me:
No one likes when someone reads your text message and doesn’t respond. Can I get a “Retweet” or an “Amen!” When you invest time, engage in conversation with me, or show up to my events, I feel loved. A girl desires to feel loved. At this age, we often look for it through boys, other girls’ approval, or how many instragram “likes” we get. (I personally wish I could tell girls my age that in the long run, a compliment or like will make you feel good for maybe 2 minutes, but God’s unconditional love for us will make us feel good forever. Maybe today your daughter needs to hear that). Tell me my worth is not in boys or other peoples’ approval. Tell me about God’s unconditional love for me. Show me God’s unconditional love for me. I need to feel loved.
5. Be the person you want me to be:
So cliche. I know. But, if you don’t want me to dress inappropriately, set a modest example. If you don’t want me to find my worth in others’ opinions, then let it roll off your back. Don’t dwell. Be secure and confident. We pick up traits and habits from our parents. If you don’t want me to gossip about people, don’t gossip about other moms. Ultimately, we look up to you, mom. We are watching you and deciding what part of you we want to keep and what part of you we don’t want to be.
Be encouraged, Mamas, the stereotypes for teenage girls don’t have to be true.
A note from V:
I post these pictures because we don’t have pictures of the times we argue, we disagree, or the times I embarrass her. Who takes pictures of those events? But, rest assured, we have those moments. It’s difficult to post a blog like this because there’s a possibility that one of you may think we have it all together. The relationship I have with my daughter is beautiful, but it’s God’s work in us that has made it beautiful. We have confessed, cried, and celebrated the bad and the good. We will take credit for the bad, but please know the good is because we recognize our need for a Savior…and He shows up in our mess. Every time.