It was Christmas Break and my boy/girl twins were just a month shy of turning 12. For those of you who have had an 11-year-old around before, you know what I mean when I say that 11 isn’t exactly the sunniest of years. It seemed as if I could never compete with my husband, who in their eyes, was the “fun” parent. Well, someone’s gotta be the grown up, put on her mom jeans, and instill responsibility on these children, right?
So, in dealing with the constant, yet normal, egocentric and selfish feelings that come along with 11, I had somehow felt that I was no longer even “fun” for myself.
Fortunately, I was smart enough to know all the big feelings were quite developmentally appropriate, no matter how painful it was having them all directed toward me. When I could compartmentalize it all, I could remind myself that it was actually a compliment that most of their opposition was directed at “mom.”
But, I knew that I had to connect with them in a different way…in a way that would make them see that mom can actually be “cool” too, despite my mom jeans.
So I booked a getaway to the mountains and dusted off my snowboard.
I had taught them how to snowboard last winter. But, since I was concentrating on making sure they learned and had fun and didn’t spend the day on their bottoms, I couldn’t really show them what their mama was made of. Not this time! This time I talked up how I used to live in Big Bear for a full winter season, snowboarded every day, and worked at the lift in the snowboard park.
It was time for them to see me in full effect!
The sheer delight of seeing their faces as I unleashed and just took off, going off a few jumps and speeding down the mountain, was sheer bliss. I had actually only gone snowboarding three times since my children had been born and boy, did I need this! The exhilaration of speeding down the mountain, riding through the powder, made me feel like I was 22 again!
“I’ve still got it!”
I would yell this to them as I rode on by. By lunch time they were exhausted, and mama could feel the lactic acid building up. So I was grateful to sit down in the warm lodge myself.
“Mom, you’re really good,” my son said between bites. “Can you teach me some stuff?” “YEAH!” followed my daughter. WHAT IS THIS?
Had I actually climbed up in rank? Was mom now fun to be with too, despite my mom jeans?
The days and weeks following that vacation were filled with smiles while we reminisced on the successes of my children staying up on their boards or mastering their turns. We shared laughs comparing who fell the most times and who fell the hardest.
But the best memory I shared was how close snowboarding had brought all of us.
I shared with my children how much I loved sharing with them the sport that, at one time, was my everything and had since been lovingly replaced by the family their father and I had created.
Snowboarding also became a metaphor for life for my tweens…we’ll fall hard, but family will always be close by to help you get back up.
So, what I say to you moms when you’re feeling like no longer feeling like the bad guy in mom jeans: connect, show off, let them see what life was like before them.
Show your children that you aren’t just the queen of the castle, but you’re the court jester, too!
Show them you can put your “adulting” aside and be the free spirited, adventurous woman you were before they blessed your life and made you grow up! They’ll love it and it will humanize you.
My children and I have always had an extremely close relationship. Quite frankly, I could have never pictured it possibly getting any closer…until I brought out that snowboard from the attic, strapped in, and started to fly!