Once I had kids I tried to plan something special on Saturdays. As a stay-at-home mom, it was fun to have an event to look forward to like a hike, lunch out or visiting family.
Now, as a working mom I look forward to this time even more. It has been, and always will be, a huge way I show my love to my kids. Making plans and trying to manufacture special memories feels like my taking my love and trying to hand it to them. It’s my way of letting them know how much I think about them during the week when they are at school, particularly now that I work during some of those hours they are home.
What used to be an excited little school of fish running around the house before our Saturday adventure has been replaced with my trying to create enough excitement for us all.
I hope that my overcompensation will spill over and excite them about going somewhere fun before they are off with their friends.
Yet, I realize when I am trying to rally my teens and make our afternoon at the movies sound extra inviting, I do this because there is a huge part of me that is afraid they are going to forget these little love-nuggets I continue to plan, even though they don’t seem to give a damn.
And it bothers me.
I’m sure I sound selfish saying this, we aren’t supposed to do nice things for people to be noticed, especially our kids.
As moms, we are aware we aren’t perfect and we try to fill in the cracks when and where we can.
Having teens means days when we feel we’ve really screw up in the worst way. For me, this has led to trying a bit too hard to let them know I am trying my best through these “fun” family outings.
I don’t want them to only remember how I yelled at them that afternoon they all had their heads in their phones and there was a sink full of dirty dishes and I had to ask them 4 times to clean it up.
I don’t want them to only see how stressed I get when they are out past their curfew or don’t give their science project their all.
I don’t want them to feel like their mom is always in task mode and asking them a dozens of questions about where they are going and who will to be there and how many parents are around.
I mean, it’s a huge part of my job and I want it to be effective, but so is giving them a good childhood—and that’s on me.
I know I don’t have to do that through elaborate vacations and gifts and shopping sprees, I know it’s in the moments between all the big stuff, but it still feels weighted.
I want the efforts I put into our “family team building” to be effective too.
I don’t want them to forget.
The whole reason we stay up late wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve and baking cupcakes for the class party and going overboard on decorations during Halloween is to give our kids good things to store in their minds and take with them out into the world as they grow up.
It’s about giving something to them. And dammit, we hope they remember. It doesn’t sound like much to ask and too much to expect all at the same time. The making of memories is what motivated us and what strips us clean of all energy at the end of the Day.
And we all know we will continue to plow forward and do these small and big things regardless of whether our kids will remember or not.
What it Feels Like When Your Teen Pulls Away