Motherhood Isn’t One Size Fits All :: Moms of Older Kids Need Support Too

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Motherhood Isn’t One Size Fits All

Do you ever look at your life and wonder how you ever got to the place you’re at? Did you ever dream that motherhood had so many different roles? Caretaker, cook, maid, taxi driver, gardener, financial advisor, nurse, counselor, home management officer, night shift supervisor just to name a few. Did you ever dream that you’d be a stepmom? How about a stepmom to adult children right out of the gate? How about a foster mom?

Those childhood games of M.A.S.H and L.I.F.E didn’t ever include motherhood variances like stepmom or foster mom in my day. And yet, it is very much a reality for so many of us.

Motherhood comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

I’m a stepmom to two older girls in their twenties. One is married. Both have successful careers. I’m also a foster mom to a 15-month-old baby girl, or a schnickelfritz  (as she’s endearingly referred to by her Swiss-German grandparents.) A new favorite word for sure! I wouldn’t change any of it for the world, either. I feel beyond blessed to have all of them in my life. Just as they are.

What I find most interesting in this journey is that since I have kids on both ends of the age spectrum there is so much support for being a mother to an infant and very little for being a mother, or stepmother, to adult children.

The amount of support and the accessibility to community for moms of older kids is not as widely available. Neither are the articles or Facebook posts. Is it because moms of older kids don’t need that much support anymore? Is it because they are too busy? Or is it because they have it all figured out by now? Cause if THAT’s the case . . . tell me more!

In my experience, most of the mom groups in our schools, communities, and churches are for young moms with children under the age of ten. You can find countless articles on breastfeeding, teething, tantrums, first day of school anxieties, and playdates.

But here are my questions: Where is the support for moms who have middle schoolers dealing with body issues? Mean girls? Queen bees? What about those days you get a call from school that your son was fighting with another boy because he felt bullied in the 10th grade? Maybe your son was the bully. Who do you turn to for that? Is there a meet-up for mid-school moms? What about moms whose kids are graduating from high school and heading off to college? Some of my very own friends are facing an empty nest for the first time and they are really struggling. A chance to talk with other moms might be just the thing to help them get through those tough days.

Motherhood doesn’t just stop after elementary school. Obviously. And we definitely don’t stop needing support, encouragement, or advice. Sometimes, just a coffee date, instead of a play date, is what we need. As a middle school and high school teacher, I can’t tell you how many moms through the years have come to me asking for help in understanding their children. There is this sense of abandonment for a lot of moms who are transitioning out of the elementary school years, where there was so much support, and heading into the pre-teen years where they no longer feel connected. So many moms out there are looking for a connection, and they just aren’t sure where to find it.

Our need for support doesn’t magically disappear at a certain point in motherhood. We are mothers. This is a role we get to keep. How beautiful and amazing is that? So I wonder, how are we supporting each other as we grow in motherhood? How do we keep this momentum going through the middle school years? The high school years? College? Marriage? Grandchildren? Great Grandchildren? We are a tribe, aren’t we?

My hope is that this community of moms here in Albuquerque would be willing to embrace these differences we all have and celebrate them. We aren’t going to be mothers of infants forever. Breastfeeding does come to an end. The toddler tantrums subside (please tell me they do!) and first days of school get easier in time. Right? I hope so.

I believe as mothers we will continue to have things to learn from each other because our fears, anxieties, and frustrations don’t just dissipate. Our questions and concerns change over time. Our love, our care, and our nurturing is for life. We should grow with our kids AND with each other.

Let’s be the kind of tribe that welcomes and celebrates and grows together in all stages of motherhood.


Originally published October 2018.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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