~ A mothers journey ~

The first time I held my newborn baby boy, it was dream like. Overwhelmed with love I wasn't sure it was real. Both exhausted from the whole experience - it was a place I had never been- yet it felt so familiar. Instinctively I knew this had changed my life forever and a new journey lie ahead.
He was my universe and I was levitating.
I gazed into his steel blue eyes and held his little hand, his eyes opened ever so often as if to check I was there- he was mine and I was his.

Days , weeks past I soon realized how challenging being a new mother was, up all night without much sleep and nursing every 2 hours really tested my patience. I wasn't sure of my self and I wasn't sure of him...was I doing this right?
3 months later we moved to the opposite coast- Hudson Valley, New York. Pierre was off to attend the Culinary inst. and become a chef. We rented a charming 200 year old colonial and settled in. Rhinebeck became our home for the next 6 years.
I had no family, no friends- everything was new...and I loved it.
Mr. Julian facing forward in the Baby Bjorn was how we walked for hours everyday, enjoying this historic and beautiful tree lined town. One crisp fall morning on one of our daily walks a woman came towards me with a baby boy same age-ish as Jules, in a front pack facing forward too. We stopped and giggled at our reflection. Kelly introduced herself and suggested I join the weekly mothers group that met at the local hospital-  a place where little ones could play and interact and where moms could chat.
I did.

The next few years were some of my fondest- I hold them close to my heart. This clan, this tribe of mothers had a huge impact on who I am today as a parent. I learned "strength in numbers".
It felt comforting and empowering - we were there for each other helping our growing families along the way- always someone to laugh with or lean on, baby sitting, play dates, birthday parties- a shoulder to cry on and always someone who was a year or two  ahead of you available for a little advise. So much fun - we were so close.
I get the whole "It takes a village".
Soon #2 arrived, Ms. Sophia, a beautiful a baby girl. It was easier, I was relaxed- life was perfect. Being a mom made me blossom- I found my calling, never had I experienced so much joy in raising my children. Nothing else mattered.
I came out of my shell and opened my heart.

Then....a fork in the road.
The teen years.

I folded like a cheap umbrella.

I am completely serious when I say this was never expected!
Trying to be brave....however "brave" is also polite for crazy!!!
Yes, Crazy.

Loved the filaments of routine we had as a family- but now I stood in a torrent of emotions. Sometimes ending my days in a blaze of tears. Where did my child go?
The sweet, fun, cuddly kid years made a quiet departure.

I yearned for the familiar days when Mr. Julian would have a tantrum on isle 5 in the local super market...or even having to nurse Sophia in a stall in the ladies restroom because it was not accepted in the restaurant we were dining in.
I was a pro at wiping noses, puke and diarrhea all in a beautiful symphony for days on end when flu season hit. With ruthless efficiency I would wash blankets, sheets, pillows, " woobies "all night long as they rolled in, drenched in stomach acid all while in a state of 24 hour gag mode.
All this.....E.A.S.Y

The teen years lie ahead a startling realization that this period was not to end any time soon- at this moment I had 4 children.
3 of them now who are teens.

Perplexed and  dumbfounded, but mostly baffled is how I feel most of the time.

Parenting teens is confusing, sometimes heart breaking and just plain hard. One minute I am awesome, the next minute lame.
Their mood swings are like a Montana Winter...Unavoidable, unpredictable and usually unpleasant.
How do I deal with these monsters...I mean angels?

"There are few situations that are more difficult to cope with than adolescent daughter or son during the time to liberate themselves"
- Anna Freud

Talking to a few of my friends that are in the same boat or ready to "board the boat" of pre teen years are also searching for answers, wondering how to "upgrade" their parenting skills as well. Not finding much support in groups or books...

Why does subject seem so mysterious?

Are we part of some secret society that no one wants to talk about- or are we all so exhausted as  parents, that we are too tired to pass on our experiences and good solid advise to the next batch of parents that is trying to navigate thru these stormy waters.

I love my kids and that's why I am willing to go the extra mile- I don't do " parenting- lite"- I want to be that rock they can swim to and grab onto when the waters get rough.

So.......worn out by self doubting my parenting skills, it finally gave way to curiosity. I started searching for answers and found a few blogs, books and news articles helpful with this phenomena.

 This is a fantastic article:
The Collateral damage of a teenager

Really put some perspective on how other parents feel and react to their new circumstances.

Here are few blogs that I am currently reading, that are insightful, for anyone who is interested.

1. Motherlode
2. Parentfurther
3. Jen Hatmaker

They offer some ammo and also very uplifting for parents.
Happily I found that a few of these blogs recommend books which I have ordered at the library-

This Is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today
This is ridiculous, this is amazing : parenthood in 71 lists
Got teens? : the doctor moms' guide to sexuality, social media and other adolescent realities
Good enough is the new perfect : finding happiness and success in modern motherhood
The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity
When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be
Boundaries with teens : when to say yes, how to say no

I have not read these yet- but they will be in my summer reading arsenal-hoping for some helpful information.

Feeling the sting right now and aware that it takes time to get used to this new chaos of emotions and period of life they are in...I am learning how to live out the storm.
Baby steps.
The times we laugh, love and are together as a family (usually on vacation these days) are so precious...I just want to filter in a little bit more of that beautiful light in our lives.

This is my journey and I will encounter bumps in the road and surely stumble, cry at times and be humbled. But also in this wilderness there will be way finding where I seek courage, calm and confidence and hopefully find some answers.

...and one day I am hopeful I will bloom again.

*To all you parents of teens that feel lost and bewildered- I wish you peace and love on your journey
this is a hard time but as they say...this too shall pass, cross my fingers.



  1. My dear Camilla, please know that where you are now there are others of us who have been there and survived.
    I think one of the most important things you said is you don't do parenting lite, and that to me is the key, neither do I.
    I was and still am very involved in my babies lives and they know just how deeply I love them, they are my life.
    I don't have all the answers, but I do know that you can do this and it will be the most rewarding accomplishment of your life! Hugs from one mama to another!

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words Tracey, it means a lot to me coming from you, especially since you have walked this path before me.

  2. hang in there for the bumpy ride! I loved the teen years but I was lucky that both children are loners and do not cling to peers like most. I still had the talking back and challenging rules but I was fine with that. My advice is to respect them as the people they are who will be. My daughter is NOTHING like me and I have to stop, breathe, and be open to the possibility my way isn't the right and only way (even though I think it is....).

    Teen years are wonderful, they are stretching out becoming adults yet need a soft place to land when they are scared or insecure. Oh and another idea, every time they were mouthy I would pause and think "thank goodness they speak their mind, they will never be taken advantage of in life"...it sort of helps :)

    1. Great advise Karen, my kids too are so different from each other and me...and that is what I love about them too....
      Thank you mama :)

  3. there are challenges at every phase of motherhood (even now, when they are grown with families of their own.....my job is to worry/my challenge is to NOT butt in!!!).....I remember seeing something in a JAMA of all places when my two were teens....there were 3 paintings, depicting the phases of life. I only remember the one representing "TEEN"....it was a crazy Jackson Pollack!!! How appropriate! You're right on when you reject the parenting-lite approach. :)

  4. I have no advice to offer, just know I am thinking of you as you move through this time. And also know I will be looking to you for advice when I get to this point. Having so many mothers who have walked the teenage years before me will be a huge blessing. xo

  5. I am just entering this phase with my first of three boys. He is fourteen, soon to be fifteen, entering high school this fall. It has been so heartbreaking to feel him pull away knowing I can no longer protect him in the same ways as when he was small. I have actually felt a grieving process happening for the boy he used to be but at the same time completely mesmerized by this beautiful man he is becoming and knowing he needs, actually requires, this space to grow. I am so new to this but it sounds like you are an amazing mother and that you have fully prepared your children for the world that awaits them. There is so much love and hope in your words. XO

    1. So good to hear from you Chrissy...sounds like we are in the same boat- I feel for you and I know all to well what you are going thru, the grieving, yes. We must battle on- chin up, we can do this.

  6. I have two girls and I can't imagine them pulling away or not "needing" me. But surely, they will in some way.
    I was a terrible teen, difficult, got in a lot of trouble. I hope I can somehow steer my girls away from the dangers I got into...

    We do what we can as parents. And then some of it is out of our control. I'm sure it's all just a phase and kids who have been parented with love and respect and healthy boundaries have that within them as they travel through those teen years. I'll come looking to you for guidance and advice some years down the road.


  7. oooh I've got this to come I know. You write so well I could picture it all your lovely and very real life xxx


Hello- thank you for stopping by :)