May 04, 2012

Of conventions and crap I don't wanna hear

Are y'all tiring of my homeschool-related musings?  Are you all, "Enough already with the namby pamby kumbayah crap! Get back to making fun of people and writing songs and poems about poop and idiots!"?

Well, too bad.  'Cause I'm finna break it down again, homeschool-style. 

I can't help it.  I'm fresh from a homeschool convention.  Nah, not a hippie unschooling convention.  Much as I'd like to go!  I've been drooling over a certain unschooling conference for 3 years now.  But alas, I'm too broke to attend.  The Rethinking Everything conference is all about freedom.  Only it costs $150 a person to go, including children. 

Which proves the point that freedom is, in fact, not free.

So Nature Boy and I attended a more affordable convention for the bargain price of $49.  (Tree Guy couldn't go because he has to work to bankroll us freeloaders.)  We both had a good time.  A lot of moms go to homeschool conventions for the curriculum booths.  They get discounts on next year's curriculum if they buy at a convention. 

I go for the beer.

(Just kidding.  Beer is gross.)

(Now, if they offered Lambrusco....)

On a serious tip, the real reason I go to homeschool conventions is the sessions.  Attending those classes takes me back to my nerdy 4.0-having school days.  I LEARN new stuff, and I get to TAKE NOTES!  (Wheeee!)  Sometimes a speaker really, er--speaks to me.  There were two women at this year's convention who opened my eyes/mind/heart.  I'll share about one of them today, and the other in a separate post.

One messenger I felt like shooting spoke about being the mother of teen boys.  She said there's a change a-coming, and we have to roll with it or get left in the dust.  When moms of adolescent boys cling to their itty bitty cutie-poos, what often happens is the opposite of what they intended. 

She said, "We can choose to try to hold on to what we cannot keep (the little boy), or we can embrace that which has to come (the man he is becoming)."  And she said that if we don't let go, we will either end up with a grown up little boy who forever needs his mommy, or a son with a hardened heart who continues to push us away.

And I was like, DANG!  I don't want to give up kisses and hugs and spontaneous hand-holding and hair-smoothing and snuggling on the couch and deep conversations.  I love that stuff.  I live for that stuff.  It makes me tear up just to type it.  To think that in a few short years, my boy will be pulling away.  To think that that's exactly what he is supposed to do! 

How do moms survive the heartbreak of the teenage boy?  Of snubs.  Of avoiding kisses and hugs.  Of suddenly being embarrassed to be seen with mom.  You know, the woman who gave you life and changed your poopy diapers and let you in her bed when you had a nightmare and stayed up with you all night when you were sick and wipes all your tears away and is your biggest fan and would die for you!  (Ugh, tears again.)

Yet, according to this speaker, letting go is necessary.  It's essential to let our adolescent boys take the lead in determining the amount of closeness and affection and sharing.  If we desire a close and loving relationship with our grown sons, we have to accept (endure!) the inevitable separation from us that is part of becoming a man.   

And that sucks!

But it's probably true.

Which does not make it suck any less. 

Have you gone through the teen years with your son and lived to tell the tale?  If so, please share!



  1. I haven't lived through teenage boys...or baby boys...or any boys. So, here's my expert opinion (;

    Because I had such shite teen years, I'm trying to figure out exactly what went wrong. What I can do differently as a parent so that my kids don't replicate what went on in my life. To this end, I've done a lot of watching and listening to families I've known over the years, homeschooling families I know now with burgeoning teens and talking with adults about their now passed adolescent years with their own parents. Here is a random list of musings and observations:

    teens who have parents that are "handsoff" have teens that make bad choices left and right

    those parents who are "handsoff" with their teens were usually "handsoff" little kid parents, i.e. they provided for all the obvious needs of baths, food, handsheld for safety etc. etc. But they didn't really engage with their kids as persons of their own. So once the business of little kid safety and need was passed, so did all of their "parenting." with the idea that the teenagers didn't "need" them anymore, the parents don't parent anymore.

    The teens taht I've seen who are close to their parents are close to their parents because they have had a real relationship all their lives. ...and this is just a continuation into their teen years. I know my husband always liked his parents, respected the people they were, etc. all through his teen years. These kinds of families were totally foreign to me. I was more of a "modern" mind that parents need to get out of the way and let me live my life independently, solely and without any connection whatsoever to them. But my mom was of the mind that "teenagers need their space", "need to figure out life" etc. etc.

    I spend a lot of time building a foundation of ideals, character traits, values and the like in Grace and Dinah now, as little-uns. I hope that now, and esepcially as free ranging teens, that they'll have that foundation to go to and figure out how to do life without me. And when they can't figure it out without me, that they'll come to me for more sage wisdom (;

    Some of my friends and frequent acquaintances have teens. It's an interesting juxtaposition between those families (children included) who are of the belief that teens are "naturally" surly, standoffish, pouty and prone to making really bad decisions and those families (children included) who are of the belief that teens are still part of a family and still part of a civilized society, i.e. still expected to treat people courteously, including their parents, and to make well grounded decisions. AND that the parents are still there, present and available, to help them figure it out. The difference in the families and the teens has definitely changed my unconscious belief that teens are "just that way."

    I don't think that it's "natural" and, thus, inevitable, that teenagers, boys or girls, will throw their parents under the bus. I did and I've seen it happen. But I did have teen friends then who didn't and I observe a copule now who still connect with their parents as loving, bedrock, foundational and approachable parents. From what we read about you and nature boy, it's not inevitable that he'll cut you out like a tumour (; I'm sure he won't want you all hangin' on him and kissin' on him at the mall, but I suspect he will want to talk to you about real things and watch a good movie, too.

    1. Wisdom, fo' sho'.

      But I don't think the speaker meant that moms should back off on the parenting. She was focused more on moms' tendencies to continue to baby their big boys, and to expect that all the cuddling and sweet admiration that characterized their relationship with their little boys will continue forever. I think her point was that as boys become men, the relationship changes. And that if stand in the way of that, we risk hurting the relationship.

      At least, that's what I took from it. I was slack-jawed from shock at the time, so I might have missed a few things. :D

      I agree, though, that good behavior and respect and all that comes from having a good relationship with our kids. Not from an insistence on respect because we are older or the boss of them or whatever. That last bit may bring obedience--when we're around to dish out consequences!--but it doesn't build the foundation that helps kids make good decisions when Mom and Dad aren't there. It's all about relationship.

      I smell another post coming on! :D

  2. Say it isn't true. I teared up reading this. I live for this stuff too.

    I did LOL about the taking notes part. That is sooo like me.

    1. I think it's probably even more tender for us, because we're moms of onlies! I treasure the time and the relationship I have with my son, as I know you do with yours. I pray that we are able to continue that bond with our sons, even if it means we can't smooth their hair in public anymore...