It's funny how when you're young and the kids are young how differently you see things. When your oldest kid is under 10, it's very easy to control the environment, what they are exposed to etc. Generally they go with the flow of what the family is doing. At this time, you can't see the future and when you try to imagine it, well it looks just like now you think. I remember when someone said to me many years ago, wow, you run a tight ship! It will be interesting when they are all teenagers! I honestly thought, uh, it will look the same! Obviously how wrong I was, but what is so interesting to me now is how focused on the wrong things we are sometimes. For example, you're in the store and see a child who you think is way too old throwing a fit. You think, glad it's not me, my kids know better, I'm raising them right. You hear stories of families where kids are lying, cheating, stealing, drinking, smoking and having sex and think, oh my kids will know better, I'm raising them right. How about the kids that don't do well in school? Don't go to college? I remember talking to a friend and she was like oh college isn't an option of course my kids will go! How about when the phone rings, it's the principal and to your utter surprise and disappointment your kid was the one in trouble! What happened to I'm raising them right? Well I'm here to tell you, I am THAT mom. You know the one, who's kids aren't doing the "right" thing. The one where it's her kids throwing the fit. The one where it's her kid that bullied yours. The one where her kid stole from you. The one where it's her kid having sex. The one where it's her kid not following the house rules. Here's what you don't know. I'm the one who looks strong, but is dying inside in the same shock and horror of what their kid just did. The one who also wonders, where did I go wrong? What does everyone else know that I don't? Why is this happening to me? The one who doesn't let her disappointment show, but is the rock her kids need. The one who cries in the shower so no one can hear. The one who doesn't know what to do sometimes. You know what THAT mom needs? Kindness, compassion, support, hearing they are a good mom, that she has great kids who made a mistake. Why do we waste so much time focused and in fear on partying? Missing curfew? What we think our kids need to be doing? Isn't being a teenager the time to make mistakes and learn from them? Isn't it better to mess up but be young enough to turn it around, with the love and support from your family? Isn't character more important? Are you honest? Responsible? Kind? Supportive? Loving? Empathetic? Do you put others above yourself? Yep my kids can be loud, obnoxious, inappropriate but let me tell you, they love each other and their family. When someone is in need, they pull together and help. Whether it's simple things like digging a garden, or supporting their sister who just had a baby. The times I'm just spent, and they all chip in, clean the house, cook dinner and let me rest. All I know is when I step back and look, I have some pretty amazing kids and I'm lucky to be THAT mom.