What is ‘Age Appropriate’ for my family may not be for yours.

When I think about the choice that I made to have a child I did not think about the possibility of twins. When I had my twins I did not think that eventually I would be raising them on my own. I do however, remember struggling with what people thought was age appropriate for conversations that came up when they were little.

When the twins were just over a year old we moved to WA state. Even after their father and I split, we were all still super close as a family. I decided to stay in WA with the twins after their dad had and I had separated. The twins dad eventually moved on to his new duty station and the girls and I were all alone with no family around us. I was struggling so hard with learning how to be a mom full time alone. Friends became so important to us that we started calling our friends our WORLD FAMILY.

It was around the time the girls started second grade that I had a fall out with a friend. I cried (in front of the girls) so hard in the car. I was so sad that this woman could be so mean to me but more, I was sad that I was so upset that I couldn’t keep it together in front of my kids. I was drowning in my own head in thoughts of  maternal inadequacy and just plain ‘ol low self esteem from my friend being a bitch. It was at that moment I was snotty and covered in embarrassment that one of the twins asked if I was ok? It was apparent that I was NOT ok and I realized that my daughters were trying to talk to me. It was the first time that I had cried in front of them like this and I was battling whether or not to shelter them from my shitty experience.

I had decided to park the car to talk with them. I was not going to let them think that I was crying over anything they, or anyone else they love, did. Once parked, I turned around and told them what was going on. I told them that my feelings were hurt because I was treated mean by a friend. I kept it real. I told them how I felt betrayed and lied to along with all the other regretful feelings that came with that encounter.  They unbuckled and hugged my neck, showering me in kisses. We talked about feelings, friends, family, and the importance of staying kind even after we are hurt.

When I listened to the twins about their opinions on what was going on. They told me that it really sucked to hear I was going through a falling out with a friend but to stay positive, not all my experiences are going to be like that and that they still love me the same. I realized that they HAVE been paying attention to what I tell them. They listen, watch and take what they want from what they see and apply it to their own lives. I decided to make every moment count in conversation, and in everyday life. I realized that I was raising two little people that will eventually share whatever values I decide to teach them…so I better make it good.

The twins are in 8th grade this year and we we still have our open dialog. Although, things are a bit different now that hormones are in play but we talk about that to. We talk about depression, teen suicide and friends that are having sex. We talk about smoking pot, how blow jobs are oral sex, STD’s and who’s going to be what for halloween. My level of openness with my children has left me open to plenty of criticism. All I have to say to that is, I totally remember when I was 14 and I do not remember my peers all being ‘G’ rated  which left me open for some very bad experiences.

How are you going to know anything is going on with your child if you don’t talk to them? YES it’s weird and YES it’s uncomfortable but I am raising twins that will eventually have the opportunity to be leaders and helpers of others. Honest communication is the way. I have an open door policy for my children because if I don’t someone else may open their door and not have my children’s best interest at heart.

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