How to Survive Nine

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Back when it was just the two of us.

My adorable little boy is not so adorable anymore.

I feel terrible saying that. I feel like I should be telling you that he’s sweet and adorable and the best thing that ever happened to me. And he is, most of the time. But not this second. This second, he’s downstairs grumping, and stomping, and crying, and arguing.

Not with me. He’s not arguing with me, because I sent him away when he raised his voice, and it cracked in just the right place to make my heart break. Right now, he’s arguing with the universe, loudly, because he knows I can hear him and it’s his way to say what he wants without me shutting it down.

I’m putting my fingers in my ears and I’m fighting the urge to have a big ‘ole cry myself. I’m fighting the urge to stomp down there myself and argue right back. I won’t, because I am bigger than nine, and I am bigger than this fit, and I am the mother darn it and don’t you know one of us has to be in control?

It feels like we do this every day.

I tell him to do something and he whines. I tell him to try and he cries. I tell him to focus and he sits down on the ground without even trying. Every day, a fight. Every day, stubbornness. Every day, a lie. Every day, we are both a little more broken.

Is this nine?

Half of you will read this, and automatically declare me to be a bad mother, or him to be a bad child. Your child would NEVER yell at you. You wouldn’t ever walk away from your child if he was clearly in this much distress. You aren’t struggling this much. You know better. You think I should know better.

Well…. Here’s a cookie. You can stop reading now, and come back tomorrow when I am not as frustrated. Tomorrow we can talk.

For the rest of you, seriously…. is this nine? Is this what happens when hormones meet challenge and frustration? What about the laziness? Is that nine? Or is that just some sort of flaw in my parenting or his personality, or both? Does this last long?

I’m not really looking for advice. Not really. I’m looking for someone to understand. I’m looking for another parent to grab me by the shoulders and look me in the eye and tell me “you’re doing okay.” I need someone to say this won’t last forever, and just sit with me until tomorrow when he wants to bake cookies with me and we are all laughter and hugs and I forget nine.

I don’t need a lecture. I don’t want to hear what I am doing wrong. I don’t want to feel one more ounce of guilt than I currently feel.

Have you noticed that when kids hit their tweens and teens, the “mommy bloggers” drop off the internet?

I get it, I really do. Everyone loves crafts, and adorable toddlers in sparkly shoes, and preschoolers who make jokes. No one loves the whiny, cranky, hard parts. Everyone stops blogging because no one wants to talk about fighting and lying and how no one really knows what they are doing.

But… here I am.

Here I am with my nine-year-old who is almost 10, full of all the emotions that he doesn’t know how to feel, and the math problems he knows how to do, but can’t even start. I’m here with my child who lied and told me he did all of his discussion board posts for that really expensive online class, but didn’t, because he was playing Minecraft instead of reading. I’m here with my nine-year-old who thinks I am too mean, this is too hard, and I am “never going to be fun again!”

I’m here, broken hearted and humbled because I don’t really know what I am doing.

I’m here.

And we are going to survive nine.

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  1. We are having these exact days everyday, it’s exhausting. Yesterday I did cry and I am seriously doubting myself. I am thankful for your post today,

  2. Wow! You must have been spying on my son and I. This too is what it is like day after day for me. Some days I just want to run and hide from him.

  3. I remember thinking that terrible “ick” stage of tween boys was never ever going to end. I’m not sure exactly when it did, but I recently looked at my fourteen year old and thought, “Hey. He’s a pretty cool kid to have around.” Hang in there!

  4. Oh Heather, I’m right there with you, but surviving 7! My daughter sounds exactly like your son. So many times I send her to her room if she wants to be loud, and so many times I’m ready to break down when she cries like a banshee over hearing no or whatever. We will get through these stages. Keep calm and think about all the positive moments. Hugs!!

  5. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this phase. I’ve been going through this for forever myself, it seems. Having an 11 year old, who hasn’t finished the phase yet, and an almost 10 year old who’s starting. I know the feeling of trying to be in control when you feel anything but. The only thing I can think about is … someday …. someday it’ll all be over and I’ll have my fun kids back; Didn’t happen today, maybe tomorrow? I’m hopefull. You should be too, he’ll come back

    1. THANK YOU! I know reasonably, some day, this stage will end. But it’s been a long year, and no end in sight. It helps for me to remember that I’m trying to raise a man. I need to keep going, and do my best, and hope that one day, he learns from all of this and grows up to be a happy, hardworking, productive man. Preferably, one who loves his Momma and doesn’t live on the therapist’s couch.

      Hang in there, Leslie. We’re going to make it.

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