Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

When your son turns 17, he will start researching the acceptance rate to NYU, Penn State, and Temple University. Tell him to focus on the now instead. He didn’t do so hot on The Great Gatsby exam, and he’s been getting lazy with his French vocab. Teach him worthwhile dreams are not easy to achieve and hard work is rarely glamorous.

Encourage his hopes. Don’t let him slack off. At this age there will be a myriad of distractions and grades may be the last thing on his mind. Keep on him. If he lets it slip, he may regret it in the future. Like his mom did.

When your son turns 17, do not even attempt to grasp polynomial synthetic division. Just hire a tutor. If you do grasp it, you’re a rockstar, and please call me so I can save money on the tutor.

When your son turns 17, he will begin to behave a little more logically, swapping out his goal of becoming a millionaire YouTuber to perhaps a career in cinematography. And then a week later to law enforcement. Then back again to cinematography. Don’t try to get him to pin down something definite just yet. It’s too stressful, and besides, the possibilities are endless. 

When your son turns 17, he will take longer than you do to get ready. It’s all about the hair. If it’s not perfect, expect to be waiting a while for him.

When your son turns 17, you will turn the house upside down looking for the birth certificate with the raised seal as you gather up six points of identification for his driver’s license road test. You will remind him to square his turns, come to a complete stop, and check his mirrors. You will pray he passes but also wish keeping him strapped in a booster seat for the rest of his life was a viable option. You may feel an overwhelming loss of control thinking about your child out on the road without you, facing decisions, and possibly danger. Sometimes you won’t be able to breathe. 

RELATED: Dear Son, My Heart’s Not Ready For You To Grow Up So Fast

When your son turns 17, he will try to convince you why his first car should be a 1996 Chevy Corvette coupe with 129,000 miles on it. Agree with him that rear-wheel drive vehicles are a blast to drive, but it’s best to save a speedy whip for when he has a few more miles under his belt. Like when he’s 40. 

When your son turns 17, he will feel the need to challenge you on everything. He doesn’t want to be viewed as a kid. You will have flashbacks to when he was two, trying to push your limits. But this time you can’t put him in time out. 

When your son turns 17, he will be one year away from registering to vote, and it might not be with the party you prefer.

He really is his own person, not an extension of you. Guide him, and continue to be a positive role model, but remember our children are not meant to be molded into who we want them to be. This can be a challenging concept to a mother, but also rewarding as you watch your son’s unique self flourish. 

When your son turns 17, do not tell him who to date even if you think the spunky girl with mile-long legs would be perfect for him. When they do start to date, keep your I knew it! to yourself. 

When your son turns 17, he will act fairly independent, solving problems on his own, navigating relationships, even cooking easy dishes for himself. He will not, however, be able to find his track uniform without you. Even if you leave it on top of his dresser and remind him 30 times it’s there. 

RELATED: He’s Almost a Man But My Son Still Needs Me

When your son turns 17, he will finally admit he kind of likes his younger brother. He will become fiercely loyal to him. Two years ago he couldn’t wait to race home to tell you if his brother got detention. Now, he will be his confidant. His guardian of secrets. This will overflow your heart with warmth as well as make you very curious. What are those two up to?

When your son turns 17, he will hug you again. Sometimes even in public. Don’t make a big deal about it even though you feel like throwing a My Son Hugs Me Again party. 

When your son turns 17, make sure he knows how to plunge a toilet, make a bank deposit, and do a load of laundry from beginning to end. Teach him to check for bald tires, properly wrap a gift, and use a separate cutting board for meat and vegetables. Make sure he knows condoms can’t be flushed. I know, I know, the thought of your baby having sex makes you wish it were possible to vacuum your brain, but we can’t be naive about this. We are too young to be grandmas, ladies. 

When your son turns 17, he will suddenly become very protective of you. This will especially ring true if you are a single mom. If you go on a date, he will want to know with whom, and if the guy wasn’t respectful, it will make your son mad. This will make you feel proud and oddly safe. 

When your son turns 17, he will not like rules.

He may rage against you with such indignation you will feel yourself buckling. Don’t. But pick your battles wisely or you will end up exhausted. 

When your son turns 17, do not ask him to make a mom and son TikTok video. He will say no. 

RELATED: Dear Precious Son, May I Have This Dance?

When your son turns 17, you will wish life had a pause button. You will remember when he was a tender infant curling into your arms, fists balled, and smelling of Dreft. Sometimes you will smile, recalling these memories, other times it will feel like there are stones in the pit of your stomach. You know there is no going back. Only forward. 

When your son turns 17, your heart will flood with gratefulness. How incredibly lucky you are to have this beautiful experienceto see him through each season of childhood. 

When your son turns 17, you will no longer love a boy, now you will love a man. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two teen sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog,

You’re Never Alone in the Trenches of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

This one goes out to all the mamas in the trenches. To the mamas in the kitchen stirring dinner with a baby on their hip. To the ones waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house to pump after waking up countless times throughout the night to attend to both your toddler and baby. The ones who must take care of business from lobbies, bathroom floors, lunch breaks, and the carpool line. To the mamas who pass on their own birthday presents so their kid’s medical bills can be covered. RELATED: This is the Sacrifice of Motherhood...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

A Strong Woman Does Not Always Feel Strong

In: Motherhood
Woman holding baby on beach, color photo

You feel weak, mama, but you are strong  We wear our strength in many forms, barely noticing the feats we accomplish daily.  The strength of a mom can be seen carrying grocery bags from the trunk to the house, upstairs and down again, with a baby strapped to her chest.  The strength of a mom is pushing two kids on swings next to each other while inwardly dealing with a recent miscarriage eating away at her heart. She holds back tears while picturing a newborn in a stroller nearby watching. And the hole deepens. Yet she carries on.  The strength...

Keep Reading

When You Feel Like You’re Failing, Know You’re Not Alone

In: Motherhood
Tired woman sitting in messy child's bedroom

Dear parent, you are going to fail. You are going to fail over and over again while parenting. I don’t care if you have nine children or one. I don’t care if you are a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or anything in between—you are going to fail. Over and over again. But the great thing about kids is God made them so resilient and forgiving, so He could show us grace on earth.  I have forgotten to send the paperwork to the school. I have forgotten about events and practices for the kids.  RELATED: I May Fail, But I’ll Go...

Keep Reading

Our Nanny Is a Special Part of Our Family

In: Motherhood
Family with nanny, color photo

The saying is “it takes a village,” and I didn’t know how true this would ring until I had children of my own. Within ours, I anticipated family, friends, the church, and various members of the community. What I never anticipated was the special role our nanny would fill within our family. As working moms, leaving our kids in someone else’s care is hard, no matter the circumstances. We wonder if they’ll miss us and whether their day will still feel full in spite of our absence.  Ever since we brought our nanny into the family, I’ve never had to...

Keep Reading

Maybe Motherhood Is a Chance to Begin Again

In: Motherhood

It’s a funny thing when you have your own children, only then do you start to see yourself in such a way that you’ve never seen before. Terrifying yet beautiful. Before you become a parent, you have this vision of how you swear you will parent. It may be an exact replica of how you were parented or may be completely different. The only guarantee is that you don’t actually know until you become a parent. Some days you hear yourself and you sound just like your mother, your father, your grandmother, your aunt, or anyone who was around long...

Keep Reading

Healing and a Horse Named Chadwick

In: Motherhood
Woman with horse, black-and-white photo

I am by no means a horsewoman. I am a regular person lucky enough to have had an extraordinary experience with a horse. My daughter asked to ride horses from the time she could talk. Having no horse experience myself, in the fall of 2019, I found a barn willing to give pony lessons to a small child. There was something waiting for me at the barn too . . . I just didn’t know it yet. I can’t remember when Chadwick started watching us from the fence. One day he was just there . . . and every day...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading