Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I read a lot of parenting blogs. And books and magazines. Plus, I follow a ton of writer-moms on social media who have teen and preteen children, just like me.

So I’m feeling a little betrayed by all of you. Why didn’t anyone warn me?

Yesterday, my goofy, curly-headed baby boy slid over to me while I was doing dishes. And my little buddy looked me straight in the eye. OK, now friends, I stand a full 5 foot, 8 inches. My youngest child is barely 12. And he stood there, gazing at me, nose to nose.

It might not sound like much, but it took my breath away.

Even though we’ve been together 24/7 for months now, it still came as a surprise.

So let me warn the others out there . . .

One day your baby will stand as tall as you are. And you won’t be ready for it. Won’t even see it coming. Nope. Not even a little.

Sure, you’ll notice their pants are looking a bit short. The sleeves of their hoodie will creep up their forearms. You might even jolt at the voice of a much older person coming out of your precious kiddo. And yes, there’s body odor and acne and the fun reminders of puberty. Not to mention shoes that need replacing at an unfathomable rate.

RELATED: He’s a Boy For Just a Little While Longer

But nobody can really prepare you for the day your baby stands next to you, shoulder to shoulder, and you realize that in another heartbeat you’ll need to look up when you ask him to take out the garbage. And he’ll have to crouch down to give you a goodnight hug. 

My 15-year-old passed me up ages ago. And when he suddenly smashed that unforeseen goalpost, it was kind of cute and quirky. The first time I experienced this, it was almost like a novelty, having this giant-sized child hanging around the house, calling me “Mama.” 

But with the youngest, the baby of the family, it’s another story completely.

I still vividly remember how his big brother taught him how to crawl. How we cheered when he took his first steps. And, oh, how we celebrated when we no longer had to buy diapers. And that was followed by the sweetness of signing our final check for daycare. 

But this milestone seems more significant. And a whole lot more abrupt. 

When your child, your pre-teen, is suddenly bigger than you, there’s a subtle shift of power that nobody talks about. Even though I’m still the boss lady in charge, it’s a heck of a lot harder to scold someone who looks down on you. 

I suppose it’s a good reminder that he’s growing into a man and needs his independence and all that. But it’s also a slap in the face that before I know it, he’ll be asking to borrow my keys and applying for colleges, and man, oh, man, my mama heart isn’t close to ready for that.

So I will sigh dramatically and sling my arm around his thin shoulders, while he’ll still let me. I’ll ruffle his curls and force myself to remember this day when I can still look straight into his smiling eyes.

And I will try, with a lump in my throat, to make peace with what’s coming. 

At the same time, my sweet boy laughed at me for acting so surprised and making such a fuss.

“Mom, I’ve been right here, this whole time!” he said, squeezing my shoulder with reassurance that he’s still the same guy he was yesterday.

RELATED: He’s Right in Front of Me, But Sometimes I Miss My Son

But I swear, just yesterday he was a head shorter than me. And just before that, I could hoist him up on my hip and solve his biggest problems with a cuddle and some gummy bears. 

For as long as I can remember, my boys have jokingly called me “Big Mama.” But today, they commented on the sudden shift, too. 

And no one prepares you for the day you become “Little Mama.”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Jacqueline Miller

When not worrying about her teenagers, Jacqueline Miller is writing about them. Her recent work appears in, HuffPost and The Christian Science Monitor. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

“Your Son Growing Up Will Feel Like the Slowest Breakup You’ve Ever Known” Aches in Every Mother’s Heart

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son touch foreheads silhouette

“Why do they look so tall all of a sudden?” I asked my friend as we trailed her twin 8-year-old boys down a hallway recently.  “I know, right?” she sighed. “They don’t look like little boys anymore . . . I don’t know when that happened.” And, as they say, therein lies the rub: our babies grow up when we’re not looking and entirely without our consent.  Australian writer Mia Freedman gets it—a poignant post she recently wrote is going viral with moms all around the world. Freedman, who is the co-founder and content director of Mamamia Women’s Network, penned...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard To Let Go of the Little Boy I Used To Know

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy and teen collage

I was sitting in the car line yesterday like I have done 1,560 times before when a boy who I recognized walked by my car. It was 3 p.m. and school was out. This meant kids flooded out of the building and began zig-zagging through the rows of cars to find their ride home. I was about five cars back in the third row over. In this spot, I cannot see the group of kids who, by this point, have huddled in clusters at the bottom of the steps. I know they are there because I have the scene sketched...

Keep Reading

To My Son as He Becomes a Teen

In: Journal, Kids, Motherhood
To My Son as He Becomes a Teen

Here you are. Standing on the doorstep of teenage-ness. Brace yourself, buddy. They don’t refer to them as the years of angst for nothin’. There will be irrational emotions that arise in your heart and plummet into your gut without warning; there will be acne and body odor and other physiological weirdness; there will be jerks who transform into first-rate a-holes; there will be mild flirtations, booty shorts, and full-blown geeked-out immaturity; there will be self-consciousness and questionable judgement; there will be more important boundaries and more serious rules; there will be tons of mistakes, blunders, and epic flub-ups. But...

Keep Reading