Yesterday afternoon I walked Daisy around to my friend Mrs C’s place. You see she was hosting a Sunday evening soiree and was hoping that Daise would help her polish her silver, do some chores, have a natter and just be a big girl visiting, without her little sister or Mum in the way. I told Daise she could walk home all by herself…it was literally around the corner but still…something she hadn’t done before.  After the hour was up I knew she would be home soon, I was nervy, I was! But then she walked down the driveway bursting with pride and independence and stories and thankfully a bag full of lemons for me.

This morning I got a text from my friend showing her walk off in the distance.

Goodness me. Tears were shed.

Little nervous shoulders up. Determination in the stride. This BIG KID. The sign says it all really.


Last week I read a beautiful post from my friend Ruth about kids growing up and it really struck a chord with me. As a family we are now coming out of the fog of raising small people. As in toddler small people, even though I have one feisty 4 year old on my hands who is keeping us all on our toes at the moment. But the little people stuff – the mess, the danger, the tantrums, the sleep issues, the eating issues all that stuff that is so all consuming with little people…is starting to lift a little.

I know we are coming into a pretty special time with our kids. The time before the teenage years of hormones and silence and everything else that comes with that – and the time after the bloody hard work that is raising small people. A few years where we can enjoy time together as a family (although I hope that never ends!). Do stuff that everyone will get something out of. Have fun. Enjoy each others company. Eat out and not worry about having to get it done in 23 minutes flat. Not worrying about running onto a road, or a water source. I can see where we have been, all we have done and where we are heading.

It’s exciting. And scary. I wrote about it just before Daisy started school and I feel the same way still. The growing up is hard work but the letting go is even harder isn’t it? Such a bittersweet time.

Do you have any tips on how to stop time?
Are you in the small children trenches?
Or in the dark side that is proper BIG kids? Adults even!


  1. Oh I tell you what, having a 10yr old is freaking AWESOME. So I’m well out of the small children trenches, but heading into the battlefield of puberty. Thankfully my girl’s handling it all like a champ, and is just a reading, drawing, pun machine made of independence and a bit of sass. Though I still panic a little every afternoon when she’s not home at precisely 3:45pm (she rides her bike to school now ALL BY HERSELF OH GOD). I don’t think that part will ever go away.

    It’s certainly worth all the tears and desolation and suffocating “Just let me drink my tea in silence damnit” when they’re suddenly not so child-like and are like… Whole people with opinions and ideas and goals.

  2. I have an adult and a teenager soon to be 16. I still watch them walk down the street with their bags on their back reminiscing and remembering the days I walked them to school. High school changes everything and now my eldest catches public transport into the city and back for college. I have big people and I am one of the proudest mother’s alive. Cherish each moment. V x

  3. My 6 yo boy is tres moody so I reckon I’ll be a pro by the time my 2 yo girl hits puberty. Honestly though if you have him on his own he’s a dream. But they rile each other up something shocking. I’m not quite ready to let him walk around the block on his own though. Think I need to find some ‘mature’ things for himto do.

  4. What a special experience for Daisy! It’s so cool for them when they get to do something grown up – but bloody scary for the parents who are waiting, waiting, waiting till they get home:) My girls are heading towards the teenage years now – Elly turns 13 this year and Mia the next. They’re pretty good at the moment, although I’ve definitely seen a little bit of hormonal behaviour and I’m sure there is much more to come. Elly started high school this year and she catches trains and trams to school. The first time we did it together on the weekend (the practice run), I wore my big sunglasses to hide my tears – my little girl is growing up. I would LOVE to know how to stop time because I enjoy them so much at this age. But them again, I’ve enjoyed them at every age so it’s only gonna get better (although I do secretly wish for just one day with them as babies – only one though) xo

  5. Archie Lane says

    How I loved this post and how I can relate. Our oldest is 17 our baby is 13 and there are two in the middle. Constantly I wish the sign would come up and say ‘stop’ now. Stop growing and moving in a direction I don’t want them to go. Despite having four teenagers now in our house I love it. Sure we have our moments, they are hormonal, but it is a wonderful milestone we are going through with them and we are all learning, us as parents are also learning. So many milestones along the way. The first ride to school on a bike, the first bus trip, the first solo shopping trip with friends – all a milestone for each of us. We have also made mistakes along the way and have learnt to alter our parenting style for each one of them. Our oldest daughter is our fire cracker, independent, feisty, gutsy, confident and yet compassionate and considerate. When you describe your Harper it reminds me of our Ava at the same age. Those traits of Harper’s will serve her well as she grows, albeit quite tough now.

    Despite the grunts, groans and teenage doings they make me burst with pride. I would not change the milestones for an instant. We are lucky enough to have four souls blessed to us and I make every moment with them count. We have had 8 pregnancies, four souls lived, 2 stillborn and 2 miscarriages. Blessed are we. And blessed is the lesson each soul has taught us. Children are truly a wonderful gift and I feel incredible blessed to have been given the opportunity to parent these amazing creatures and have them call me mum.

    Take the first time things as a sign. A sign you are doing things right. How brave of Daisy to have the confidence to walk home, how wonderful that you have instilled that confidence into her. Sometimes I believe it is the small things like this that signal we as parents are doing ok. We all want the stop sign to come on, but I am excited for what the future lays ahead. Even though I sit there somedays and think I am turning only 45 this year, my husband just turned 49 and we are going to have an adult in the house this December… did that happen?

  6. Beth what a gorgeous story. I got all emotional looking at that photo too and I don’t even know your little girl. Very sweet!

  7. Too true
    I have three girls 5,7,9
    And im petrified of teenage years, secondary school…. Not in a cotton wool way more like an old farmer with a shotgun way lol
    I think we have a rope and we slowly let the grip slide a little but so slowly we arent freaked out
    I can already see my youngest probably sticking up for the other two. She has grit and guts and kinda like shes already had a whiff at life.
    And its comforting haha hell – help
    I remember as a kid out of five
    I rode to school everyday from
    Prep(4km each way) burnt rubbish and did all farm n house chores and mum would come home from work with tea on stove ready to go and dad would come down from dairy… I let my kids cook BUT imagine solo with me at work n dad 200metres up a hill(my husband can be in next room n it may aswell be a planet away haha)gosh id eat my fingers with cold hard stress n fear!
    But really all the independance we were given as a kid i think the worst thing i did was burn off my sisters eyebrow bahahhahahahah thats all (comforting lol)lol ah life- its grand ay

  8. Amanda G says

    Such a lovely post, tear inducing!! We want them to grow up and be who we have helped guide them to be, but it’s sooooo bloody hard!!!! I have a little panic every now and then and on the other hand am so proud of who there are.

  9. Debbie Lee says

    Amen to that! We are in the small child trenches (2 years old), and although I love so much of it, and he really is at a precious age (aren’t they all), I’m looking forward to more sleep, please! I love your point about meals out too, we have only just graduated to actually being able to go out, but it is fast eating.

  10. I have wet eyes reading this! We are raising our small boys, 3 and 1 and know how precious everyday is. ‘We are so lucky’, in your words!

  11. What a lovely picture. that would make a beautiful portrait done up in oils or watercolor.

    Our boys are grown now (35 and 40), but I so enjoyed their teenage years. They stopped being louder and larger than life (ages 8-12) and developed a bit of subtlety and terrific senses of humor. I must say I was a sucker for teenage boys. Loved them and most of their friends..

    Not that I didn’t enjoy their childhood… I was just so surprised how soon they became little adult-like people. So don’t worry… you sound like a terrific mom, and I am sure you will enjoy your daughters’ teenage years too. There will be a different set of problems, but a different set of joys too!

  12. Beth, watch this Apple Christmas commercial that aired in 2013. It looks like the teenage boy is paying no attention to the family get-together, is bored to death with all this celebration, etc., and then look what he comes up with. Then there was another commercial later in the year with a teenage girl on vacation with her parents. The teens are more tuned in to the family than you think or they let on. This is the time where you have to “hang on to them and be patient.” No matter how far out they go, if you’ve provided a stable and loving home for them, they will come back.

    And it sounds like you’re doing that. Carry on, Mom!

    • Oh… should it be “Carry on, MUM?” Damn Yank here!

    • Oh I’ve seen this – it’s wonderful 🙂

    • Annie Maurer says

      Beautiful post Beth and words so true. Every stage is precious but we can’t always see it at the time. At the moment we are having a hard time with our middle child who is 19. He is struggling to find his place in the world and trying to be independent, which mostly results in pushing us away. It hurts! He is constantly locking horns with his Dad…..two males in the house….difficult!
      Letting go is sooooo hard……our babies will always be our babies, no matter their age….something they won’t understand until they have their own.
      I love your blog not just for what you write but also for some of the insightful comments that you attract. So I will take heart from Cyndy’s wise words… ‘Hang on to them and be patient’……and wait for my beautiful boy to come back!
      Thanks Beth and Cyndy

  13. That pride on their face that independence brings is pretty much my fave bit of parenting. So bitter sweet!! x

  14. A lovely post. I feel compelled to forward this to my husband as we are well and truly in the tricky small children phase with a 23 month old and 4 week old!! Your post is a lovely reminder after a tricky weekend of terrible twos that they do infact grow up far too quickly and we must enjoy every moment!!

  15. I think it’s so much easier when it’s a gradual thing. Baby steps all the way and it doesn’t tug at our hearts quite so much. Our baby is four so we have not long left behind the baby – toddler stage after twenty years! Our eldest is twenty and we have six in between. I never wanted any of them to move out ever . . .! By the way we have a Feb 2007 addition too and he seems so little to me.

  16. Lisa Mckenzie says

    It’s hard to let go but it all happens gradually so you just do it Beth ,enjoy these easier years cause when they get to highschool they do change,I find that girls are the worst,but they come back to you when they are ready mine are 23 and 25 enjoy every stage xx

  17. I am doing it all- teenager, tween, toddler ( is 1 a toddler?) & a new born. So far my experience is that the teenage years are THE WORST but still have their advantages- teenagers can be hilarious & you learn stuff from them & they are taller & stronger than you so they come in handy around the house when the husband is away working. Actually each age is draining & fun in equal measures, some things get easier & then something else gets harder but it’s all good! The biggest thing I’ve learnt having a mega gap between kids is time goes really really fast so soak them up while you can. Yes it’s hard when they need/want you for every single thing but it’s much much harder when they don’t want you for anything…

    • YES! this … “Yes it’s hard when they need/want you for every single thing but it’s much much harder when they don’t want you for anything…”

      My sister used to say “enjoy it whilst it lasts” and I tried, I really did but I was desperate for alone time, to do the groceries by myself was a joy! But now I feel like I dreamt the baby/toddler years, it seems so strange looking back and now I am soooo lonely doing the groceries by myself! I have to bribe one of them to come with me……. my 14yr old still asks me to tuck her in some nights though so I know “I’ve done good!” And I can still convince them all to sit and have a game of Banagrams or Scattergories with me.

      • Oh Brenda! Glad you can still get them to come along with you…love hearing that!

      • My biggest ( the 14 year old) never wants to do stuff with us anymore & we struggle with that. On one hand I get it, he’s got his own thing going on, but we miss the little kid he used to be. I’m like you & can still bribe the 11 yr old to get out & about with us but I know it wont be long until he’s saying no thanks too….

  18. Well done you! I really feel that most kids are too smothered these days (god i sound old!) and they need the opportunity to develop independence… but the letting go isn’t easy! I’m starting to give my almost 8 year old a bit more responsibilty… like going to the park nearby but out of our sight with his cousin for a short play yesterday… or running into our local shop to get milk while I wait in the car with his little brothers. Slowly but surely, life gets easier 🙂

  19. This is one post that makes me feel sentimental. I am the first to admit that I always longed for my children to grow up faster, even right from the start. I didn’t do well with the sleepless nights and my independence suddenly being taken away. I don’t know what I thought raising children was going to be like – maybe I was looking through rose tinted glasses. But as the haze lifted I discovered 2 wonderful personalities that I am so determined to nurture and learn with. I am going to take note of the many people around me who’s advice is simply to cherish every stage. Thanks for the post Beth, it reminds me of the importance of spending the time with my children.

    • Lisa I have to say I think I feel the same…it’s a wonderful thing to see that these ‘creatures’ that we deal with are actually these wonderful people with personalities. I can’t wait to see the grown ups they will become.

  20. Greats post Beth! Yup. We are in the trenches still. Our big two were just becoming human (now 5 & 6) when we had another, then 15 months later had number 4. The youngest 2 are now nearly 2 and 8 months old. Having been through this before (eldest 2 were also 15 months apart) I know that in 6 months time things will be easier and in 12 moths I won’t know myself!! It’s a balancing act-looking forward to life getting easier and taking the time to enjoy the now. 🙂

  21. Wow! You hit a raw nerve. Letting go is hard.
    My girl is 10 and she has Down syndrome so its even harder to let go!
    I went to pick her up from school the other day and she was no where to be seen!
    After 1/2 hr running around with about 10 other parents also looking, we got a call from my husband at his work. She had walked off to his work on her own, meaning she crossed two busy roads and through a car park to get there. And, no one from school had seen her at all!
    We don’t know what possessed her to do it but I think we will be getting more of these little bursts of independence.
    I am not ready!

  22. I am at both ends of the raising kids spectrum. One teenager, 2 in the middle and 3 yr olds, although I can start to see the light, and we are stating to move into the next stage where we just have “5kids”. I have one the same age as your Harper and he is called hurricane hunter, keeps me on my toes!!!

  23. Oh we are still there, 17 month old twin girls (well really 13.5 months corrected due to their extra early arrival), I dream of when everything is a little easier. More sleep. Eating slowly. Going out without ticking off massive list of stuff to take with us! But they are dear little things and the months seem to be disappearing, so I’m sure it’ll be here sooner than I think.

  24. What a beautiful shot.

    Deep, deep in the trenches with an almost 18mth old and anther due next month. Feel blessed and lucky (and tired and overworked and sore) but also looking forward to the days you’re having.

    I often envisage my house purged of dummies and nappies and wipes and sippy cups and bum cream and outlet covers. I know I’ll blink and it’ll happen though!

    • It will Maddy! The photo is beautiful isn’t it? I loved that it was captured when I wasn’t there but I got to see it anyway. Brings a tear to my eyes!

  25. What a lovely post (and I’m so glad you got your bag of lemons!) Those firsts just keep on coming and how wonderful to treasure them. I know exactly what you mean when you say you were nervy waiting for Daisy to get home. I feel that way every time our 19yo son goes ‘clubbing’ until ridiculous-o’clock. Sometimes I ask him to stay home just so I can get some sleep and occasionally he obliges me! I feel very lucky that he keeps in contact when he’s out and replies to my texts and even luckier that he has just started a new job that requires him to work most Saturday nights. I am thankful that we still have a 16yo daughter who likes to be tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour (which I’m sure will change in a few years…) Aaah this parenting gig is ever-changing isn’t it? You are so right – you are entering into a precious time with your kids, enjoy!

  26. That photo! I’m smack bang back in that baby stage, but I can see that joy with Lacey and how enjoyable it is. x

    P.S. Love this commenting system! Is it wordpress?

    • It is – I showed that DISQUS where it could stick it! I have been thinking of you in your very tired baby stage. Sending love x

  27. Another special post Beth. Is this not the most intriguing image and so lovely of Mrs C to take it, knowing it would set off a spark for you?!

  28. @Annie Maurer–been there, done that. Our 40-year-old son says, “I don’t know why you and Dad didn’t strangle me in my bed!” They do grow up, and they will remember that you hung on. It’s not easy now, but you will be glad later. Good luck!

  29. The hard part is definitely in the letting go. You have to trust that you’ve done the right things up until that point. x

  30. I am at the same stage Beth! It feels great to be emerging from the sleep deprivation and utter dependancy, but scary all at the same time. My big kids are 9 and 7 and I love watching their personalities and independence blossom. My heart beats a little quicker when they disappear around the block to take the dog for a walk by themselves or walk the extra 100 metres to the school gates on their own. Thanks for sharing – good times!

  31. Oh Sweets, that photo of Daisy brought a tear to my eye! I SO get it. I’m going through something this past few days. Teary, nostalgic. Realizing I’m in the entrance way to Empty Nest Syndrome & there is no way out. I know I have to go through it. I know it’s a privilege & honour to watch my beautiful two face the world on their own. But I can still see their 4 & 6 year old selves, smell them, hear them & feel them. I miss the minuiate of having primary school kids. But, I guess this is the period where I start to practice for the years ahead when I’m a grandmother. And I CANNOT wait! It’s a little scary being on the precipice alone. But instead of being too sad that I don’t have a partner to reconnect with, I’ll enjoy it on my own until maybe someone comes along who wants to share these years with me. But geez, they never quite prepare you for when the kids become young adults. My heart hurts & sings at the same time. Hugs to you xx

  32. Oh I’m on both sides of this, mum to a very mature 13 yr old – I cried on his first day of high school but truth be told it took me the last six months of last year to get my head around it, I’m also mum to a very spirited almost 3 yr old and currently preggo with número 3 🙂
    I found the letting go the hardest, not being around to protect him, but at the same time wanting to give him his space to spread his wings and become a man.

  33. Oh Beth – I feel this every single day. That photo of your sweet girl – it made me CRY! xx

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