Did you know that over 450,000 babies are born premature in the United States every year? And 15,000,000 worldwide. Because of their early arrivals preemies are more susceptible to a myriad health issues including apnea, PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis ) and RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome ). But technology and science continue to evolve. In fact, a preemie born today has a much greater chance at survival compared to only 10 years ago.  Keep checking back for more factoids.

Preteen Tornados


I don't necessarily think this is preemie related, but its parenting related and I think (I hope!) we can all appreciate or (at least) empathize.

While I tend to write a lot about those emotions that hit us right in the feels in terms of that preemie baby, I feel like we are no longer in the scared shitless in the NICU stage, now we are in the scared shitless preteen stage.  Those emotions are actually not too far apart.

Parenting sometimes sucks.  I know, there are people who don't have children and long for the stress (and joy, oh yes....the joy!)  that children provide.  I am not really talking to them.  I am talking to the moms and dads IN THE TRENCHES with children.  I don't believe for a minute that there are families out there who have sunshine and roses every damn day.  If they say they do, they are liars...or they are taking something to mask all the bullshit.  Seriously. (But, really, if you are one of those sunshine and roses people and you're not a liar, or high...can you throw me a bone with some tips on how YOU do it!?)

Why don't people talk about this!?  We can certainly talk to people about how much labor sucks (and seriously people, THIS needs to stop).  Labor lasts maybe a day...maybe two...three tops (yea, yea yea, we all know those few people who were in labor for a month).  Its not THAT bad (and seriously, once its over, its OVER.  You don't go through labor again until...well, until you get pregnant again.  And, truth serum, two of my 3 labors were really beautiful experiences).  I always stopped the people who wanted to tell me how bad it was....and then one day someone slipped out “it feels like you're pooping out a pumpkin!” (And this came from someone who doesn't even have children – she heard it from someone else!).  Yea...I tried to stop her.  But I heard it and there isn't enough brain bleach in the world to get that out of my head (and in all actuality, that's a pretty accurate description).

But, I digress.  Once you have these little humans – members of a militia that you created yourself – whether in your own uterus, your partner's uterus or someone else's – they are yours now.  Parenting, unlike labor, keeps smacking you in the face like a bad storm.  That's it.  Its like a bad storm sometimes.  Think of a tornado.  And if you have more than one child, its like several tornadoes.  Its exhausting.  I told my pre-teen child that it was exhausting being his mother.  Exhausting.  He has seen me cry because of his behavior more times in the last month than I care to admit.  I don't believe in masking this stuff.  If he does something that hurts me (hurts my heart.), then I fully believe that he should know.  Even when its not something that he directly does, it still hurts.  For example, he was a witness to a verbal and physical altercation at his school.  Its not a utopia.  We can wish and hope that it is, but its not.  He heard things that he has not heard before....”F-bombs,” all sorts of vulgar things that I am pretty sure if he HAS heard, it was on something he wasn't supposed to watch or listen to..on tv, radio or the dreaded interwebs, certainly not at home).  But this language...from a peer...shook him up.  And it shook me up (if you know me, I am not easily shocked.  Even though I may drop an occasional swear word, its is almost always out of earshot of my children, but any time I call “BS”on something, I always follow up with “BS stands for 'bologna sausage!'”).  With all the tornadoes going on in my life, this one rattled me a little more.  It was yet another storm.  Not only do I need to worry about his behavior and how he interacts with his peers and teachers, but now I have to worry about some other tornado running into ours.  We can manage our tornadoes (most of the time), but when someone else's BS travels into my lane, I get rattled.  Perhaps I need to get tougher skin.  I know, I know...I am early into this preteen thing. I have another one not too far behind and then (cue the Frankenstein music) we have our fearless daughter (who will be going through puberty after her brothers leave for college, I am my husband and I will be left to deal with that...alone...with no coverage from the others).  A co-worker of mine once said that “daughter's only go through a rough patch for 'a season'.”  And then later shared that the “season” she referred to is actually about 7 or 8 years!  Serenity Now!

But the boys.  The Boys!  Young men.  There is so much out about what to do when your daughter gets her period – before, during and after.  What about our boys?  They are tough.  There isn't a day that you can pin-point this puberty thing – ah, that's the day you got your man period.  Nope.  It’s a mystery.  A tornado that spins and turns and may be manageable and some days the wind hardly blows and other days it knocks you down.  This journey is so emotional and so exhausting.  We need to talk about the boys.  They are tough.  They are wonderful.  They are jackasses, but they are ours.  I am new to this preteen storm, but I am curious and I want to know more.  So, I will try to share that with you – or you can share it with me.  We need to figure this out together.  We need to shape these boys and keep them close and let them fail and let them fly. I don't think we are bad parents if we acknowledge that our kids are sometimes jackasses.  I think we are normal.  They are!  I am sure I was a jackass at this age.  Maybe my parents called it something else.

I think I can get a handle on eye rolling, sass, sighing (ohhh , the sighing!!), door slamming and parent notifications (will he ever stop talking in class!? This too is familiar as I know that my parents received the same information from my teachers 30-some-odd years ago – Thanks Karma!).  What I am not sure I am prepared for is how other jackasses will impact my own jackasses. So, if you have little ones, enjoy this time.  I know, we hear it all of the time and never believe it.  Why didn't I listen to the old ladies in the store when my kids were little!?  "Enjoy them while they're little.  It goes by so fast!"  It totally does.  In a few short years that jackass of mine will be in high school and then off to college and I will long for these days (will I!?). 

Life is stressful.  There's work, there's money, there's friends (and good god, women....if we only took time to support each other instead of tearing each other down – wouldn't that be lovely!?).  We need to take care of ourselves.  Take care of our relationships and those that we care about.  I think too about what the flight attendants tell us – put on your mask before helping someone we are with.  So, I vow to take better care of myself.  Meditate more, pray more, and yes, even get back to yoga.  I think I need a little Namaste in my life.

I am told by my editor that I don't manage stress well.  No shit.  I am working on it. 

So, find an to your partner, talk to your friends...find your Namaste (and hopefully its not ALWAYS at the bottom of a bottle of wine).  Share your tornado with others (and by share, I mean talk about it...not really bringing your tornado into their lives – stay in your lane!).  Lean on each other for support.  We NEED to.



Beth is the mom of 3 children. One preemie and two full termers. When she is not helping others through her Little Bear Foundation work, you can find her on the sidelines of a football field, basketball court, baseball field, soccer field or even an ice rink cheering on her amazing children.