Growing Pains: Twenty-Six Years Apart, But Growing Together


I celebrated my 30th birthday last year. Prior to the big day, I had some of the usual “HOLY S*** I’M TURNING 30!” freak-outs. Everyone talks about it, but I thought by 30 I would be done feeling growing pains. I certainly didn’t think I’d go through the same growing pains as my toddler son.

I didn’t feel the typical “what am I doing with my life” crisis; in fact, I’m very proud of my life:

  • I’m married to a loving man.
  • I work at a library and am a writer.
  • I’ve deepened my faith.
  • We finally bought a HOUSE!
  • And the cute cherries on top: our two handsome, energetic, and healthy children who give the best kisses (with another on the way!)

My dirty-30 drama was about me, the person–who have I become, and is that who I want to be for the rest of my life? This question caught me off guard and had me crying to my husband one day. He said wisely,

“It sounds like you have no confidence in yourself.”

I had not thought about it that way. I’m happy with my life, but that’s not the same as self-confidence. My newly found personal issues all boil down to self-doubt. I’m at a point in my life where I can either stand up for what I believe in, regardless of who may or not may not like me for that, or continue to be a social chameleon. I’m on the threshold of a new life-chapter.

My four-year-old son is going through the exact same problem. 

It’s important to note that my son was born the day after my 26th birthday. Needless to say, that was not a fun birthday for me, although I got the greatest gift. 

My birthday buddy and meLast year, his preschool teacher recommended he repeat the grade since he’s on the younger side. She said, “He could benefit from building his confidence.” Hearing–and realizing–his lack of self-esteem broke our hearts as his adoring parents.

All I wanted to do was sit my baby down, hold his little face in my hands, and tell him how perfectly amazing, strong, funny, and creative he is. Can’t he see that? He needs confidence if he wants any chance of becoming successful. And if he doesn’t start gaining confidence now he will inevitably become a drug addict and I’ll be the saddest and craziest mom in the world! Mmm…k…thanks!!

26 year blog 2

Thankfully, my husband talked me out of that last part.

In the midst of the emotional and mental stress, I realized I needed to take my own advice. 

My son and I are going through our growing pains together. He needs to see me be confident so that he can be confident. Children watch and mimic the grown-ups in their lives. It’s powerful to see mom and dad act as leaders–the kind who can handle different, perhaps stronger, personalities. I am determined to show my son that I’m comfortable with my quirks and convictions, and I know when and how to stand up for myself.

The only way I can help him is through example. I need to walk, talk, BE a confident woman and show him the beauty, strength, and necessity of self-acceptance.

I never thought that my 30th-birthday-life-crisis would mirror my toddler son’s growing pains. I’m grateful for this opportunity to grow together. And who better to grow with through this journey than someone who is so much a part of my body and heart, my own son.