Ever since we started homeschooling, I am always trying to keep my eye on the ball. I’ve had spreadsheets that showed me what my older son needed to accomplish each year so that he could take all the tests that he needs to take. I’ve had spreadsheets that showed me which cello competitions my younger son needed to go to each year so that he could get all the performance experience he needed to get.

And I’m always adjusting. Like I’ve had to adjust the cello competitions schedule to include piano competitions. This is hard for me, because he does not play piano as well as cello. But he enjoys playing piano so much, so I just go with it.

Which is to say, I try to accommodate the idea of not having a goal even if it’s hard for me. That’s a lot of what parenting teenagers is for any parent – it’s respecting the way they want to live their life even if it’s not how I live mine. And hoping nothing bad happens on Instagram. (I saw that coming, though. It’s in the teen section of every parenting guide.)

When kids are really young, what they need is so boring to us. And when my kids were young, I was surrounded by moms were sheep or shallow and had nothing in common with me except for the date their first child was born. But at this point in my life, I’ve surrounded myself with moms I like and respect. So for me, now, it’s very exciting to help each kid lead their best life because in that regard, parenting finally makes a big difference.