Kids, Parenting

Parents who are one step ahead

I’ve been thinking recently how grateful I am to know quite a few parents who are a step or two ahead of where we are in the whole parenting journey.

Most of these people are more in the “acquaintance” camp, really. A bunch are fellow swim parents- people with older kids on the team. Or the boys’ friend’s parents, who also have an older child or two.

In the past week or so I’ve followed along on Facebook as several of these families have sent their oldest kids off to college. (sob) Not going to lie, my eyes welled up with actual tears when I flipped through one of their posts (and read the captions). Today another friend sends her oldest baby off to Minnesota for his freshman year of college.

We also know people with kids in drivers ed right now, and quite a few others who have kids entering high school for the first time.

I feel like I was generally fine with the little kid milestones- did okay with kindergarten and the first missing tooth and all of that. But these big scary ones feel like a different beast.

There is something very comforting about watching someone else do it first… ha. It’s like going back to when I was a kid, about to go swimming with my older sister, and saying, “You go in first. Let me know if it’s cold.” 😆 (Except now in our case, I actually have older kids than my sister does, so, this tactic no longer really works here. Darn it.)

As controversial as social media is, I do find it oddly reassuring though to be able to sort of “witness” some of these new life experiences, from the sidelines, first.

Same with reading blogs- I really enjoy following along with real people that have kids just a little ahead of me. (Admittedly, most bloggers I read have younger kids. But two that come to mind (and are newer to me) are The Frugal Girl (I enjoyed a post of hers not long ago about her daughter and DRIVING) and Lag Liv, whose son is entering 9th grade, just one year ahead of Ethan.)

Speaking of new experiences, a big development around here over the weekend is that Ethan just got hired for his first “real” job (not counting the brief farm stint earlier this summer)!! Meet your newest neighborhood McDonald’s worker:

On the way to his interview…

He was hired on the spot (I know this is surprising, in today’s labor shortage environment…hahaha). I think he was actually a little disappointed that he didn’t really get a single real interview question!! They mostly just asked how old he was (14), what was his availability and when could he start. LOL. Oh well. (Afterwards, he said, “I think I could have gone to the interview in my PJs and they still would have hired me….”. To which I replied, “THAT’S NOT THE POINT! You dress nice for an interview, always.”)

We read the McDonald’s handbook together Saturday night:

He has orientation tonight! It will be a very part-time job, just a few hours a week, and sounds very flexible. But he’s EXCITED to make consistent cash, and we are excited for him to start learning the life lessons that come from a) working for a living (and managing your own money/cash flow) b) dealing with the public, in customer service! and c) having a boss and work ethic expectations.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for my fellow “parent mentors”, even if they don’t always realize they are mentoring me. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Parents who are one step ahead”

  1. Wow! What an exciting milestone. I think kids have to be 15 here to start working, but maybe not?! I know my daughter (11) could take the babysitting course already. Yikes. The years really do fly in one sense and you’re right that these big milestones just appear out of nowhere and seem more daunting than losing a tooth or taking a first step.


  2. How exciting for Ethan! He looks so grown up in that photo! I would have loved to have had a job at his age. We lived in a teeny tiny town so there were no restaurants or fast food. My first job was teaching piano lessons in HS. I started my sophomore year and had 10 students for my junior and senior year!

    I also have the benefit of getting to watch others go through it, except pretty much EVERYONE had kids before me. Ha. My closest college friends mostly have late elementary to middle/HS students. And my siblings kids are much older, too. One nephew went to college this fall, and then 1/year will go off to college for the next 3 years! And then there’s me w/ toddlers and a PK in a totally totally different stage. I have a good blend of friends in the same stage (all Phil’s HS/college friends had kids around when we did) and people way beyond me!

    I have yet to get sad for a milestone but maybe I will be more emotional for the bigger milestones? I am sure sending Paul to college will be hard. My mom said it was hard for her first and last. I was #4 so she was a seasoned pro at it and was not the least bit emotional – plus she knew I was desperate to get out of our tiny hometown.


  3. i agree with you, regarding parenting I like to know what to expect, so I like to read parenting books of few years ahead to prepare mentally, and bloggers with older kids (like yours). i know regardless how prepared I am, it will be hard when Sofia leaves the nest but at least I know I’ll be fine and I can start preparing for how to fill the emptiness then.
    congrats to the real job. McDonald is such a fun place for kids to work, isn’t it? please share his experience.


  4. Congrats on Ethan’s first job. That will be a good experience and life lesson, I hope.
    Re: parenting, I think this is true for lots of things in life… at least for me, I was always very happy to see how my sister (actually two minutes younger, but so much braver than me growing up) handled a situation before attempting it myself…. roles switched when I came to the US for my exchange semester and had to do “first things” myself for the very first time 😉


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