Motherhood: The Ultimate Rodeo

Oh, how I love this post from one of my new writers, Lisa. I am quick enough to know that the teenage years can be harder than the baby/toddler years for even the most devoted and balanced mothers. It’s a tough transition and I imagine it can bring up some painful “stuff” from our own teenage years as we witness our children go through this stage. I find Lisa’s insights so helpful and calming because I know I will have a 13 year old in the blink of an eye. -Stephanie 

rodeo mbl

What I’ve learned after 13 years of parenting… we’re not mothers. We’re bull riders. We’re hanging on. Moving through each moment with grace, a prayer and crossed fingers. Hoping we don’t get blood on our shirts.

We learn a few new techniques. Dig in. Lurch and lean to keep our balance. But we’re always adjusting. Tightening up on the reins. Giving them back. We can practice our theories. Implement systems. Guess what? Our kids don’t care. They have spirit. Chutzpah. Their own idea of what life should look like. Sometimes they’ll go with our flow. Sometimes they buck us off so hard we land bottoms up. Parenting is a willingness to look for glory in 8 second intervals.

My Girl Wonder is 13. The things that we talked about at 5 don’t hold her interest now. My infamous “look”? I may as well be throwing broccoli at a charging bear.

She’s no longer quick to curl up beside me and jabber away about all the whirling thoughts in her head. She says she needs more “alone time.”  Ha! Don’t we all.

Bedtime now means a hug, a pillow fluff and kiss good night. Car rides have become our bonding time. We troll the radio for good songs. We sing loudly. Singing somehow loosens her hold on herself and the words come drifting out. She’s taken up writing. And that teenaged girl heart (Do you remember those days? The angst. The drama. Feelings made of glass.) comes swooshing out amidst her tale of knights and vampires. Her sassy, tough main character becomes a secret passage for conversations about school, dreams, boys, her sense of self.

Her world is bigger. It’s supposed to be. My job is to make sure she’s ready for lots of wide open space. I have to be the one to saddle up, hang on and get her there.

My best parenting advice: Get some chaps that make your butt look good. Polish your boots. Hold on and enjoy the ride. Hopefully nothing will break when you’re bucked off.

How’s your rodeo going? Are you the goofy clown? Riding a pretty bucking bronco? Or strapped on to an ornary bull?



P.S. That girlio up there… she may look like a harmless pony  but on the inside she’s part Brahma bull. Which I kinda dig.

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  • Marilynn Mollica
    June 25, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Loved this article…! Could totally picture and identify with the image described! Perfect metaphor for parenting a teenager – or just plain parenting. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Thanks for reading and so glad you liked it Marilynn! Parenting and taming angry bulls have a lot in common some days but nothing that can’t be handle with a good pair of chaps

  • Mrs. L
    June 25, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    oh boy my husband would love if I got a pair of chaps 😉 great article! I have a boy (a boy who is painfully gorgeous) as I am told quite often by strangers will be trouble when he’s older, here’s hoping my rodeo is a little less holding on for dear life than if I had a girl.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM

      Chaps are a win win I think 🙂 Here’s to you holding on securely and rocking the chaps while you do it! I’ve always wondered if teenaged years were a bit more calm for boys than girls. Thanks so much for reading!

  • Ana Williams
    June 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    I raised a boy and it was quite a trip….Sounds like raising a girl is just as hard. I loved your descriptions…when I look back on it now I can’t imagine how I did it and now I have a wonderful grown son, who has his own family and guess what? He is raising 2 little girls!!!!!! Life is good.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      You did it because you, dear Ana, are Da Bomb Diggity! As for him having to raise 2 girls… I believe that is called payback for everything he may have tortured you with in his youth. Life is super good! So glad you came by Ana. I’ve missed our emails.

  • Steve
    June 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Good Write, I barely get to see my 14 year old. I keep hoping he’ll understand that mom got him in the divorce. My rodeo with him is to remind him i exist…

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 25, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      Divorce is hard. Especially for kids. But riding the rodeo so he’ll remember you – that’s worthy of a gold medal ginormous belt buckle. He’s a lucky kid to have a Dad who loves him so much.

  • Amy
    June 25, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    “I may as well be throwing broccoli at a charging bear.” HA!!! As a parent who swore she wouldn’t make her kids live in fear of making a mistake (and as a result does NOT inspire even the most useful bit of fear in said children), this is exactly how much response my own Mother Look inspires in my independent, sassy brood. The rapidly approaching onset of adolescence scares the ever-living bejeezus out of me…as I wait for the inevitable time my cuddling sweeties don’t like me much any more. Not quite sure how I’m going to deal with it, but your post gives me hope that there will be some joyous moments in that rollercoaster ride!
    By the way…could you please recommend a chaps supplier that can make the…ahem….well-insulated butt look good? (those DO exist, right?)
    Rock on, Franny!

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      So far I’ve had blood and joy. I still have all my teeth so I’m taking that as a good sign. Sassy broods are more fun when you’re at the rodeo! I think chaps are good for every butt 🙂 Seriously, people are just gonna say “wow, she’s wearing chaps”.. that alone gets you bonus points. Plus, you can always strap on a six shooter and no matter how the back 40 looks no one will dare say a thing. Chaps are empowering!

  • Tiffany Gillen
    June 26, 2012 at 12:08 AM


    Great article – Cameron is 6 so this made me a little sad thinking of her not cuddling up as easy in 7 years (or maybe less!). I think tonight when I put her to bed and she wants me to lay with her til she falls asleep I’ll have a smile on my face.

    Great job!

    Tiffany Gillen

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 26, 2012 at 2:00 AM

      Soak up the cuddles. They still cuddle when they get older – no matter how old we get we still sometimes need our Mamma.

  • Angela
    June 26, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I’m with Amy! I am scared to death .. and the tween years are right around corner for me and my sassy 9 year old. I need to start reading parenting books again so I’ll know how to hang on and how to fall. And how to wear chaps.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 26, 2012 at 4:13 AM

      Sometimes I think the best way to learn how to fall is by falling 🙂 And the best way to wear chaps – just strap those babies on and start a-swaggerin’. Thanks so much for coming by to read.

  • ashley
    June 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    What a great post! Love the image it gives.
    People say to me all the time, “oh hes gonna break some hearts when he gets older”…my response is a chuckle with a “if he makes it there” comment. He is sure to give us a run for our money. I’ll remember your words when we are holding on for dear life 🙂

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 27, 2012 at 1:30 AM

      As a child who gave her parents “a run for their money” – those can be the most fun to hold on to! Holding on is sometimes the only thing we can do. And if he makes it long enough to be a heart breaker, you can treat yourself to a spa day, eat a load of chocolate, give yourself a huge five and then take a veeery long nap. So glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Mater
    June 27, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    You’ve always been an accomplished rider! (And still look good in chaps!) I think the Girl Wonder is more responsive to your ‘reins’ than you realize. Keep singing in the car and dancing in the kitchen!

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 27, 2012 at 1:33 AM

      I know for sure you’re my mater cause only my madre would say I look good in chaps. Or a paper bag. Or nothing but aprons and tassles. Well, maybe not so much the apron. You taught me how to be a good rider, at least for the 2 legged variety of horse. We’ll be singing in the car all the way to FLA 🙂 I heart you mucho Mater dear. You’re an original cowgirl.

  • Joe B
    June 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Beautiful article. Generally, if teenager girls survive adolesence, they turn out to be much like their mothers. In this regard she is a very lucky girl. As you ride the course with her there will be days when you wonder whose child this can possibly be! Take heart…if you can keep her alive through this, she will turn out fine. She learned what she needs to know from you at about age five to seven…it’s in there somewhere.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      June 28, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      We might come out a bit battered and bruised but I know we’ll make it out alive. Hopefully I imparted some wise words during those early formative years. Every time she rolls her eyes or rallies back with a witty remark I have no doubt she is my daughter. Which is good but scary. I gave my mother a lot of grey hairs. Thank you for such kind and encouraging words.

  • Sarah Thomas
    June 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Lisa, you have the most wonderful way with words and your insight into human nature is infinite. I never learned how to wear chaps and got thrown a lot, but somehow the Lord always put a pillow under my butt. While we are well past the teenage years, I find that life still brings changes and challenges and I think I may have to go out and buy me some chaps. Whether you realize it or not, your daughter has absorbed that wonderful spirit that is her mother (and her grandmother Jerri). She could not have wished for better. Keep writing and inspiring all of us.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      July 2, 2012 at 3:49 AM

      Ms. Thomas, I’m so honored that you popped over here to visit. It means so much to me. Thank you for such wise and kind words.
      Everyone should have a good pair of chaps in their closet. And you’re spot on – the Lord does a good job of always putting pillows under our butts. Any spirit my daughter and I have we owe entirely to my fabulous mother.

  • helen
    July 1, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Wonderful insights! I raised a daughter after 2 sons and she was completely different than they were! Incredibly strong yet sensitive, “cool” yet so very aware…Parenting is the hardest job, but the most rewarding, I’ve ever had. You touch on the emotions and doubts every parent has. Super job. Please write again soon.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      July 2, 2012 at 3:52 AM

      And what a fine daughter (and sons) you raised :). I’m so glad you came by for a visit it means so much to me. Parenting is the longest job I have ever had! And by far my most favourite job ever.

  • Pat Russell
    July 1, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    How could girl wonder turn out to be anything but wonderful. She is being brought up by a wonderful, and very smart lady. By the way, your mother does not have any grey hairs.
    Great article.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      July 2, 2012 at 4:00 AM

      My mother has the hair of a 29 year old! And if she should happen to have any grey hairs she didn’t get ’em from me. Girl Wonder and I both have to credit our wonderfulness to an awesome set of parents / Nana & Pap-pap.

  • lucy s
    July 7, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    as a mother and grandmother you have entered what i call the stand back and watch and it can be painful. it can also be some of your best moments with your children.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz
      July 10, 2012 at 1:24 AM

      “Stand back and watch” – I love that expression Lucy. It is so true. We teach. Then we do have to stand back and watch and hope they have learned something. Thanks for the reminder that there are good moments in the middle of painful moments.