I am so glad you’re here. I invite you to scoot up close and take a deep breath.
We are in this together. You know that right?
You know that there are millions of moms around the world loving, crying, yelling, hugging, encouraging, giving up, picking up, hurrying up, shutting up, hoping grades are up, and all around hoping they haven’t messed up those wonderfully, crazy, hormonal wonders we call our teens.
Because no one else quite understands how all those emotions can swirl around simultaneously in less than 24 hours, but I do.
I get it.
We get it. We understand. Moms of teens understand.
We’re a unique group that needs to band together, cheer other on, and encourage one another to be honest on this journey of ours, but instead, we’re quiet.
We keep this vast range of emotions to ourselves. Fear of judgement. Fear of being misunderstood.
We’re afraid to share about the real heart struggles because this parenting thing is harder than we imagined, with so many of their choices out of our control. We feel helpless at times and the mistakes our kids might be making have much more drastic consequences than a time out in the corner.
What happens when we admit all that and no one else understands or acknowledges? How do we know if we’re on the right track?
We long for the days when we were up all night with a baby who won’t sleep because at least we knew where they were. Now, we’re up all night because we have a teen who broke curfew or is at the prom or at a party and we pray they’re making wise choices.
One day our momma heart bursts with pride as we see glimpses of the amazing young adult they are becoming. We share long and reflective conversations about life, world views, and even witness remarkable critical thinking skills. We celebrate their accomplishment and watch these grandiose steps towards maturity and realize that this is finally their defining moment.
We feel they’ve finally rounded the corner and arrived, but the next day, they’re calling their friends into the bathroom to see how long of a log they’ve just laid. We stand back, dumbfounded, wondering how those two distinct dichotomies took place in one day. (I’m just saying. Boys will be boys, no matter what they age.)
So why aren’t more moms of teens sharing?
Why aren’t we talking about the intermingling of challenges that include both unspeakable joy and sorrow?
Here’s where I lay out my credentials to speak about this topic.
My undergraduate degree is in Christian Education with an emphasis in Psychology, focusing on the Junior and Senior High ages. For years, I worked as a Youth Director for teens and thought I knew everything there was to know about them…until I had them myself, or even more accurately, until our eldest turned 16 1/2. (Yes, he made the first three years pretty easy, as written about in one of my very first posts, until he decided to not make it so easy. ;))
So any previous “credentials” or classes on the subject of teens, just disregard because PHEW, there’s nothing those textbooks teach you.
Now I speak only from experience.
Life lessons learned through the nitty gritty, get down and dirty, grab hold of the heart of my child and never ever let go, kind of experience.
The kind of experience that says just because they can feed, clothe and even drive themselves, doesn’t mean they need you any less. This kind of experience says, “BUCKLE UP and get ready for a ride, because they need you now more than ever.” They need you at midnight when you are tucked in bed, exhausted, but they’ve gotten a second wind and are finally ready to talk.
The kind of experience that prays for them to fly and soar and impact their generation for good, but also the kind of experience that prays for failures to occur while still under our roof, so that when they do (and they will fail, repeatedly and you’ll survive), we are there to guide them, walk along side them and love them unconditionally through it.
The kind of experience that embraces the old adage, “This too shall pass.” but sometimes, you don’t want it to pass because the sweet and the sour mixture often creates the most amazing moments.
The kind of experience that says, YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY YOUR CHILDREN!!
No matter how much it feels that way, their successes and their failures do not determine your worth.
Listen up on this one!!
Their successes do not make you a better mom and their failures do not make you less than.
You have been given this child for a reason and you are the BEST MOM for that teen. Your value is not determined by what others think of you or even what you think of yourself. You have been uniquely chosen by God to mother this child and He does NOT make any mistakes.
Oh my, I’m reminding myself of this importance too, so we might need to pour ourselves some coffee.
I’ve been a mom of teens for nearly nine years, nine glorious, tiring, mystifying, exhilarating years. Yes, we had four teens in the house at the same time. Right now my husband and I have a 20, 19, 17, 15 and 11 year old, so I have 9 more years left of the teenage years and just typing that completely exhausts me. I’m exhausted, but I’m also incredibly fulfilled.
It’s an honor, a joy and a privilege to be a small part in molding, shaping and walking along side these amazing kids as they grow, make mistakes, learn from those challenges and begin to take flight.
To think we are raising the next generation of world changers causes me to pause. I reminded that these children are true gifts that we’ve been given to steward for a short time. Reality hits; that clock is ticking and the moments are rushing by quicker than I’d ever imagined.
While I wouldn’t wish these years away for anything; they are beautiful in so many ways, it’s more challenging and humbling than I ever thought possible, yet more fulfilling as well. Those three feelings just don’t tend to hit all on the same day.
Terrible Teen years? Never!! Terrible teen moments sprinkled here and there? Definitely.
These are all things that are important to talk about and there needs to be a safe space to hash out the more difficult topics. If the only moms of teens you’re hearing from are those whose child got a high score on the SAT and declaring it all over facebook, please know there are FAR more moms just hoping their child knows what the past tense of SAT really is and that they’re picking the underwear up off the floor.
Moms of Teens, remember, we are in this together, even if at times you feel so very alone with your struggles.
I can guarantee you when you’re feeling alone and unsure, navigating that dark alley blindfolded, there is a beautiful light at the end of that tunnel. In the midst of the exhaustion, just keep traipsing through because it’s going to be SO worth the sacrifice.
And I can’t wait to celebrate with you!!
Is any of this resonating? Do we need a place to talk?
Slowly, I’m warming up to the idea of spending more time tackling motherhood from a raising teen perspective because these years are so critical and believe it or not, also some of my favorite.
It’s a vulnerable place to be for all of us because, at least in our home, there are so many celebratory moments of growth and maturity, side by side with difficult ones. I’ve promised our kids that there’s nothing I would ever write or post about on social media that they aren’t comfortable with me sharing, so they’d have to sign off on topics.
While I’m still in the thick of raising teens for many more years, we do have two thriving in college, so I feel as if I’ve just jumped that first hurdle and can start writing about this a bit more.
But trust me, I know now that our parenting never stops because just when I closed the chapter on our eldest’s teen years and I thought everything was smooth sailing, I encountered a story so crazy, so hard to wrap my brain around that it’s quite clearly a reality TV show, so of course, I wrote the trilogy, I JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.
Trust me, you’ll want to read it!
(For more topics on parenting and motherhood, browse my 31 Days with a Mentor Mom series.)