5 Guilty Confessions From a Mom of Teens
I was tired and cranky on the ride home. My daughter was drowning out the high-pitched squeal of the air conditioner fan by turning up the radio volume to max. My son asked a question I couldn’t hear over the noise and sighed heavily in disgust when I didn’t answer. And before there was even time to figure out that I’d missed something he said, my 16 year old gasped.
“WHAT! WHAT!” I screamed.
She had forgotten something she needed in her locker. Of course.
Even though I could almost see home in the distance, I turned the car around to drive the twenty minutes back to school. My knuckles grew whiter around the steering wheel as I worked to keep from being overwhelmed. I was doing relatively well until one of my other children yelled, “Wait–where are we going?”
This was the tipping point and I was D.O.N.E.
I lost it. And when I say “lost it,” I mean that I would have rivaled the best reality television drama on any station anywhere.
As the dust from Hydrogen Bomb Mom settled, I apologized and asked everyone for a little extra grace as we added another forty minutes to our drive home.
Reader, some days (like this day) raising teens just gets under my skin. It’s really, really hard work. Because I’m not the only one who feels this way (we’re all in this together, parents!) I wanted to share five guilty confessions of how I feel about my kids during these years.
Confession 1: I’m Usually Overwhelmed
One minute my teens and I are all laughing together, the very next a scowl crosses their face with disdain. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my 16-year-old with compassion think that she’s tearing up only to hear her say, “Mom, seriousl–you know I have allergies, right?”
Teens oscillate between responsible and flaky, confident and a puddle of insecurity, put-together and a mess. The moment I think I have a grasp on what’s going on, it changes. I wish there was a secret formula to really understanding teens, and I know there are a lot of books that claim they’ve found it. Not true. What I’m learning is that parenting teens is less about formula and more a willingness to ride with them on this ride called adolescence and love them even if they vomit on your lap from too much cotton candy mixed with a spinning ride of dizziness.
Confession 2: I Can’t Wait For Them To Get Their Confidence Back
Where are my babies who could conquer the world? They’re hidden under layers of insecurity. It manifests its ugly head differently in each of them, but it’s there. I wait with baited breath the moment I don’t have to answer to, “Mom, do you think I’m good enough?” (I feel like I get this question daily.)
My kids (as previously mentioned) are AH-MAY-ZING. But I’m impatient with them for not “getting” that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I’m daydreaming about future conversations when my kids will tell me they’re content with who they are. (We’ll get there!)
Confession 3: I’m Petrified About Their Future
John (my husband) and I were talking about babies the other day, and how we miss that age full of coos and giggles. He made this statement that resonated deeply with me. “Back when they were babies we had so many years ahead of us, but now there are so few.”
Within four short years all of our kids will have left the nest. My chest gets really tight when I think about them spreading their wings and becoming grown-ups. What if they only remember all of our mess-ups and don’t take any of the right lessons to heart? What if we didn’t do enough?
I pray a lot when these fears surface. I know that God is bigger, and that he will redeem them, but sometimes I’m afraid I just got it all wrong.
Confession 4: I’m Still Losing Brain Cells
I read somewhere once that when you have a newborn, the lack of sleep and changing hormones lower brain function. I would like to declare with bold certainty I’ve never gotten my full capacity back. And now that I’m raising teens, I feel this deficiency more than ever. Dear brain cells, will you ever come back?
Confession 5: It Bugs Me When We Judge Each Other As Parents
Every household has a different set of rules; we feel differently about social media use, television, movies, video games, dating age, when kids can miss school, clothes, extra-curricular activities, and the like. We all want what’s best for our kids, and we all think our way is the right way. We smile at each other and SAY we respect each others’ parenting styles, but what we’re really doing is comparing our parenting to each other. This can make us feel better or worse depending on how much we agree. I’m as guilty of this as any parent, but I’d love for it to stop. I need other parents on my team (and vice versa), not pointing fingers and judging.
Reader, I wish I could turn back the clock and get a few more moments to savor with my kids. No one told me how fast it was all going to go. I love my kids and can’t wait to see the adults they’ll become–I just wish I wasn’t watching them walk into their own lives quite yet.
Final confession: I wish my child that looks like a grown up could snuggle me as a toddler with their “bopple” just one more time. That’s really why these years are so hard–I’m excited for our children to become all we know they can be, but I wish they weren’t grown-ups quite so soon.
by Leneita Fix