I'm the mom of two teenage girls, and just like no one can ever tell you what being a mom is actually like, no one can adequately explain what it's like to raise teenagers. It's a constant roller coaster of emotion while simultaneously being a tug of war between dependence and independence.
Every mom of a teenager I know thinks they're doing it wrong. We all have days where we think we just might not make it through another day with our teens.
I'm not really sure what God had in mind when he created the teenage years. Maybe it's a necessary and vital season for parents and kids to experience, but I'm not going to lie, it's a tough season. One minute my girls are sweet and loveable, the next they're pushing me away as fast as they can close the doors to their rooms.
One thing is for sure, there's never a dull moment when you're raising teenagers. So, today, I wanted to offer some encouragement for all us moms of teenagers. If I could sit down with each one of you reading this today and have a cup of coffee, here's what I would say.
You're doing a great job. God gave you the job to parent this specific teenager. He knew you would be perfect for the job. So, even in the moments when you feel like you're failing, remember that God called you to this job, and He has enough grace, patience and love to help you do it.
Your teenagers are listening. Even when you're speaking through the closed bathroom door, even when it seems like you're being tuned out, you're kids are listening. They hear you. Keep talking -- even when your teen isn't talking back.
It's OK to be exhausted. The only other time I remember being this tired as a mom is when I was physically hauling around two toddlers. Teenagers may not be physically exhausting, but they can take all the mental and emotional energy you have. And that's exhausting.
Store up the moments. There are days and seasons when your teens can get on your last nerve. But there are days and seasons where they are fun, smart and the life of the party. Store up those moments. These are the last precious few years you get with them under your roof. Make memories. Have fun.
Let the little stuff go. There are plenty of big things that you will butt heads with your teenagers about, so let the little stuff go. If they don't put their laundry away, that's their problem. They have to live in that room. Close the door and move on. Choose the battles you want to fight with your teenagers. They're more likely to listen that way, and you won't expend energy on things that don't really matter in the long run.
Let them know they're loved. Our kids are bombarded all day, every day with messages about how unworthy they are. Social media allows them to compare themselves to just about every other teenager on the planet. It tells them they're not smart enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough and simply not good enough. Take every opportunity to make sure your kids know they are loved. Leave notes on their desk. Tell them you love them before they leave for school. Text them during the day to let them know you love them. Overwhelm them with your love. It can never be too much.
It's OK to take a break. Parenting a teen is a full-time job that takes a ton of energy. Make time to refresh and restore your body and your soul. Take a few hours for yourself. It's OK to step away and focus on yourself or your marriage. It tells your kids that taking care of yourself is important. It makes you a better mom, a better wife, a better person.
Parenting teenagers is hard work. It can be fun, challenging and overwhelming -- all in the same day. It requires all of our wits and all of God's grace to raise these kids to adulthood. So, sip your coffee this morning, turn your kids over to a God who loves them more than you do, and be encouraged. You're not doing this alone, and if your kids know they are loved, then you're doing just fine.