The Joy of Raising Teens

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raising teensCan I be honest? Really honest? 

It’s a dirty little secret that oftentimes society tells us is a horrible experience.

Okay, here it is…

Raising teens is one of the most exhilarating experiences I have encountered! 

There, I said it! It’s not awful. It’s amazing!

It’s not something to fear, with white knuckles gripping the wheel and hating every moment until it’s over. Not at all.

It’s like any other part of life.

It comes with the easy days and the challenging days.

It comes with days billowing with laughter and days filled with harsh words and tears.

It comes with stable and steady emotions and days consumed with chaos swirling around.

I will be brutally honest with you though, it is difficult at times, but then I remember it’s a short snippet of time, and I have to muster up my energy and do what I need to do. I need to love them each day. 

Teens are human, not aliens coming to invade, as we are so often led to believe. 

Teens are delightfully full of energy, share lots of emerging opinions, and have a strong craving and desire for independence. 

Isn’t that amazing? 

But you want to know what I love most about teens?

They love hard and have an uncanny ability to find the fun in everything they do. And sometimes, this often stressed-out mom needs that reminder. I need their spirits to fill me up and remind me not to take life so seriously.

But friends, some days being a mom to teens is one of the most challenging experiences I have encountered, and I have found a lot of my stress is not about them but rather the thoughts in my own head.

It is hardIt gets messy. It hurts at times.

I question every word within the difficult conversations.

I wonder if there is an understanding during those times I have to reprimand. 

Have I made a positive impact? Or a negative imprint on their heart, especially during those disagreements?

Will they forgive?

Will they offer grace for my mistakes?

Do I open our home up enough to all of their friends? 

Is it a home filled with warmth?

Have I been a good model for them of what it means to be a mom who loves unconditionally?

These thoughts race through my mind but especially after disagreements, and I hate it! 

But you know what? Disagreements happen. Arguments often take over pleasant conversations, and feelings are hurt.

I find that the pain I too often feel is knowing there is a countdown…a countdown to them leaving our home.

The countdown sucks me dry, rips my energy away, and tears out a part of my confidence, spinning me around and around as if I’m on a Tilt-a-Whirl and can’t get off the ride.

But once I let these overwhelming thoughts settle and let my heart and mind slow down a bit, I’m reminded yet again how amazing raising a teen can be and not just the stress of it all.

As they kick off their shoes, I’m reminded, walking through the door, how blessed I am they are safe and back in my presence.

I’m reminded of how intelligent and curious they are, as they teach me something new.

I’m reminded of their energy and exuberance as they embark on their day, never stopping. 

From early morning to late at night, they persevere through their classes filled with rigor, after school clubs or activities, driving practice, studying for tests, and prepping for standardized college tests, all while attempting to squeeze in special moments with friends and my hope of some family time within all of that. 

Phew! It’s a lot! 

So, as I sit back and watch my teens grow into budding adults, facing their greatest fears and challenges while also sharing the love in their hearts, I feel blessed. Blessed to be a part of this evolving time in their lives.

So friends, don’t believe the rumors and rather hold on tight for an exhilarating and fun-loving ride raising teens…next stop…Tilt-a-Whirl! 

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Ali lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and her husband. After moving around a bit as a child, she spent her teen years in Westchester county, moved to NYC for college and returned to Westchester fifteen years ago. Prior to having the girls, she was an English teacher, and on the side always enjoyed writing with the hope to one day publish a poetry book. In her free time, Ali enjoys going on long runs, browsing independent bookstores, catching up with friends. She is in a constant state of doing laundry, cooking, policing arguments, driving to and from activities, and trying her best to be the kind of mom her girls will admire, even on her worst days. Ali is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart. You can follow Ali on Facebook at https:www.facebook.com/hangintheremama/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hang.in.there.mama