Sitting in my van at 10 p.m. with the glare of a parking lot light in my eyes, my head kept nodding as I struggled to stay awake. My teenage daughter, not old enough to drive yet, had asked me to take her to a restaurant to meet her friends. “But Mom, pleeease do not come inside with me.” And even though it was late, and I was exhausted, and it was 25 minutes away, there I was. And so I sat in the parking lot wondering, Am I crazy? Are any other parents doing this? Will she even appreciate this?
When I was a mom of infants and toddlers, it was incredibly hard. But people seemed to recognize and talk about the challenges at every turn. Today, as a mom of teens, I’m dealing with challenges that are equally hard (and more emotionally charged), yet I don’t feel the support I had as a new mom. There’s so little encouragement for moms of teens. We’re older, busier, and in the groove of just doing what needs to get done. And so we end up in a parking lot at 10 p.m., feeling alone and unseen. If you’re nodding your head right now, then this is for you—19 times you were not alone in this stage of motherhood.Today, as a mom of teens, I’m dealing with challenges that are equally hard (and more emotionally charged), yet I don’t feel the support I had as a new mom. Click To Tweet
Moms of teens, you weren’t alone when you:
- Sat in the parking lot of the local teen hangout for 20 minutes, waiting for your child to come out, wondering if he’s OK and if you should go looking for him.
- Worried about the cold shoulder she gave you this morning before school and if you did something wrong.
- Wished phones never existed and wondered if your child is addicted to his.
- Debated if you should make her come out of her room because she’s been in there all day.
- Fretted about his diet—how many Little Debbie’s can one person eat? And what happened to regular mealtimes?
- Wondered if staying up that late is normal, and argued with her about a decent bedtime.
- Thought you’re being too strict.
- Thought you’re not being strict enough.
- Wondered if you should overlook his disaster of a bedroom.
- Met the new boyfriend and took a lot of deep breaths in order to keep smiling.
- Worried about your child’s grades and wondered if you should get more involved or let him handle it.
- Rehearsed how you will say things to her so you don’t come on too strong.
- Forgave, and forgave, and forgave, even when what he said to you is still ringing in your ears.
- Said “no” even when you knew she wouldn’t receive it well.
- Wondered, “Didn’t I teach him better than that?”
- Stayed up incredibly late talking even though you’re so tired, because this is when she wants to open up.
- Let him have that awful hairstyle because you know you have to pick your battles.
- Gazed longingly at the photos on the wall, showing a simpler child and time.
- Stood in shock as you got a random hug from your child, along with an “I love you” and a “thanks for being my mom.” You walked away thinking that maybe everything is actually OK.
Encouragement for Moms of Teens Who Truly Feel Alone
If you are really struggling to feel seen and understood in this phase, I want you to know that what’s helped me most is remembering that God sees me. He sees women who may feel like running away at times, who feel rejected, and who need support. I love the story of Hagar, the poor mother who ran away from her tough situation (Genesis 16). Even out in the middle of the desert, God met her there. He’ll meet you where you are, too.
What words of encouragement for moms of teens can you offer? How do you get the support you need?