Parenting Teens Gives Me INDIGESTION

Parenting Teens Gives Me (2)

As a single parent, I feel a HUGE responsibility to raise my kids well. I feel judged when I make mistakes, and spend sleepless nights just contemplating the horrors that could be. Both my kids are well into their teens and testing every parenting theory out there.
With each year comes a different challenge, and the teen years may be the most challenging yet.
Letting go and trusting my children so they can grow into functioning adults is causing me gastric distress. My stomach is in a constant knot of worry—mainly because I have NO control over what my kids are doing out there on their own. I like control and I don’t like the feeling of it slipping through my fingers.
When I warn my daughter about the dangers that lurk in the big, bad world, she brushes me off with, “Oh-ho, Mother, you have NO idea what I get up to.” WHAT? EXCUSE ME? Well, now I am imagining the absolute WORST things possible, and there is no doubt in my mind that she is selling toddlers into slavery and drinking the blood of Marilyn Manson.
If I’m not worrying about whether my teens are contracting STDs and experimenting with drugs, I’m groaning at my son’s jokes at my expense. I purchased a HUGE box of condoms—trying to be a proactive parent—and my son laughed and said, “Wow, look at that! Mom’s spending money on things she’s NEVER going to need anymore!” Thanks for that son . . . the cheeky grin and pat on the head you gave me does NOT make up for the fact that you will one day be getting more action than I could ever DREAM about. JERK! At least no one has been dipping into the box of prophylactics yet . . . should I be glad or worried?
And I’m definitely deluding myself into thinking I have the household under control. Every time I give my son a list of chores and ask if he has any questions, he responds with, “Yeah, could you explain to me in detail where babies come from? With pictures.” or “How come you have hairs growing out of your chin?” And I thought he was staring at me so intently because he really cared about what I was saying and wanted to make sure he understood my list of instructions thoroughly. I laugh but sneak off to the bathroom with a pair of tweezers. And the chores? Yeah, they get forgotten.
*Sigh* at least he is developing a sense of humour. When he is rich and famous he can pay for my therapist.
The bottle of TUMS on my bedside table is getting larger and larger, and my confidence as a parent is growing smaller. I hope desperately that the lessons I taught my children when they were young will help them make choices they will be proud of; all I can do is wait and see . . . and pop more antacids.
But, though my gut is wrenching, and my heart is sometimes on the verge of breaking, every second is worth it—every sarcastic remark, every eye roll, every worry line around my tired eyes.
As my teenagers struggle for their independence, I’m also learning and growing, and taking another step towards being an empty-nester who might be able to sleep at night, but will miss her little monsters. After all, who is going to alert me about my chin hairs?
I love being a mom and wouldn’t trade one single day with them—not even for a day with Robert Pattinson on a remote island in the Bahamas . . . hmm, well, perhaps that is going a bit far—I’m only human!
~ YOUR turn! How do you deal with the pressures of parenthood? What horrors keep you up at night? Comment below . . . and it had better be funny ‘cause laughter cures indigestion.

4 thoughts on “Parenting Teens Gives Me INDIGESTION

  1. Wow, it is so interesting to read about parenting teenagers. I feel so removed from it, being a parent of a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I’m so immersed in the baby years, always thinking it’s so hard and tiring, and then, boom! I read this, and things sound even more complicated as children get older. Well, on the bright side, it sounds like your kids have wonderful senses of humor (is that the correct plural there?), and that alone will take them far in life! I’m glad I stopped by :).

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    1. Thanks for you comments, Julia. I remember fondly the years when they were toddlers — every stage has its challenges. As parents we are always worrying about something; at your kids’ ages it’s concerns about crossing the road and choking on food. As a parent of teens, I worry about the choices they are making when I am not around. Mom worry = love.

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  2. Why, oh why are we mothers so hard on ourselves? It’s a cliche I know, but you need to take care of you! I admire you so much, just from the fact you are a single mother! It’s such a challenging job.
    I have 2 teenage daughters and had a argument with one of them yesterday, and realised afterwards that all through it the thought going through my head were, “I should be able to deal with this better. I’m behaving like an idiot. Everyone will think it’s my fault.” And on and on. Luckily, I use a process that means when I notice these thoughts I am able to let them go.

    Cate, I’m going to suggest you come over to my site and read some of the posts about self-compassion and inquiry (You’ll find them in the menu bar under “Mindfulness” and “Compassion.” These are tools that really helped me so much to let go of worry and I’m sure they’d help you too.

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