There is always talk about how exhausted new moms are, and rightfully so, babies are demanding! Then you have the toddlers who never cease to move, all the while creating havoc along the way. As my littlest began moving through these stages, and my oldest grew farther and farther into the teens years, I thought my life would settle down, my schedule would become more empty, and my mind less crazed. I WAS WRONG.
I remember saying how much more free my schedule would be when my kids grew older. They wouldn’t need me to help them with all the daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, making food, etc. They wouldn’t have me reading to them every night, helping them brush their teeth, or tie their shoes, in fact, they could start helping me! While all of these things are true, there are new reasons that I have popped up to consume my time and energy!
Moms of Teens – They Are Exhausting Too!
Now I love my children, and I had them to be a part of my life, the center of my world in fact. But truth be told, I would like a little me time, a little hubby time, a little space to breathe and just be sometimes. I thought this would come with the children aging, I was definitely wrong.
Reasons Why Raising Teens is Exhausting (for me)
1. Why do they come alive at 10 pm?
I know I am not alone in this because I have talked with other parents of teens. My teen is suddenly my best friend and totally chatty at ten o’clock at night! By this time I am tired, I have barely had time to say 5 words to my husband and I just want to sleep, or sit and be a vegetable in front of the television. But alas in walks said teenager. The struggle is real: set night time boundaries and push her away, or embrace the openness and throw the rules out the window?
Truth be told we have tried to find a middle ground with this. We try to give her time to talk about her day, tell us stories, sit and relax and unwind, but within a reasonable amount of time. This usually amounts to about 30 minutes or so and ends with us kissing and hugging her goodnight, telling her that although we love her and love to hear about her day, it is time to call it a night so Mom and Dad can have a little peace.
2. Why so many activities?
Little league, recreational soccer, one dance or gymnastics class, that all seemed new and shiny and fun. But now we have 3 kids, each in multiple activities, all needing to be driven around. My husband and I leave the house at the same time each evening to drive in opposite directions to pick up kids who are finishing at the same time in different places. Or if the third has something going on then one has to sit after their activity and wait until their sibling has been picked up and one of us can get to them.
3. Do they need to be so moody?
And I thought childish temper tantrums were bad, but this teen angst is killing me! I never know what to expect. One moment they are happy and fine, and the next angry or crying! I tire of being the bad guy and having to nag or remind about chores, school work needing attention, etc. but someone has to keep them moving in the right direction! We work diligently here on Time Management, especially once middle school rolls around. The problem is that just because we give them the tools, doesn’t mean they are going to use them.
4. I only thought my schedule would have more free space.
Before my teen daughter started driving (and she got her license as soon as legally possible) I was driving her home from community college in the morning (my husband drove her there before work), and then a few hours later turning around and driving her to gymnastics where so both works and trains, and then picking her up from there late in the evening. This rigorous schedule left no time for me to take the other two on field trips, kept my out of the house during important schooling hours, and left me feeling run ragged…and this was only one child!
While getting her license has freed up time during my day, there are still things about her schedule that tie us down. Two things actually. The first thing is her work schedule. She can only take so much time off. Thus when we want to go on a family camping trip for the weekend, it is kind of hard to do when she has to work on Friday night and Saturday morning. The second thing that ties us down is the fact that she is taking classes at the local community college. It is kind of hard to take her out of college Chemistry, having her miss classes and labs, so we can take a two or three week vacation in the spring!
5. Giving them freedom is hard on my heart.
Letting them go out into the world, to a friend’s house, a concert, a local park, the mall, dinner, whatever the case may be…is hard. Trusting that you raised them right, and that they listened…is hard. Setting boundaries and curfews and waiting on them…is hard. I swear I am loosing hairs and going grey over letting my teen spread her wings! I have stressed and worried, paced and lost sleep. I have also been rewarded with a teen who has come home in one piece after making good choices.
So to all you moms of teens out there, know that you are not alone. Raising teens does take time, energy, and effort, just not in the same way that babies or toddlers do!