You know that top 5 most stressful things you will ever do in your lifetime list? The one that talks about marriage, divorce, death, birth and moving house (in no particular order!). Well I think its crap. There is one thing that I think trumps all of those, and that’s parenting teenagers.
Having a baby is truly stressful. Don’t get me wrong, labour, birth and the indescribable life change is unique to each person and the way in which you deal with things will be quite unique to you. There is usually a que of people wanting to congratulate you, have a cuddle, bring a nice gift and everyone wants to share their own experiences. Having a baby is a shared experience.
As a new mum or a mum of a baby you only have to look on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for thousands of pictures, blogs and videos from an army of mums all willing to tell you it’s normal, you’re not alone, be open about your mental health, ask for help oversharing is caring. The shared experience continues.
Skip forward a couple of years and by now you have your mum friends, maybe a village on social media and like many of us your own blog. This takes you through the terrible twos and the ‘Threenager’ phase. It’s all mums together in Soladaritea – you have fish fingers and beige tapas for tea pet, no pressure, we are all in it together! It’s ok to be a bit slummy and you are told to take time for yourself. Insta mums with toddlers admit to their bad days, but pretty much have their shit together, showing that mums do start to get their groove back. If you’re not one of them then that’s also ok, because we are all still mums in it together aren’t we? Sharing our toddler experiences.
First days at school, sports days, awards, assemblies, world book day, Kids playing in the snow, lazy days in front of the TV, family days out. You know what I am talking about – all shared. Mostly positive now, there isn’t as many parents sharing that they forgot non dress down day and sent their kids to school in full uniform ( I did that – Sorry Kids).
By time you get to the age where you have teenage kids the worlds different. By now there are not so many vlogs to watch, parents are less open about stress and anxiety caused by their kids. No one tells you to let them cry it out, you can’t wear your 14 year old in a sling and carry them round, the control is slowly slipping away, and I mean they hardly even come out of their rooms! It’s terrifying – both for you as a parent and them.
How do you carry on?
Well –just like that first smile at a few weeks old, after those sleepless nights, you now get a glimmer of a young adults values and their strength of character. It’s both the most terrifying but amazing experience at once. The conversations about the world and their views, watching them develop and push boundaries fills you with pride and hope for the future world.
But at times it’s also the loneliest place on earth.
No one talks about how difficult it can be with teenagers. When they aren’t excelling at school, when their mental health is suffering, when their actions affect you and you end up sick and in therapy. Was it my fault? Was there not enough boundaries, or maybe too many boundaries, or maybe I went back to work too soon, or maybe it was the divorce?
I know it’s difficult to talk about young adults, everyone is conscious of our young people’s privacy and the last thing you want to face, is the wrath of your teen because their mate read your blog post. But we need to help each other out, just like when we had a tiny totally dependent baby, because we are just as vulnerable.
So, Today! – National Teenagers day – 21st March – we are launching #Soladarateen (get it?). Use #Solidarateen and tag us (@shesaworkingmum) and lets remove the fear we all have that we have royally f**ked up!!
We are asking parents of teenagers to share your stories, share how you find parenting a teenager. Is your teenager great and you have no issues? Brilliant tell us your secret! Are they a nightmare? Tell us how you cope, and if you don’t cope let us know as we are here feeling the same.
Whatever you do today and from today onward, don’t think it’s all your fault, don’t think you are the only one (like I did) and don’t suffer on your own, you are not alone.
Apparently they do usually grow out of it!
Love Dani x
Other people who talk about parenting their teens, who you should check out are