I became a mother for the first time at age 32. I don't know if you are every truly 100 percent ready to become a mother, but I was as ready as I'd ever be. I'd read all the parenting books and blogs I could find and I'd successfully been a mom to a slightly neurotic mutt. Surely I was ready for motherhood, right? Of course, no one can truly prepare you for parenting. It's definitely a learn as you do trial and error venture. Now my girls are both in middle school and I'm finding that each stage of parenting holds new surprises. No parenting book or website or family pet can ever fully prepare you for the journey of motherhood because every child is wonderfully unique.
My older daughter will be in high school this fall and I'm suddenly remembering all those times my own mother said, and usually in reaction to some totally unreasonable behavior on my part, "just wait until you are a mother."
High school, hormones and homework can stress a mom out. If you're going to survive this journey called motherhood, however, you've got to learn to laugh at life and keep loving your teen, even when they make you crazy. They are flexing their independence muscles and it's your job to help them successfully navigate their journey toward adulthood.
Here are 6 awesome things about parenting teens:
1. You can share TV shows and movies. Remember when your kids were in preschool and you had every episode of Dora memorized verbatim? When you have teens in the house you can watch the same TV shows, within reason, and also share some of your favorite movies from your youth. I've watched all my favorite John Hughes flicks from the 1980s with my teenager and she's introduced me to the Fault in Our Stars 989 times thanks to Netflix. And let's not talk about the winter binge watching of Pretty Little Liars.
2. You've got a built-in exercise buddy. I remember the stroller days with my girls. Now my teenage daughter does track and can run literal circles around me. It's fun to know I have a running (OK half jogging/half walking) buddy who can keep up with me!
3. You can discuss current events and news. We've had some pretty interesting conversations at our house at the dinner table about politics and current events. It's great to have dinner actual dinner conversations that revolve around something other than Elmo.
4. Your shoe wardrobe doubles. No woman or teenage girl in the history of mankind has ever had enough shoes in her closet. Being a mom to a teenage girl means we wear the same size shoe and we can reap the fashion rewards of more shoe options.
5. You can finally take a nap. I remember trying so desperately to catch a few minutes of rest when my girls were babies and toddlers only to be awakened by a crying baby or a barking dog or a doorbell. Murphy's Law of motherhood dictates that the younger your child is, the less likely they will let you sleep. With teens and tweens at home, I can actually take that Sunday afternoon nap that I could have really used 12 years ago. I've got a lot of catching up to do!
6. You will pick up on their energetic vibe. It's not uncommon for my teenager and her best friends to start an impromptu dance party in the middle of our living room in the middle of the afternoon just because. Teenagers are at a point in their youth where everything is new and fun and they have the energy to enjoy it! Being around teens is energizing and uplifting and refreshingly unpredictable, except for those days where there is the "D" word. (DRAMA)
Being a mom to a teen is new territory for me and although, as with all relationships, we have our ups and down, I'm loving this new stage of motherhood.