While a lot of support is being extended to new mothers and mothers of toddlers, no one talks about the hardship about parenting a teen. While the first half of motherhood is physically draining the next lap of journey wreaks havoc on the mother mentally. Postnatal depression, postpartum trauma, are the terms used to describe the mental state of new mothers, but there should certainly be a term for this phase of motherhood too. Maybe something like “mothering-a-teen-syndrome”?
After you’ve raised your kid from the potty training stage to the learning to read and write and when you have just started to enjoy the motherhood journey for all that it has been glorified about, nature plays a dirty joke on you. Your child turns into an almost stranger as puberty hits. Well you can’t blame them, can we, as they are handling their own physical, mental and hormonal changes. We’ve all been there too.
There is no guide to motherhood, as every child is different and every woman does it differently. Hence there is nothing that can prepare you for what is to come. It’s all new. The cute little toddler you once knew is now changing into some sort of an alien whom you just can’t relate to. While there are several support groups for breastfeeding moms, pregnant moms, my-child-doesn’t-eat moms, school moms, there are hardly support groups for teenager’s moms. Trust me, this is exactly when you need someone to tell you that the child you had is never coming back. This person you gave birth to a decade ago is now a stranger you won’t recognize. And as usual, you will be at the receiving end of whatever they are going through in their life. No, that doesn’t mean they are going to confide what’s going on with them, if anything they will suddenly grow distant, want more space and privacy and come with rebellion, disobedience and rolling eyes.
This is when a host of insecurities creep on the mother- what did I do wrong, where did I make a mistake? You keep second guessing yourself. ‘Should I play the good cop or bad cop? Should I be strict or be like a friend?’ Any kind of discipline you may want to enforce will rub them the wrong way and take them further away from you. You will try your best to shield them from the harsh world and the dangers lurking there, but hello, for all you know they just think you are trying to exercise power over them. And now with the bane of technology, the easy access to alcohol, sex, drugs, cuss words, porn, nudes, etc. seems so frightening. You live in the constant fear that your teen may fall prey to this sooner or later. But trust your parenting. If you have taught them the difference between good and bad, they will probably make the right choice. Of course they will want to experience it before they make the choice though. And that thought again is scary, isn’t it?
Yep the struggle of a teenager’s mom is very real. And the only solace you will find is in the company of the mother of another teen. Your struggles may not be the same but the confusions, the dilemmas, the insecurities that you are facing will be the same. Form support groups. Go get help if you want. Meet a counselor, get some parenting tips, attend parenting workshops. There is no shame in that. But please do not beat yourself up for being a bad mother every time you are being yelled at. Do not second guess yourself over the choices you make. Don’t fear being judged. No, you are not perfect. There is no perfect mother or child. It’s just an experience and you live it the way you feel is best. When it comes to raising your child, no one knows it better than you. Happy Mothers day.