Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I just ran to Target to pick up a few stocking stuffers for my teens. I had the basics….lip balm, some face masks, chocolate Santas, nail polish, nail files, etc.
The sweet woman who checked me out noticed that I had three of everything and politely asked: “You must have daughters?”
 
I laughed, but inside I was on the verge of tears. My twin daughters are 16 and my baby will be turning 15 in just three short months. I was in the thick of parenting three teenagers, and it was a difficult week in our House of Hormones.
 

I tried to make conversation with her. “Easy to tell, huh? Yes, three teenage girls. For the stockings I just get everything the same. It’s hard because they’re all roughly the same age.”

And she sighed. “Oh, I only had two and they were a handful. I remember that time. It was hard. Sometimes I would just cry in my bed at night wondering where I went wrong….why wouldn’t they talk to me, why were they so mean?”

I nodded my head emphatically. Her comments hit close to home with me and some of my most recent interactions with my kids.

“But you know what?” she went on with a big smile on her face. “They are 23 and 25 now and live in the city, and each of them calls me every morning and they call me every night, and I think we go through these hard times because the next part is so sweet.”
 

I almost started to cry right at the #6 checkout stand.

Because those words are the ones all mothers need during these challenging teenage years. We need to remember the end game.

We need to have courage to say the hard no to things we know are too risky and the courage to let go even when we’re scared. We need to be secure in ourselves when those adolescents lash out at us and not take it so personally, and give them grace when they don’t know how to handle the stress of this world. We need to hold them accountable and then be their safe space to land.
 
And the payoff is a relationship, a friendship, a mutual-level of respect that you can enjoy for many years to come.
 
I finished my holiday shopping today, but that Target check out lady gave me the true gift.
 
May we all believe that there are better days to come, and remember the hope that teenagers will come back to us, and it may be the sweetest spot of parenting of all.
 
This article was originally published on Playdates on Fridays with Whitney Fleming
 
You may also like:
 
 
 
So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site parentingteensandtweens.com You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

Round 2 in the Passenger Seat is Even Harder

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy behind the wheel, color photo

Here I am, once again, in the passenger seat. The driver’s side mirrors are adjusted a little higher. The seat is moved back to fit his growing teenage limbs. The rearview mirror is no longer tilted to see what’s going on in the backseat. Yellow stickers screaming “Student Driver,” are plastered to the sides of the car. The smile on his face is noticeable. The fear in mine is hard to hide. These are big moments for both of us. For him, it’s the beginning of freedom. Exiting the sidestreets of youth and accelerating full speed into the open road...

Keep Reading

Moms Take a Hard Look in the Mirror When Our Girls Become Tweens

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mother and tween daughter reading

We all know about mean girls. They’re in the movies we go to see, the television shows we watch, and the books we read. These fictional divas are usually exaggerated versions of the real thing: troubled cheerleaders with a couple of sidekicks following in their faux-fabulous footsteps. The truth about mean girls is more complex. Sometimes, they aren’t kids you would expect to be mean at all: the quiet girls, sweet and innocent. Maybe she’s your kid. Maybe she’s mine. As our daughters approach their teen years, we can’t help but reflect on our own. The turmoil. The heartbreak. The...

Keep Reading

From a Veteran Special Needs Mom: Don’t Lose Hope

In: Living, Motherhood, Teen
Woman making heart symbol with hands

When my son was newly diagnosed with autism, I was reading everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So much so that to this day, I can barely handle reading anything on the subject because I overdosed so badly on it. I went through a grieving process as all families do. Grieving my expectations, hopes, and dreams. It was during this time that all hell broke loose. My child, like a lot of other people who experience autism, has a lot of other psychological and medical issues that interact with his autism. The combination of all those things led to...

Keep Reading

Raising a Teenager Is a Long Walk through a Tunnel

In: Motherhood, Teen
Two people walking down tunnel, color photo

So much parenting advice asks us to envision bridges as a metaphor for finding the path forward–bridges we need to create now during these tumultuous teen years to build connection with our kids and pave the way for a brighter future when they are adults. Bridges that override the lonely chasms created by chaos and tension. Bridges that link us together from one season of family life to another—from the island of childhood to that of adulthood. Bridges are regal, durable, and confident. They touch the sky with grandeur. They are exciting and powerful. When we ride over a bridge,...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Our Teens Need Blue Box Love

In: Motherhood, Teen
Container with macaroni and cheese, color photo

Sometimes loving a teen looks like making new Kraft Mac & Cheese at 4 a.m. My oldest packs her lunch about every day. Her cooking skills are meek at best. Last night she came home in her own head after a ball game. However, she was determined to make Mac & Cheese for her lunch today. RELATED: Being a Teen is Hard Enough—Go Ahead and Take the Easy Road Once in Awhile After she made it with a little more coaching than she cared for, she leaked out it still wasn’t good. Her noodles were far too underdone. It was...

Keep Reading

My Teen with Special Needs is Doing High School at His Pace, Not Mine

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen putting books in backpack

The journey of a special needs parent is both stunningly beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. Often with one coming closely on the heels of the other or at the same time. I have made my peace that our parenting journey doesn’t look like everyone else’s. But it doesn’t mean this year is an easy one. This year my son should be in his senior year of high school with senior pictures, parties, and all the fun senior things to look forward to. It should be a year of celebration. But our year isn’t going to look like that. RELATED: Older Kids...

Keep Reading

Two Things My Teens Must Do Before They’re Allowed To Date

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teens lying on grass with feet crossed

When I was a little girl, I asked my dad when I could date. His response was like most dads to their daughters, half joking he said, “Never!” As I got a little older, I asked again and less jokingly that time he said, “You’re too young. Wait til you’re older.” When I was a full-fledged teenager (and thinking I was “grown enough”), I asked again, and his response was just a long exasperated sigh. We had reached the point of inevitability so there really were no words or jokes to be made. Looking back now, as a mom with...

Keep Reading

“It Looks and Tastes Like Candy.” Mom Shares Warning about THC Gummies All Parents Need to Hear

In: Kids, Living, Teen
Hand holding bottle of THC gummies

What Aimee Larsen first thought was a stomach bug turned out to be something much more terrifying for her young son. Her 9-year-old woke up one day last week seeming “lethargic, barely able to stand or speak,” his mom shared in a Facebook post. At first, she assumed he had a virus, but something about his behavior just didn’t seem right. She called an ambulance and asked her older sons if their brother might have gotten into something, like cough syrup or another over-the-counter medicine. Their answer? “Yeah, THC gummies.” THC gummies are an edible form of cannabis that contain...

Keep Reading

I Want to Be My Teen’s Friend, but First I Have to Be His Mother

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen boy smiling wearing a hoodie

He’s 13. I could stop there, and most parents would simply shake their heads, give me a look of sympathy, and simply say, “It gets better.” My too-cool-for-school kid did a complete 180 in his seventh-grade year. Always at the top of his class academically, he stopped studying, stopped doing homework, stopped caring about grades. I tried to talk to him about it, but all I got were eye rolls, barely audible teenage slang that made no sense to this Gen-X mom, and the slamming of a door. He doesn’t even need the large “Stay Out” poster on his bedroom...

Keep Reading