So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I’ve always heard about the loneliness that comes while raising teens.

Most days, I don’t understand it.

I don’t understand it because my life with teenagers seems so full, so loud, so in-my-face 24-hours a day.

My schedule is packed with sports meets and dress shopping and book ordering. I constantly shuttle long, lithe bodies across town while stopping at the grocery store every day. Someone always wants me to write them a check or texts me to pick them up or yells down the stairs to say we are going to be late.

But in the moments when I’m in the thick of it, in those times when one of my children is talking back, is acting like the world ended, is lying to my face—the truth is I’ve never felt so alone.

Because no one wants to highlight their kid’s screw-ups on social media. No one talks about their poor decisions at curriculum night. No one wants to admit that you may have messed up this parenting gig. No one wants to make their teen a target or have them judged.

So, you wonder, “Why is my kid treating me like this?”

You ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?”

You worry, “What kind of person am I raising?”

You feel alone in murky, shark-infested, unchartered waters, drowning in a sea of teenage angst.

You want to know more about the details of your teen’s life, yet it often seems like you are watching a television show on mute. They decide what information to share and when to provide it to you, if at all.

And it is painful to know that your child is carrying around a heavy weight and knowing you are helpless to fix it, that at times they don’t even want you involved.

When my kids were younger, I could strike up a conversation with another mother at a playground or a friend at a school event. I could easily share my parenting dilemmas and almost always find someone who could relate, which meant it was something I could solve.

But now, the problems are distinct, personal, and sometimes taboo. They are issues I don’t want to be shared and don’t need additional judgment.

I crave time with my friends, my tribe, the people who love my kids like their own, yet it seems impossible to find a date that works.

Whereas you once caught up at playdates and birthday parties, or the occasional mom’s night out starting at 7:30 when all of your kids were in bed, your life is now constantly apologizing for not being able to get together because of football games or band competitions or debate tournaments or college trips.

The irony is the heavier stuff we are dealing with our teens requires trust, privacy, and connection, yet it’s so hard to make that happen.

But most of all, I miss my kids before they are even gone, knowing that they are breaking free a little more every day.

They are the work of my past, but they have their own future. The end of their childhood is now closer than the beginning. And even in the midst of their breakdowns and snarkiness and eye-rolls, even when I wonder if I screwed this entire parenting job up, I know I will miss these glorious, sarcastic, messy, magnificent creatures. Every part of them.

The loneliness of raising teenagers is constant, palpable, perhaps even unavoidable.

And maybe even necessary to prepare us for what’s coming next.

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.

I Love Having a Friend With a New Baby

In: Baby, Friendship, Motherhood
Woman snuggling newborn baby

To my sweet friend with a newborn, Thank you. This stage you’re in is the sweetest, most innocent, and challenging time. The exhaustion and love are overwhelming I know—I feel like I was just there yesterday with my own kids. Only, it wasn’t yesterday. Even though I can close my eyes and remember those precious moments with my own newborns, it feels so far in the past. I love the age my kids are now, but I’m telling you, there’s something magical about those first few weeks of life. When your baby scrunches their body into a ball when you...

Keep Reading

Even as an Adult, It’s Hard When Friends Move Away

In: Friendship
Woman looking out car window

I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood. Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there. It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away. RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving I remember reading...

Keep Reading

It’s Lonely Feeling Invisible

In: Friendship, Living
Woman standing in kitchen

I’ve never known what’s wrong with me. From such a young age, I’ve never had friends. I was never the girl who was invited to the birthday parties let alone the sleepover after the birthday party.  Now as an adult, I’m not the girl invited for drinks, moms’ nights out, play dates, or even to listen to a pyramid scheme.  RELATED: It’s Lonely Being the B-List Friend I’m not the coworker everyone loves. Or the classmate everyone envies because of her skill. I’m not making waves anywhere I go.  Not even with my own family. No aunt, uncle, cousin, or...

Keep Reading

I’m the New Mom at the Park

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Mother and baby on blanket at park, color photo

I’m the new mom at the park. I woke up this morning with a goal in mind: to visit the park with my daughter. I looked in the mirror and whispered, “I’ve got this” as my 3-month-old slept peacefully. This little house has been a great shelter for this new mom and her baby, but it’s time to venture out.  I’m the new mom at the park. With the stroller filled with way too many things for a 30-minute trip. With the perfectly picked out outfit, hoping to fit in. With the tired eyes and dark circles from waking up...

Keep Reading

If You’re Surrounded by Amazing Women, Tell Them

In: Friendship, Living
Friends in sun at beach

We had dinner at our neighbor’s house last night. While our kids played with theirs, their mom walked in the door from work, “Sorry I’m late! We ran two hours behind with patients all day.” She smiled and picked up her 9-month-old out of his walker, he had just started to fuss. She was still in her scrubs but was smiling in anticipation of picking her drooling, chunky boy up. She set him on her hip and walked over to her stove, stirring the pot on the burner while asking her older child how his day had been. I sat...

Keep Reading

Introverts Make the Best Friends

In: Friendship, Living
Two women having coffee at home

I was having a heart-to-heart with a precious friend last week, and she shared something so profound with me that it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I’ve since shared it with a few others, and they too were brought to tears by the sheer beauty of the analogy. I asked her if she would be OK with me sharing her words and she said yes . . . so here is my rendition and thoughts on a truly life-changing moment for me. This has been a hard season for me. I chose to step away from a path I...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

Not All Friendships Are Meant for Forever

In: Friendship
Sad woman looking at phone

There are friends for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. When we embark on a friendship, we have high hopes that those beginning seeds will blossom into forever. But the time and nurturing required of that kind of friendship is reserved for a few, special people who mesh into our souls and lives seamlessly year after year. There are reasons friendships are short-lived, and those are often obvious. Maybe it was to fulfill a need for you—whether physically or emotionally. These relationships are short, usually sweet, and the ending comes as swiftly as it began.  RELATED: Our Friendship Was...

Keep Reading

This House is Far From Perfect, But its Doors Are Always Open

In: Friendship, Living
Partially painted wall, color photo

This is my kitchen and dining area in all its unfinished glory. Just one project of many that I don’t have much time to work on but am working away at, little by little. I’m tempted to feel embarrassed about it and not want people to see it. However, I also want to regularly invite people into my home, and I believe hospitality is very important no matter what the state of your home is. I’ve decided I won’t let a messy house, dog hair, or unfinished projects keep me from having people over. Because it’s not about the house...

Keep Reading

I Want to Be a Friend Who Listens

In: Friendship, Living
A group of friends smiling at the camera, color photo

“So then, the kids were so out of sorts since they had stayed up late, that I just totally lost it and . . .” “Oh my gosh, I know! Mine were the same way Saturday night! Everybody was crying and . . .” And no one was able to finish their story. Sound familiar? As a person who likes to talk, a lot, I’m guilty of this conversation style. I get stuck in my own head, and I fail to listen. When a friend is telling a story, I immediately have the thought, “Yes! Me too! Same here!” and...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.