So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I expected the sighs and the eye-rolls and the closed bedroom doors. After all, I was a teenager once, too, and I remember how I treated my parents.

I have managed the exhaustion of incredibly early high school wakeups and late-night texts letting me know they are ready to be picked up and running them all over the countryside for school events and sports and volunteering.

I am trying to deal with the stress and the worry that comes with raising big kids who look like adults but still have so much growing up and life-learning to do.

But what nobody told me about this time, what I never anticipated about these teenage years, was how much I could love them.

Sure, raising a teenager in today’s world is challenging. There is so much pressure on our kids to succeed while their hormones are surging and their brains are still developing.

They can lash out, overreact and then enact the silent treatment so quickly that it makes your head spin. Trust me, with three teenagers under my roof, I’ve seen it all. Anyone who has been through it knows it is the hardest stage yet.

But let me share a little secret, friends, about this difficult stage, this time when your baby is trying to break free from your grasp, when your fledgling is trying to fly the nest: it’s my favorite.

Yes, you heard me right. These teenage years? They can be the best yet.

Because this is the time we sit on the couch late into the night and talk for hours about life. I confess my adolescent mistakes with my daughters and why I don’t want them to repeat them; they share their hopes and their dreams, and we talk about how they could get there.

Because this is the time we watch my favorite old movies like “Pretty in Pink” or “The Breakfast Club” with tubs of popcorn sitting in our laps, and they love the exact same lines that I did at their age. We can read the same books and go to fancy restaurants and watch the same shows. I torture them with my music, they torture me with theirs.

Because this is the time they start developing opinions about life and they challenge me to see things differently. This is the time I see the enormous depth of their hearts and the vast potential of their young minds, their wicked sense of humor and their quick wit. This is the time when they know how to do stuff and take care of things, even though they often choose not to do it.

Because this is the stage I can be there for them—I mean, really be there for them, unconditionally.

I can help mend broken hearts and manage disappointments and build confidence and pour so much love into them they never forget their self-worth. I am still their parent, but we are also starting to build a friendship I cherish.

Because this is the time I get to see the people they are becoming while still seeing my past. I get a front-row seat to watch my own fuzzy caterpillar turn into a butterfly seemingly overnight.

Now, if you are in the thick of it like I am, don’t think my kids are any different than yours. These teenage years are hard, perhaps even the hardest ones, in this raising kids program.

But nobody talks about how much you can love these years, either. Nobody tells you how lovely it is to watch your kids transform into adults right before your eyes, how your relationship will develop into something beautiful, how even though you miss your baby, the man or woman you raised who is standing before you will make your heart swell until it feels like it will burst. And, well, this new stage can be pretty amazing, too.

Because even though I sometimes think these teenage years may break me—like I felt all the stages before this might have, too—well, they are my favorite.

At least until whatever comes 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

Childhood Is Messy with Imagination and I Want to Remember It All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toys on bedroom floor

Sometimes I take random photos on my phone of my son’s bedroom or what he has built with his LEGOs. I do this because I know how quickly things change while he is this young. What he builds with LEGOs is always evolving, becoming more intricate and sophisticated. When I look around his room and see everything that is there, it’s like a snapshot of the season we are in. And all I want to do is capture each season. Capture what life looks like for us, for him. I envision showing him these photos when he is grown, maybe...

Keep Reading

Is Anyone Really a Natural When it Comes to Motherhood?

In: Motherhood
Tired mom

Ever since I was little I’ve been drawn to the ideals of motherhood. I would prance around the neighborhood with dolls piled high in my best friend’s stroller. We would set up shop on the lawn with blankets made into makeshift beds and clothes sprawled out everywhere. When I was 12, I took a babysitting course and went around the block knocking on doors and telling the neighbors I was ready for hire. I babysat regularly and was known as a baby whisperer. My life’s goal was to be a mom, and my whole life everyone told me I’d be...

Keep Reading

6 Things the Parent of a Child With Medical Needs Learns

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child holding baby doll

My 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few months before her 2nd birthday. She uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to watch her blood glucose levels and a pump that administers insulin. Before these amazing pieces of medical technology, we were pricking her fingers up to 10 times a day and giving insulin injections at about the same rate—ouch! There are many parents out there with children with special medical needs. One mom I know has to give her autistic son enemas every day because of digestive issues. Another mom has a child with highly specialized dietary...

Keep Reading

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Little Things Can Be Self Care Too

In: Motherhood
Woman reading a book

My third baby has never been a great night-time sleeper. Around eight months old, he decided to add more middle-of-the-night feedings. He went from his usual two nighttime nursing sessions to four, five, or even more. With all the wakeups, I was getting a dismal amount of sleep. My lack of sleep led to low energy, low patience, and an overall low mood. I was constantly tired and grumpy. When playing with my kids, I would feel like I was in a fog. I was not able to enjoy their silliness or creativity but instead became easily annoyed and frustrated....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Dear Overstimulated Mama, You Need Rest

In: Motherhood
Woman resting head on wall

To the overstimulated mama, I know you used to be a person who loved singing and dancing, games and riotous dinner parties with friends and family. You probably had the energy for a fun evening and loved to cuddle with your man. I’m sure your outfits used to bedazzle and your hair and makeup would make you feel like a million bucks. Oh, how times have changed. Now, a Friday night on the couch is the most coveted activity after a week of little hands all over you, pulling, dragging, squeezing. Your kids keep most of the cuddles you used...

Keep Reading

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

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.