Remember the sleep deprivation of having a newborn?
Remember the mental drain of potty-training a toddler?
Or the worry of dropping your five-year-old to kindergarten?
Multiply that by 10.
And that’s parenting a teenager.
Now instead of waking up overnight to nurse my newborn, I’m staying up till midnight to pick up my teenager from a late night out with friends.
Now instead of being consistent with my potty-training methods, I’m setting boundaries for screens or rules or grades or chores. And holding fast no matter how many meltdowns I face.
Now instead of a whole day away at kindergarten, I’m dropping my teenager to the doors of high school (knowing college looms not far behind).
And I’m still worrying and wondering.
Will he be OK? What if he struggles? What if he NEEDS me?
I’m pretty sure all those earlier parenting challenges were preparing me for today.
These days of parenting a teenager.
The laundry pile.
The stack of shoes by the back door.
The food bill (definitely the food bill!).
And it’s hard.
Parenting a teenager is harder than I ever thought it would be.
But just as my heart nearly BURST with pride at the sight of my newborn flashing his first toothless smile . . .
Or my toddler running around in his superhero underpants after a successful trip to the “potty train” . . .
Or my kindergartener charging through the door after school to wrap me in a hug and show me his latest creation . . .
Now I stand next to my 6-ft.tall son, and I notice his muscles or his deep voice as he tells me a story about school. I cheer when he sinks a three-pointer in the game, or we laugh together over some ridiculous meme (that I probably don’t really get).
And my heart very nearly BURSTS with pride . . .
Multiplied 10 times.
This post originally appeared on Ordinary on Purpose, by Mikala Albertson