We stand together silently in the short line at 7:58 a.m. Next to me, my almost-teenage son scuffles his feet on the beige tile floor as I thumb through my billfold, searching for the right insurance card.

“I can help you now,” the receptionist motions us over to the desk. “What do you need to be seen for?”

How does a mother of teens and tweens answer that question? What do you need to be seen for? Clearly the obvious response this morning is that my young athlete needed his possibly-fractured wrist X-rayed. But it’s so much more than that.

Because mothering a child who’s actually no longer a child but not yet grown comes with a mental and emotional load no one really warns you about.

I’ve been known to tell people I’m more suited to raising babies and toddlers. I’ve had five of them, so by now I have it down: swaddles, naps, snacks, snuggles, more snacks. They’re simple creatures when you get right down to it, and I’m something of a pro at meeting basic needs.

Teenagers are an entirely different story.

They meet their own needs now, most of the time anyway. They don’t need me to provide snacks or tuck them into bed or put a Band-Aid on a skinned knee.

RELATED: Dear Teenage Son, I Know I’ve Got to Let You Go, But Give Me Time

Their needs are more nebulous, and that sometimes leaves me feeling a little unsteady about my role. I try to be present but not hover. I position myself strategically at the kitchen sink late at night so I’m available to listen, but they don’t always want to talk—at least not in words. I attempt to ask questions without being annoying, but the line between the two is thin and, frustratingly, never in the same spot.

And then, there’s the worrying.

I worry when they’re behind the wheel. I worry about the homework they don’t ask me for help with anymore. I worry about the friends they’re making and the conversations they’re having. I worry about their safety and their futures and the words others say about them and the words they say to themselves. It’s the kind of worry that keeps a mother awake at night when the rest of the house is asleep.

But then I’ll catch a glimpse of them when they’re not looking and see the child I used to cradle in my arms—and it settles my uneasiness about this stage of life. I’m still their mother. They’re still my babies. They’re gaining independence, as they should, but they haven’t outgrown their need for a mother—for me. God made me their mother, not just for the baby stage or the toddler years or the fleeting innocence of childhood. We’re intentionally woven together, held in the palm of His gracious hand as we make our way through this season, sometimes with confidence, sometimes with trepidation, but always with love. That knowledge calms my fears, even in these uncharted teenage years.

RELATED: The Truth about Parenting Teenagers

Yes, there is a mental load mothers of teenagers carry. It’s a heavy coat of emotional labor and constantly letting go. And yes, it can be exhausting.

But it’s anything but invisible to the parents who’ve been there—to the ones who are there. We help each other in those knowing glances, in those conversations on the sidelines of sporting events, in those text messages and phone calls that give us touchpoints to the truth: you were made for this.

What do you need to be seen for? Friend, you already are. And it makes all the difference.

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

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn has served as Editor-in-Chief of Her View From Home since 2017. A long time ago, she worked in local TV news and fell in love with telling stories—something she feels grateful to help women do every day at HVFH. She lives in flyover country with her husband and five kids but is really meant to be by the ocean with a good book and a McDonald's fountain Coke. 

Dear Son, Now That You’re a Teenager

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mother and son selfie, color photo

Thirteen years ago, after two failed inductions (who knew you could be on Pitocin TWICE and still leave the hospital pregnant!?) and more days past my due date than I ever thought possible—you made your dramatic debut (further proving you do things on your own time and in your own way) and my world has never been the same. Before that moment, I couldn’t even fathom the intense love, joy, or exhaustion that I was about to experience. From day one, you have been a force to be reckoned with. You both wreak havoc and create joy everywhere you go,...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Be a Mom of Teens, but I’m Learning

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl in ocean

I’m a card-carrying baby person. You know the type—the kind of mom who turns into a cooing heap of melty-hearted goo whenever a baby comes into view. I love them when they’re tiny and helpless, when their necks are floppy and their limbs are jelly. I love the way their eyes are deep and knowing and how their heads smell so sweet and fit just right under my chin.  “Give me all the babies,” is a phrase on regular rotation in my vocabulary, and I truly mean it. It’s probably why, at pushing 40, my husband and I just had...

Keep Reading

This Stage of Life? It’s Hard Too.

In: Inspiration, Kids, Motherhood
This Stage of Life? It's Hard Too. www.herviewfromhome.com

I had several friends who recently posted links on Facebook to this amazing article published by the Austin Mom’s Blog. Just reading it made me want to break out in hives.  The author is a middle 30-something with toddlers and babies. She is a decade younger than me. And clearly precious. She is probably totally nailing the parenthood thing just based on the fact that she’s even worried that she may not be nailing the parenthood thing. This is my love letter back to that middle 30s mom and to every other exhausted mom in her 30s. I want you...

Keep Reading

My Babies Are Growing Up, but I Will Never Outgrow Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Five kids sitting next to fire place, color photo

I spent nearly a decade birthing babies and subsequently breastfeeding them. I have been pregnant so many times I am not sure if my love for mismatched food combinations intertwined with my tendencies toward irritability is from hormone level fluctuations or if this is just who I am now. Either way, my body was not mine for enough years that I still think twice before taking any over-the-counter medication or consuming slices of deli meat. Are those even pregnancy-related concerns these days or did I just show my age?  Anyway. They say you know when your family is complete, and...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is Letting Go, Over and Over Again

In: Kids, Motherhood
A mother smiles at her daughter who is growing up quickly

The sweet sound of your baby’s cry pierces the air inside the delivery room. He is laid upon your chest, and as you gaze down at his delicate features you think to yourself, “I will never let you go.” All too soon, your babe is taken from your arms to be examined, weighed, and measured. And in that moment, you learn your first lesson of motherhood: Letting go is never easy, but sometimes it must be done. Your 11-month-old pulls himself up on the coffee table. You reach out to steady his wobbly body, catching him before he crashes to...

Keep Reading

The Surprising Truth About Parenting a Teenager

In: Kids, Motherhood
The Surprising Truth About Parenting a Teenager www.herviewfromhome.com

You don’t have to be a parent to know that the general consensus around raising teenagers is “oh boy, hold on to your hat, it’s going to get bumpy” or perhaps something a little more blunt than that. There is this universal understanding that the teen years are the hardest to navigate as a parent, with perhaps the exception of the toddler years. I see it every time someone learns that I have a 14-year-old daughter and they respond with a loud whistle or raised brows and big grin and say, “Oh boy, you’re in the teen years!” or “Phew!...

Keep Reading