Since first announcing I was pregnant with twin girls 14 years ago, the comments poured in from strangers.

“Wait until they’re teenagers,” people said dryly.

When we added a third girl to our family just 16 months later, people became relentless with their commentary.

“I wouldn’t want to be you when they become teens.”

“Ugh. All those hormones in one place.”

Or my personal favorite: “Your poor husband!”

And as I sit in my house full of teenage girls, I can honestly tell you they were right.

Sort of.

Our house is full of straightening irons and leggings and makeup. My floors are often littered with hair bands and nail polish stains my counters.

We regularly have to clean out bathroom drains full of thick clumps of hair and earrings sit on every surface.

Clothes are often misplaced and shoes scattered like breadcrumbs.

Teen girls seem to repopulate like gremlins so when there is one in my house, I can count on several more popping up at any time. They eat. A lot.

Phones in sparkly cases are never far from reach although there are never enough chargers. Hell hath no fury like a teen girl who can’t find a charger when at eight percent.

They take a lot of selfies— with the dog or a sunset or a lopsided cake frosted with two containers of chocolate icing.

And someone is always crying, and most of the time I have no idea why. They often don’t know either. It could be hurt feelings because of mean words from a friend, a bad grade or looming hormones wreaking havoc. It might be because I asked if they could pick up a sock. It could be no reason at all.

There are often fights over boots or whose turn it is to walk the dog or who stole a Starbucks gift card. The words fly out of glossed lips fast and furious, and usually, are forgiven before I even know what started it.

There are eye rolls and exasperated sighs and stomping up stairs and even the occasional door slam. There are curt words and sly remarks and comments meant to stab you directly in the heart. And just when you think your relationship is broken and you’ve ruined them for life, they return to put the pieces of your heart back together again.

Raising—and living with—teen girls is so incredibly hard, and yet so breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.

It’s always having someone to bake chocolate chip cookies with while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack or watching movies in your PJs all weekend.

It’s knowing someone will always tell me if my lipstick is on my teeth or help me pick out the right dress.

It’s watching a young girl’s face light up because you loaned her your “expensive” scarf or letting her wear your strappy sandals to a dance.

It’s hearing about cute boys and fashion statements in one breath, and then listening to them talk about their favorite sports team or a cause close to their heart the next.

And they are a constant, beautiful reminder of how to feel things—no matter how big or small—so intensely that it hurts.

Nothing prepares you for living in a house full of teenaged girls. It’s not a roller coaster; it’s more like jumping out of an airplane at 20,000 feet and hoping your parachute comes out right before you crash into the Earth—every second of every day.

It is fear and heartbreak and joy and exhilaration and oh so much love.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You might also like:

This Simple Strategy Changed My Relationship With My Teens

Dear Mama, This is Worth Waiting For

10 Things Girl Moms Have To Look Forward To (Really)

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a communications consultant, and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays.