The Hardest Thing About Being A Mom Is Not What You’d Expect

Everyone knows that being a mom isn’t always easy.

It can be exhausting and overwhelming when they’re small, but the joy that our children bring us far outweighs any of that.

But the real reason being a mom is the most difficult job in the world is not what you would think – until you experience it.

Our children depend on us for everything when they’re little.  We are literally responsible for keeping them alive and well.  The nighttime feedings, the diaper changes, the constant balancing act…

Then, we watch in amazement as they grow and learn.  They start to interact with us.  They develop their own little personalities and interests.

They want to be with us at every moment, and we can’t imagine how we can be so blessed.

And then come the tween years.

Studies have shown that many mothers experience increased stress, anxiety – even depression – once their child turns 12 or 13, even more so than when they are newborns.

We worry because they are making more and more of their own decisions.  They’re away from us longer and longer each day as they go to school, participate in activities, and spend more time with friends.

But it’s not just the fact that we’re losing sleep at night because we worry about them when they’re not home.

It’s far more than that.

We are their mothers, the most amazing human bond that exists.  And now, they are pulling away.  They’re changing.  And we don’t like it – not one bit.

The reason that being a mom is the hardest job in the world is that we are given an innocent life to care for and love with every fiber of our being, but the outcome is always the same — we eventually have to let go.

They are supposed to grow up and leave the nest.   We know this.  After all, we did the same thing to our mothers.

So why is it so hard?

It’s because we feel like we’re losing them.  Their bodies and minds are changing.  The little girl who couldn’t let us out of their sight is now slamming the door in our face when we ask them how their day went.

The little boy who begged us to read him one more story doesn’t want his friends to see when we pick him up from school.

God sent us this perfect gift, and now it seems like they want nothing to do with us.

But fear not, moms.

This is all normal.  If you’ve done your job – and you have – they have your values, your beliefs, the notion of right and wrong.

In order to become a normal, functioning adult, kids have to start thinking on their own.  They have to make tough decisions, and they like to take risks to test the waters.

This is a hard time for moms.  It’s not natural – we’re not programmed to step back and let them go after so many years of keeping them at our side.

This is the time it helps to have someone to talk to who is going through the same thing, so find a mom-friend who is experiencing, or has already survived, the tween and teen years.

Find support, be kind to yourself, and take comfort in all you have done and are still doing for your child.

And always maintain open and honest communication with your child.  You may not always like what you’re hearing, but it’s far better than your child not trusting that you’ll always be supportive and accepting of them.

Be there to listen when their risks don’t turn out so well, and when their decision wasn’t the best one.

If you’re feeling like you’re losing your best friend and constant companion, don’t worry.  We promise, they will come back to you.

It is still our job to lay down the rules, but we have to pick our battles.  If they’re safe, getting decent grades, and being open and truthful with us, it is also our job to give them some independence.

Twelve and 13 are the worst; you’ll get no argument here.

But then something amazing happens.  They’ve pushed and tested, they’ve hurt our feelings and maybe gotten into a little trouble along the way.

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But then we see a glimmer of something we recognize.  They start wanting to do things with us again.  They ask us to make their favorite meal or do something the family has always enjoyed – together.

Because after a couple of years of locking horns with us, they’ve learned a thing or two.  Maybe they start to drive, get a job, and have some bills to pay.  Maybe their friends have had some tough times and they see that their parents really aren’t that bad.

They learn that the thing they couldn’t wait for – growing up and being independent – comes with its drawbacks.

They aren’t little anymore; in fact, we may not recognize who they are sometimes.  But here’s the great part.

When you look back at photos or in the recesses of your memory and see them as toddlers, as preschoolers, as young grade-schoolers, you’ll cherish the memories, but you won’t want that kid back.

You’ll always want the kid you have now – the teenager who is so much like you were at that age, and eventually, a fully-grown adult who is once again your best friend.

You can miss those precious moments when they were little; you’re allowed to.  But the hardest thing about being a mom – the letting go part – is also the best.

Because once you’ve done your job and you see that everything you did for them has made them an incredible adult that you’re proud to put out into the world, it’s all worth it.

Moms, are you going through a tough time while trying to parent a “tween?”  Leave us your comments.



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