Raising Teens: I Wouldn’t Change This For the World

In the middle of all the "hard" is the joy that makes it all worthwhile

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Raising Teens: I Wouldn’t Change This For the World

Written by: Ali Flynn

As a mom of teenagers, there are some days I am just downright exhausted. As parents, we don’t seem to talk about it much, but raising teens can suck the absolute life out of you. And, it’s not just the physical demands of motherhood, it’s the mental load that wears you out and weighs you down.

Still, even though there are times I’d give anything to run away to grab just a few minutes of peace, let me share a little secret with you…

I wouldn’t change this for the world. 

Raising Teens: I Wouldn’t Change This For the World


When my kids were younger, I thought all the diaper changes, late-night feedings, endless trips to the pediatrician and the constant fear that my kids weren’t meeting “normal” milestones were exhausting and draining. Little did I know at the time that the teen years would be so much harder in so many ways. 

Yes, it’s hard. Really hard, sometimes. But, for me, somewhere in the middle of all that “hard,” I’ve had the joy of having a front-row seat on my teens’ journey to adulthood.

It’s the kind of hard that makes me realize how important my role is as their mom.

It’s the kind of hard that reminds me that just like other hard stages in motherhood, this too shall pass and I’ll be left with only memories.

It’s the kind of hard that makes me truly appreciate the beautiful people evolving and maturing right before my very eyes and, oh, what a blessing it is. 

Looking back, nothing could have prepared me for the hard I was about to face… nothing.

I mean, who knew?

Who knew I would spend countless hours lying awake at night worrying, hoping and praying that they were making the right decisions when I wasn’t around to guide them?

Who knew that they would fight so hard to become their own person and I’d have to let go… something I wasn’t prepared for. 

Who knew I’d spend so much time on hard bleachers, cheering my kids on, boosting their confidence, telling them they “can” and waiting for them because practice let out late?

Who knew some evenings I would kiss them goodnight and head off to bed knowing that it would be hours before they laid their head on the pillow?

But I wouldn’t change a moment.

Who knew shoes would scatter the floors and that our home would feel like a revolving door as friends came and went?

Who knew my kids would always be hungry, that I’d spend so much on groceries and that they’d eat it almost as quickly as it hit the fridge or pantry?

Who knew their rooms would be a mess and, that no matter how hard I tried, I’d never be caught up on laundry?

But I wouldn’t change a moment.

Who knew all of my forks, spoons, bowls and plates and bowls would go missing?

Who knew they would sleep like it’s their job… sometimes past noon or later?

Who knew their big kid arms wrapped around me would melt my heart? 

And, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Who knew snuggling on the couch watching reality tv and picking up iced coffees would mean so much? 

Who knew a ride in the car would lead to hours of precious and honest conversation?

Who knew my love for them would grow even stronger? 

And, still… I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Who knew listening to them talk would remind me of words I have spoken? 

Who knew they were even listening?

Who knew they would begin to cherish and be thankful for all we have done? 

I wouldn’t change a thing.

But some days, I am worn down and fatigued.

Some days I need a break from the chaos.

Some days I need to remind myself they are teens. 

They can be impulsive.

They can be rude.

They can be selfish. 

Some days I need to remind myself they are teens.

Sometimes, they don’t mind their manners.

Sometimes, they’re sassy, snarky and sarcastic. 

Sometimes, they can be sneaky and resentful.

And, on those hard days, I need to remind myself they are still teens.

What I’ve learned through all the hard, though, is that no matter how hard it gets for us or for our teens, they need us. 

They need us to guide them even when they want us far away.

They need us to be brutally honest because if we’re not, who will be?

They need us to love them hard and love them even harder on their bad days.

They need us.

They need us to offer support and encouragement while keeping the balance of reality. 

They need us to laugh with them, real belly laughs, and find the humor in it all.

They need us to hug them daily, multiple times a day, even when they act like they don’t care. Because they do. 

They need us.

They need us to be their rock, their backup plan and their safe haven, even when they pretend they don’t care.

They need us to embrace their friends, even the ones we’re not so sure about. 

They need us to honor their privacy, even when all we want to do is delve into the details.

They need us to love them through it all. 

They need us.

And you know what? 

We need them, too. Perhaps more than we know. 

We need their lighthearted sense of humor when we’re dead tired, cranky or when we’ve had a bad day.

We need them to help us embrace their childlike spirit and live life through their lens.

We need that reassuring look they give us that says, “It’s okay, mom… you taught me well,” that calms our fears and reminds us to relax, it will all be okay. 

We need them to offer us a hug when life is spinning out of control.

We need them to simply love us for us, as the imperfect moms that we are… trying and giving and loving every single day. 

So moms, if you find yourself trying to embrace the joy of raising your teens while grappling with the worn-down, exhausting feelings of the “hard,” you are not alone.

Raising teens is so hard…

But you know what? 

If you’re anything like me… you wouldn’t change this for the world.

About Ali Flynn:

Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter, and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home, and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “Raising Teens: I Wouldn’t Change This for the World,” check out these other posts!

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