I am challenging myself to hug my teen and do so as often as I can.
Does anyone else ever deal with an irrational teenager? Asking for a friend.
May the Lord have mercy on me because some days I feel utterly exasperated and exhausted. The mental exhaustion is so draining I find myself physically exhausted too. Then, add in those forties hormonal changes and adolescent hormonal changes, psychosocial growth, and development challenges and you have a recipe for a perpetual headache and chronic fatigue; for me that is.
Some days I am an anxious frazzled woman just trying to survive my forties while my teens are trying to make it to “freedom” when they can fly the nest. I am hoping and praying by then that they will have the tools, common sense, and maturity to rationally make responsible and thoughtful choices.
While not all parents have the same experiences and some may be living the blissful parenting of teens dream, some of us are weary and there is still a long road ahead.
Regardless of our present circumstances, which can change unpredictably by the minute with the fluctuating moods and emotions of teens and moms, in the midst of the sometimes intense moments, these days also have moments of hope and joy. Those glimmering glimpses of our teens’ beautiful kindred souls shining through the haze are like radiant rays of sunshine streaming through the sometimes dark, ominous clouds.
It is my hope that I remember to look up and around to spur other parents on along this journey that sometimes can feel lonely, uncertain, unsettling, and futile. Trusting that if we keep pressing forward and doing our best, one day our kids will turn out to be successful, productive, and respectful members of society.
As for now (no eye rolls please), I am challenged to hug my teen and do so as often as I can, because these days are fleeting. I am talking a real mama-bear hug. For my one teen, who likes hugs and is often asking for a back massage, I started giving her mini-back massages with my mom hugs and now she seeks these mom hugs more and it “literally” (she says this so much now I am saying it) makes her nicer and more pleasant to be around.
One day when my younger teen was giving me the half-hearted, generic, one-armed, side quick hug to appease me, my older teen (the one who becomes nicer with my mama-bear hugs) chimed in to share with her sister matter-of-factly that she was missing out on real mom hugs and that she needed to ask me for the “massage” mom hug. So I complied and hugged my teen with the upgraded “mini-back massage.” With this mom hug, my sometimes contentious teen melted in my arms, smiled, and gave me that sweet giggle like she used to when she was a toddler and was actually happy. And yes, she too got nicer.
I did not realize the stress my kids were under and how much they benefit from mom hugs especially during these times of increased isolation and stress. It takes “literally” less than 10 seconds, yet this was such an incentive for my other teen to hug me and hug me more often. She now even smiles more often too. Oh, that beautiful smile and twinkling eyes I get to see once again! So now this teen of mine comes and follows me around so I can give her a mom hug. She makes me laugh and her big joyful smile brightens my day.
There are some days that I don’t see this joy as often as when they were younger and I miss it. And for now, hugs are how we can relate and connect if even for a moment before the contention and irritability begin again. Just for today, even if we can’t agree or are distant with life’s stressors, we can just take a moment to hug because we have one another, we are alive, and we still can. I am continually inspired to live, laugh, and love big.