It is easy to feel unseen and unappreciated these days, isn’t it? Your teenagers are preoccupied with school sports, the hottest Tiktok trend, the new boyfriend or girlfriend. Everything seems like a fight; even something as simple as asking your kid to stay off their phone at the dinner table. You try to reconnect, to grasp for some glimmer of the relationship you once had back when they cried if you merely left the room to use the bathroom. Despite your best efforts, you are met with one-word answers or unidentifiable mumbles as they walk past.
These teen years are brutal. The arguments. The mood swings. The hormones. The attitude. The rebellion. The apparent rejection. It is physically exhausting, mentally draining, and emotionally devastating. Every day you give all you have to these people: every ounce of your time, energy, and resources and yet it seems to never be enough. You question yourself, you second guess every decision, and each night you go to bed defeated and feeling like a failure.
Parenting tweens and teens can feel like a never-ending cycle of finding dirty dishes in the most unlikely places, having your phone charger “borrowed” never to be returned, and wading through mounds of foul-smelling laundry. It can be easy to wonder if your role even matters anymore.
I imagine you won’t be hearing this out of your teen anytime soon, so let me give you this much-deserved reminder: what you do matters.
Every soccer practice you drive to, every orthodontist appointment you wait at, every grocery run you make (which is way more than you ever imagined possible to keep these growing bodies content!)… they all matter. That ridiculously stupid YouTube video you pretend to laugh at with them? The endless discussions on Marvel characters and Fortnite dances that you couldn’t care less about but you listen to anyway? Yes, even those matter. The difficult conversations, the sleepless nights spent worrying, the hours you fret over their decisions, the advice you give that they pretend not to care about. They matter. You matter.
Your baby may be big now, but you are still their biggest hero and the most important person in their world. Your role as mentor, comforter, counselor, cheerleader, and safety net can never be outgrown. Every one of those small and sometimes tedious tasks you do are a reminder to your teen that your love is constant and always available. It is the beacon of the lighthouse guiding them through the overwhelming storm of adolescence.
It doesn’t matter how many eye rolls, sharp words, or closed doors come between you, you have exactly what your teen needs. You always have. You have been their source of nurturing, comfort, and support all their life and no amount of rapidly shifting hormones can change that. Each day you get up and give your best, even when it is hard, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you are running on empty yourself. Most of the time your efforts are unthanked and overlooked. But just as your hard work seems to go unseen, the results of your labor can lie hidden under the surface too. You may not see it today, or tomorrow, or until they graduate high school, but there is no denying the impact your tireless work and unwavering love is having in the heart of your kid.
You are no failure. You are not a bad mom. Certainly, you will make mistakes…we all do. You are still human, after all. But you have not failed. Day after day, year after year, you continue to give your very best to help these young humans become their very best. Your guidance and direction during these years are creating a better future for them, even when they refuse to acknowledge that.
I know you are weary. I know how difficult the tween and teen years are on a mother. I know how draining it is to love so hard and give so much and be met with attitude and arguments. But I want you to know and never doubt that you have what it takes. So keep it up, Mom. Don’t lose sight of the incredible job you are doing.
And above all, don’t ever forget that what you are doing absolutely matters.