Emotional Life with Tweens & Teens: Inspiration for Moms

Tweens & Teens: Mom InspirationTweenagers.
Sigh.

If at any point today, you are staring at your little baby or toddler, thinking how “hard” it all is, remember that it will get easier…And then they will turn on you in about 8 years.

Sorry. If you haven’t had this experience, then I applaud you. And then I’d either call you a liar, or silently think that you will get your due in some fashion or another. Perhaps you had a baby that slept through the night after just 1 month too? So be it. You will get yours. The universe maintains its balance, my friends. This is my due, I guess. Now I am an expert in the emotions of young girls trying to assert themselves as independent and capable young ladies. It started at 8 year of age and has continued through until almost 12 years. I know that this will not end soon.

My best, best, best advice (not that you asked, but this is my forum, I guess, so I will go on….) is to remember the advice of the poet, W.H. Auden, who tells us

 ‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Words to heed. Yes. Yes, indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong- my beautiful, loving creatures still hold and love me dearly every now and again… but it can be fleeting. And the warm fuzzies are quickly forgotten after a short moment of good snuggles. The good and bad of it is that every day is a new one when you live with budding teenagers, and every other day they decide that loving anyone or anything around them is super hard. Liking anyone other than their friends is still harder. Dour moods and doom rule these dark days. If I am lucky, I manage to remember, how these moments must surely be harder for this precious child than for me…the object of their manifested feelings.

How hard it must be for the child, still figuring out their bodies, their minds, their emotions. Understanding comes with experience, and these kids wake up never having felt like this…their feelings high-jacked by hormones. I get it. I smell it too. The hormones are high during this time, my friends. But it is a sight to behold. You can see the dark moods coming if you are lucky or take care to pay attention, but beware the turn of the tide mid-day, when you think all is well…That’s when it comes in handy, these beautiful words:

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes. My best self will say, “I am sorry that you feel that way. Do you want some time alone? Would you like some mom-time?”

These are three little things that a mom can do or say, which tackle it all:

  1. acknowledge the feeling: “I am sorry that you feel that way.”
  2. ask them if they want to go to their room and leave everyone else out of this thunderstorm of doom: “Do you want some time alone?”
  3. see if they just need a hug: “Would you like some mom-time? Let’s talk.” (WARNING! You aren’t supposed to really talk at all, as this creates more problems. Really, this means “You talk all you want and tell me how unfair and horrible it all is and I will just nod and reaffirm that your feelings are valid.”  It’s best to time this one to keep it from going on and on. Leave it to under 5 minutes or it can make your day dis.ap…e.a.r…into the vortex of tween-dom emoting.

All good things, and pretty easy right?

But it starts with me shutting my big mouth, and remembering how much this sensitive and emotional time hurts my child way more than it hurts me. Love first.

Easier said than done. So next time one of my Tweenagers decides that I am the Enemy #1 and so “UNFAIR!” I will try to breathe in and out slowly. Exhale again for good measure and shut my mouth. If either of them wants me to answer, I will remember these 3 little things: Acknowlege, Alone, Hug. (Acronym to remember: A.A.H. as in “Aah. Isn’t that better?”)

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

I am torn in this remembering the soft, fragile and chubby babies, who are now becoming hilarious, smart, and wonderfully independent kids. I am moving forward and trying my best to mother them into becoming kind, empathetic, and strong human beings in this world. Trying not to yell. The struggle is real. I fail all the time. Acknowlege, Alone, Hug.

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes, Please.

You may now reward yourself with wine. Or chocolate. Either will do. You are doing awesome.

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