Mum Stress: Surviving The Teenage Rollercoaster
If you’re the mum of a teenager, then welcome. You know, those charming creatures who were once cute and cuddly with gorgeous little baby teeth…well now if you’re like Kate and I, you have kids that have well and truly mastered the eye roll and "whatever" attitude.
But have you thought about the stress it brings you as a parent, and why it's crucial to sneak in a bit of self-care amidst the chaos? Read on.
The Teenage Rollercoaster: More Loops Than You Bargained For (a quick overview)
1. Communication Breakdowns:
So, you remember those times your toddler wouldn't stop babbling? Or your primary schooler rabbiting on about...everything. Trying to get a word out of a teenager is like trying to win a staring contest with a cat. And I’ve had many cats. Good luck.
2. Peer Pressure and External Influences:
At one point we were the coolest person in the world? Mum’s ruled their world. Well, move over, because now it's all about their friends. Balancing their independence with setting boundaries becomes a daily tightrope walk.
Are you like me, desperate to get them out of the house, then tracking every move on Life360?
Is there a balance here? Any tips? (seriously I’d like to know…)
3. School Pressures:
Homework, exams, and year 12 prep – it's a whole new level of stress. I know so many mums who are seeing their late teens through exams right now and are just as stressed out as their kids. Because it’s not just the exams, it is the barrage of school stuff around it – socials, dinners, parent events. They all require time and patience.
4. Emotional Rollercoaster:
Hormones are running wild (BTW we’re still on kids here), mood swings are in full swing, and you're left wondering if they're still the same kid who used to believe in the tooth fairy. It's an emotional ride for everyone involved. And I still want cuddles.
The Parental Stress Parade
Handling teenage tribulations often comes with its own set of parental stressors. Let's face it, juggling the drama is like trying to keep all the plates spinning at once in a circus act. I mean, I thought I was doing that already, but here is another new plate – teen mood.
In my house, I have the added bonus of a teen who has lost his father, so I’m solo here. My biggest challenge right now is not being able to pass the baton to another parent for backup, or for moods to be directed at someone else. It is exhausting.
Here is what happens:
1. Impact on Mental Health:
Stress levels go up, patience goes down. It can leave you questioning your sanity. They are experts at emotional warfare, and dare I mention gaslighting, where they make you question everything you think is happening?
2. Physical Well-being:
Parenting teens can suck the energy right out of you. Like you I’m tired, trying to manage a business, my own health, another child and then this teen. Your body becomes a battleground as you try to manage it all. Unfortunately a nap and a nice snack doesn’t always cut it, particularly when you are already in the throws of your own hormonal fun park.
Eir Women’s guide to helping manage ‘teen-raising’ stress
Here are my top tips:
1. Prioritize Your Mental Health:
Your mental health is like a superhero cape – wear it proudly. Your secret weapon against the teenage eye roll. Consider including mindfulness practices, meditation, or therapy to manage the emotional toll and strengthen your mental fabric. I try to meditate every morning before I start shouting at the boys to get ready for school. It's a habit I've built this year, even if it means I'm up at 5.30am, and it has definitely made a different. Balance right?
2. Physical Wellness for Resilience:
Jumping through so many varied parenting hoops requires laser focus and energy. Keep up with some regular #exercise (even walking will do), nutritious meals, and, of course, get your sleep under control. Really think about your sleep hygiene now so that your sleep is quality. Both Show Up and Reboot are excellent to support energy, stress and sleep.
3. Connect with Support Systems:
Grab your parent pals, hit the coffee shop, and swap stories. Venting with others who get it is like a group therapy session, minus the awkward silence. You might find you’re all shouting over each other with stories. Find a way to laugh about the craziness of it all. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
4. Set Realistic Expectations:
Repeat after me: "I am not a superhero; I am a parent." We all stuff things up. I sent my 10 year old to school in the wrong uniform yesterday. I honestly can’t remember everything. Nor should I have to. Our kids have diaries, email and phones. It’s about time they took some responsibility for themselves. Setting realistic expectations will save you from the stress of trying to do it all. You're doing amazing.
So they tell us… (does anyone know how long I'm in this for?)
Embrace the chaos, sneak in some self-care, and remember, this too shall pass. Grab the cuddles when you can, throw some food in their room when they’re awful and know it won’t last forever.
For an extra boost of resilience, don’t forget to keep Eir by your side. We’re your partners in teen-busting.
Show Up: Balance hormones, calm the stress and anxiety and evaporate brain fog.
Reboot: Will help you sleep longer and get to sleep quicker, calm the rage and relax the body and mind.
Zipped: There for you when you feel like chasing chocolate to get you through the day.
And for a total self-care package, you can purchase Triple Threat Bundle for $149
Good luck, I'll be thinking of you.