I’m Exhausted Being the Mom of a Teen Daughter

Here I sit in the family room, where at one time giggles and fun buzzed through the air. Toys would litter the floor and my main concern would be not to step on a Lego. Cares were simple and hurts easily fixed with a bandaid.

I was her person; the best person in the world for her. The love was abundant in her gaze on me. I mourn those days. Although it wasn’t that long ago, it seems like an eternity.

Now, my 18 year old and I sit in the same room in silent contempt. She’s angry with me with a fiery passion for something I did that she doesn’t understand, or something I should have done or said. I must be wrong again or I must be stupid. She won’t look at me, talk to me or share a caring thought with me.

It’s hard being the mom of an 18-year old daughter. (Shutterstock fizkes)

My daughter won’t engage with me

She responds to me with one word answers when I try to strike up a conversation. Every day, her moods are like playing the game BeanBoozled. Am I going to get the key lime pie jellybean or the barf one today? I can’t predict the day, hour or minute.

It is exhausting trying to navigate each day of being a mom of an 18 year old girl. Day in and day out, I continue to press on. I make her lunch, buy her favorite snack, try to ask about her day. I care. I’m still her mom. It breaks my heart to see what our relationship has become. I feel unimportant to her, a nonperson in her eyes.

Sometimes the haunting thought enters my mind of running away. I think more moms feel this way than don’t at times. We tend not to share these creeping thoughts because they are interpreted as weakness, instability or craziness.

We keep posting happy pictures on social media

No, some of us just post happy pictures to social media if we have them. But maybe you’re like me and don’t take pictures anymore because the request is always met with resistance or an insult about your photography skills. I long for the days where mommaratzi was allowed to take endless pictures and my daughter would pose.

Some days are just plain exhausting and sad, heartbreaking. But we as moms, continue to press on…hoping…praying. Maybe one day we see glimpses of the spunky, fun and loving daughter with whom I used to share this family room space. Most days I wish that we could go back to the time when there was not this space that separates us now.

I am told our teens will return to us at some point

I am told that one day these teens will arise from their funk and return to their moms. I don’t know if that is true. I’m hoping for that key lime jellybean. Maybe it might return more often than that puke one does. I keep hoping.

So, to the tired mamas of those teens ready to fly, please continue to hope with me. Keep pressing on until they return to you. Find a mama in the same boat and share those feelings of exhaustion and heartache, we need each other.

It’s OK to feel down. It’s OK to disappear and run away for a bit, as long as you come back. To all the mamas giving us hope that these teenagers will emerge as kind and gracious humans, don’t forget that we need to hear that but we also need to hear that you remember those dark days, long and never-ending.

Help us know we aren’t alone and that this isn’t forever.

More Great Reading:

Parenting My Teens Has Been The Loneliest I’ve Ever Felt As A Mom

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Grown and Flown

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.