Parenting another adult is something I wasn’t prepared for. There is no manual to help you parent a teenager. When I look for the usual support network of blogs, forums, Facebook groups, magazine articles many are not speaking to me. There seem to be twenty billion baby blogs, and books in shops discussing bedtime routines, what to feed babies and so on.
Those baby stages pass so quickly and whilst sleep deprivation is a real thing, babies are pretty predictable. If you feed them and carry out the physical care you are pretty much on track for keeping them alive. Swap that for teenage hormones, teenage attitudes and growing independence and that is when you really need support. Believe me, I have been there! Twice now.
There is so much to worry about with parenting teenagers, the emotional ups and downs cannot be predicted. A baby is totally reliant on you as the caregiver and whilst it is exhausting they don’t challenge your authority, they don’t disappear off for hours on end.
When parenting a little person I used to look forward to the next stage. It seemed that I had so much time and so many decisions I would be able to make. I could decide which school they would attend, I had time to get them involved in the sports I thought they might enjoy. I was always aware of how much time I had with them. A childhood stretched out in front of me.
Yet now I am painfully aware of how little time I have with my eldest. My first born is already 18, that happened in the blink of an eye and I really don’t know where that time has gone. University is beckoning and soon she will heading off to new adventures.
I have mixed emotions about it, I have done what I can to prepare her for independent living. I have invested heavily in her. There have been times we have argued and I have been cross with myself questioning whether I handled it right.
As the weekend rolls around I go to sleep whilst she is ‘out out’. I think I won’t sleep until I hear her key in the door. But I do. And then I wake in a panic is she home? The snow fell recently and I was worried about whose car she was in. If she was driving I worried whether she had the experience required, if a passenger did her friend have any experience. Life parenting an 18 year old is not easy. I am winging it mainly, aware that time is precious.
A levels are hard and with it comes the emotional up and downs. Some days she has ‘got it down’ and then the next she is sure she will fail and end up working in a shop for the rest of her life! On these days I want to wrap her up and nuzzle her in my arms once more. But she doesn’t fit now. She cannot climb into my lap whilst I stroke her hair telling her it will be ok. Instead, I make a hot chocolate and we chat.
Just recently she has been finding it hard to sleep, to relax. I do mum things like giving her the Feather and Down pillow spray which is a combining a relaxing infusion of lavender and chamomile essential oils, the Feather & Down ‘sweet dreams’ Pillow Spray helps to reduce an anxious mind and encourage calm to aid a restful night’s sleep. It smells divine and has been helping her relax. The spray was also recently awarded ‘Best New Health & Wellbeing Product’ at the Beauty Awards with OK! Magazine, as voted for by readers. It is all I can do really to reassure her I am here. That I am supporting her through the hell that is A Levels. There are other products too like the shower creme, it is a bit of luxury in a bottle, I tell Chloe it will wash the stress away and it does somewhat. Last year I wrote a post on how to help teenagers sleep. I remind her of the basics.
There is no manual, no guide to follow. There are not lots of other bloggers writing about this phase and it can be difficult. I’m lucky with good kids but I still want to read about others experiences. I want to know I am not alone in this aspect of parenting.
Every day now, time is on my mind. The time I have left, making the most of the days she is still here. This weekend is Mothers Day and next year it is highly unlikely she will wake up at home on Mothers Day, she will be living somewhere else then. Time is racing. As a parent, I have prepared my teen to fly the nest. The nest I lovingly made but it leaves me with unease, I wonder if my home will feel complete when she doesn’t wake up here every day.