Parenting has been a journey that has taken me places I never expected to go . We love our children and support them in all they do. Nobody teaches us how to parent or love on our children, we learn from example, maybe some reading or courses, otherwise we are kinda winging it! We don’t necessarily have the tools to deal with some of the issues that arise. For us, we ended up in therapy for 10+ years to explore tools and communication skills to keep our family together.
Teen years are tumultuous for the average teen. The breaking away from parents and family is relatively normal. The challenge is when you pepper the experience with the mental illness and/or drugs it can be disastrous and excruciatingly painful. We all prepare to launch our kids out into the world, off to college, or exciting job opportunities. We ramp up to the letting go and watching them fly, proudly cheering them on and supporting them wildly….all while missing them immensely.
So, what happens when there is no ramping up, or when there is failure to thrive? What happens when the societal expectations of teens is ravaged by mental health issues? Or as I write this global pandemic? Anxiety and depression seems to be rampant among our teens along with self medicating. What if there is more significant mental illness involved? What happens when they are also struggling with gender and/or sexuality issues? As parents….we still love them. Though as teens they don’t always love us, or respect us, or want to be with us.
We belong to so many groups that are supportive of parents on these more challenging journeys. The parents who have “lost” their teens, who are disconnected physically or emotionally from their teens, who are abused by or hated by their teens. The parents that are struggling financially, emotionally , physically themselves because they have given so much to supporting their teens and young adults. Because 18 is not a magic number, it is not a definitive line in the sand that deems our children “adulthood” on an emotional level. More often than not, 18 “adulting” still requires significant financial and emotional support for a healthy stable 18 year old.
We have lots of safe spaces to vent about our kids and the challenges with our families, to get info on programs, or gain perspective on treatment options. I desired to create a space to focus on what we need as mamas to take care of us.
you have given so much of yourself away in raising kids
you have given up your career or have put your goals on hold in order to hold things down at home
the wear and tear of chronic stress has taken a toll on your physical body
you struggle to maintain emotional wellness
your energy, sleep, hormones are all wonky
you heart is torn and your relationships are strained- sometimes it feels like your friends and family don’t “get it” because their family seems “normal” or “healthy”.
you don’t take vacations or time away for yourself where you can breathe easy and relax...you are always ON- and self care….it’s possibly not even on the radar
The greatest common denominator I see among these fierce mamas is that our hearts are huge and wide open to the possibilities of “saving” our kids. (Even though they may be 13 or 18 or 25….they are still our “kids.”)
The ONE thing I know for sure is that we may not be able to “save our kids” and we MUST be able to save ourselves. No matter what happens, we need to take care of ourselves. We must love ourselves.