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Work Life Balance as a Mother of Teens


My middle child turned 13 yesterday. I am now the mother of two teenagers. That feels strange to say out loud. I've successfully transitioned through the crunch years when my three babies needed so much from their mother and guilt was a way of life. I remember how tough I thought it was to juggle deadlines and diapers. My first two kids are a  year apart and it was the pre-laptop days. Driving home after a long day at work, stuck in traffic, knowing they might go to bed before I saw them was heartbreaking. Even worse, I remember walking in the front door, greeting them and getting a phone call from my editor with questions about my story that I filed on deadline. A toddler just doesn't understand that mom is home but needs to go to a quiet part of the house to talk on the phone. Oh, how I wanted the balancing act to get easier.

The good news for us working moms:  It gets a little easier in some ways and more difficult in other ways.  At some point our kids can drive themselves to the various activities they want to participate in. Teens understand that mom is on deadline and needs to shut the door to her office. But I realize now that being there for a teenager at the precise moment he or she needs you or wants to open up about a day's event is critical.

 As a working mother, parenting teens and finding work life balance is a completely different ballgame and it isn't the easy street I envisioned. I have to make pockets of time to push myself into my teens lives to mold them and have those conversations about texting, talking to adults with respect, and being a good friend. I have to worry about what classes my kids sign up for and whether their grades will be good enough to get into the college of their choice. I have to hold my ground about them seeing R movies when "every one else's parents let them." This is not easy stuff. Many days, I wish my son was on the floor having a two-year-old temper tantrum instead of fighting with me over whether he can buy a violent video game with his own money.

Yet, with my daughter entering high school this year, I can see the day in the near future when one by one, my kids leave the nest and my work life balancing act enters an entirely different phase. So I plod through these teen years, trying to tip my energy in favor of my kids as much as possible, and be there for them, even when they don't act like they want me to be.  I no longer feel guilty over being a working parent. But finding balance through the teen years is difficult. I wonder what the rest of you parents of teens think. Is finding the balance between work and family more difficult when you're raising teens or do you think the baby-toddler stage still ranks as the toughest?







Comments

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Michelle L.

Thanks for the insightful information. Parenting pre-teens and teens is overwhelming for me, and I always appreciate great advice from those who have been through what I am going through.

I've started a blog about my own journey through the teen years at http://www.INeedSupernanny.blogspot.com The title sort of sums up how things are going in my house!

Raquel A

Cindy, as always your insight is inspirational and it allows other moms not to feel they are alone in their experiences. I too have a 13 year old and to me these are the years she needs me the most because because of peer pressure and other influences. Thus, I have to balance my work more so I have time to listen to how her day was or her friend that was mean to her or a boy that she likes. I have to make extra effort to be there for her even though I am working or traveling from Miami to get to her soccer game.
Thank you for knowing how to reach us and know what we are going through and provide some support and guidance!

toni

You are so right Cindy. I am now single Mom to a 16 year old girl and 17 year old boy..and every day is a new lesson in teen time - and i thought toddler years were crazy! Thanks for the insight and reminder that all Mom's out there can find comfort in knowing you aren't alone!

Cindy Goodman

It's great to hear that other parents feel the same way. Thanks for your comments.

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