I’ve been told a lot of things about having a teenager. I was warned about the hormone swings. I was told about the attitude. I was given great advice about choosing my battles.
But nobody told me it would be lonely.
Nobody told me that many of my mom friends would go back to work and with the schedules of teenagers who can’t drive that we would see each other once every three months even though we live down the street from each other. Nobody told me that being the mom of a teenager would be as isolating as being the mother of a newborn was.
Nobody told me it would be hard to find five minutes to do anything for myself. Nobody told me that in a time when I needed the support of other moms more than ever, that support would be harder to find.
Because this is the truth about having teenagers: They suck almost as much of your time as a newborn does (but at least they sleep through the night). And they take a whole lot more of your emotional energy than younger kids do.
At the same time, a lot of the mommy support system you had in the elementary years changes. There are no more playdates where the moms sit around and talk while the kids play. There are fewer school activities that require your presence where you can interact with other parents. There are simply fewer opportunities to surround yourself with other moms who are dealing with the same things you are.
And you can end up feeling all alone.
We all need support. We can’t do this motherhood thing on our own. We need other moms who are striving to raise Christ-following kids to share our struggles and our victories with. We need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and a friend to laugh with. No matter what age our kids are, we need community with other moms.
As the ages and stages of our kids change, though, our community often changes. When that happens, it can be easy to step back and decide we don’t have the energy or the time to create a new community. It can be too easy to simply try to go it alone. And that doesn’t help us be good moms. When we go it alone, we’re relying on ourselves — on our own energy and wisdom. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough of either one to be a good mom for very long.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us that even God knows we need community. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who fall and has no one to help them up.”
I’ve been in a season where I’ve been trying go it alone. I’ve been trying to do this mom thing without a good support system in place. I don’t recommend it. It will leave you feeling burnt out and frustrated.
But what do you do when your community changes? You build new community. You reestablish relationships that have fallen to the side, and you look for new ones. I guarantee that there are plenty of women in the same stage of life as you who are feeling as isolated and frustrated as you are. Reach out to them. Form a group that meets regularly for the purpose of simply sharing your struggles and victories as a mom and praying over your children. Find another mom to walk with or go to coffee with regularly. Reach out a hand of friendship to someone else. You’ll be surprised at how many other moms are feeling the same way you are.
Create community around you because being a mom shouldn’t be lonely.