The Mid-Parenting Crisis

I’m brainstorming here. I’d like this to be well thought out resonating post of parenting rationalization but the truth is that I’m sitting at my desk shocked by interactions that have taken place between myself and my teenage daughter in the past week, things that have come out of nowhere.

I know that over the past year I’ve come to a sort of mid-life-crisis in parenting similar to that of the 40 year old man that is mid-life minus the new Porsche and Viagra. My daughter is turning 16 in a few weeks and with two years left before the world sees her as an adult (which is WTF for another time, because really calling them adults at 18 makes my brain asplode). But in the past year while dealing with the thought of her spreading her wings I’ve realized that there was so much left to teach her, and so many things I did wrong over parenting that I wish I could delete. While she turned out miraculously amazing, especially for being raised by a teenage mom, I effed up on my part in more ways than I can count. There just isn’t enough time to correct those errors, not enough time to teach her to cook and mow the lawn and fix the car and change air filters and apply for jobs and interview and … and I’m in a panic. It’s almost over and I didn’t do these things. So I’m scurrying to correct, show, train – all the while she’s in a mid-teen-crisis of realizing that she’s nearly 16 and old enough to make her own decisions. She’s ready to have her own ideas and do what she wants to do, she knows everything, I’m stupid.  Suddenly she feels as big as a bear, inferior, and full of teenage sarcasm and attitude. The way she has spoken to me in the past week has caused me to show great restrain because if she were an adult, I might just lay her on her ass.

But she’s my kid. My baby. The one that I have done everything that I can for, for almost 16 years, the one that I cried for,prayed for and worked for.

I have to remind myself of this because when I look at her with that teenage rage, I can’t seem to find my baby anywhere in her face.

With this great combination of my mid-parenting crisis and her new found mid-teenage-crisis spinning in to a whirlwind of chaos and arguments and tears and disappointment our life has been turmoil the past year but man, it’s been sheer hell for the past week.

A whole week. A week out of being under the same roof, as mommy and daughter that we will never get back, because the days aren’t stopping.

And I can’t figure out where her anger is coming from, the same that I can’t find the “soft side” of me that I’ve always had in parenting that would put an end to all of this, pull her into my lap and fix this, like I used to be able to.

For the first time in all of my parenting, I don’t like being a mom right now. It’s harder than I thought, but at the very same time, I love being a mom and I wish it weren’t almost over.

I’m a complete and total mess.

And in 4 more years, I’ll have another 16 year old. Someone hold me.


31 responses to “The Mid-Parenting Crisis

  1. You are a great mom. She is a great girl. We might fail some moments…but God’s grace is new every day. He will see both of you through this trying time.

  2. oh there is still time … to love it and hate it.
    I was at this point when my “friend” (this is what I called her when I was the 18 year old slinging her around on my hip) turned 16, and then again at 18! now she is 20, and she still calls to tell me that she is going out after work, to ASK permission to sleep over at her friend’s house, and to find out if I am making dinner.
    sometimes it totally stinks. sometimes it’s awesome. the fights still suck, but she if she takes half the stand with any man in her life that she does with me? she’s gonna be okay

    good luck!!

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  4. I have a 16-year-old boy. With behavioral and emotional problems. He’s over 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds. He’s an adult sized 5-year-old (emotionally) with bucket loads of teen angst.

    If you figure out what to do, drop me a line because some days it’s all I can do not to lay him out.

  5. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. I hope that you and your daughter can figure it out, and if not, just remember that they’re only teenagers once, and that this too will pass. *hugs*

  6. you can’t–and won’t–and don’t have to–teach her everything before she leaves the nest. a lot of things she’ll learn from someone else, a lot of things she’ll figure out on her own. we did, right? when i moved into my first (shithole) apartment at the ripe ol’ age of 17, i thought i knew everything. i didn’t know shit. but i learned. and i survived. somehow, we all do. you’ve done right by her up to this point, so pat yourself on the back because she’s got a better foundation than most kids leave home with.

    • You’re right. I didn’t know how to cook a grilled cheese when I got my first (equally ghetto) apartment. Somehow I’m the best damn grilled cheese maker there ever was. I think she might have hope!

  7. I feel this way sometimes, too, and my oldest is 10. She’s clearly starting through puberty and I’m not ready! We haven’t done enough little kid things, besides the fact that I just don’t know how to talk to her about some of this stuff. And the fact that I fight with her like I do with no one else in the world. Did I mention she’s already 10? So now I know we’ll get it all figured out by the time she’s 16 🙂

  8. “I can’t seem to find my baby anywhere in her face.”…this exact line is something I fear when my boys turn into teens.

    As for what you’re going through? I believe it to be perfectly normal. Didn’t we all have fights with our parents and think they were pretty much the dumbest people on the planet at one point in our lives? I don’t know if that makes it any easier to deal with but I hope this helps a little!

  9. Oh, boy. I wish I had some sage advice for you, but alas, my kids are still little. I remember being that teenager. All I can say is that it does pass. Think about the pressure of school, the difficulty of fitting in with peers, the confusion of growing up, of no longer being a child but not yet an adult. I hope that soon, the two of you can mend what’s been broken this week.

  10. I so wish I could offer some tidbit of advice, as a mother. I can’t, as I don’t have teenagers… yet (ohmygod).

    But, having BEEN a teen, and one who at 16, didn’t like herself much and always thought that her parents didn’t understand her, I can tell you this. This too, shall pass. It’s a passage of life your daughter has to go through, has to experience. Anger is the easiest emotion teenagers grasp and hang on to. Don’t react the same way, you know the better. Be the adult. Be calm. Be there for her but don’t stand too close.

    Does that help?

  11. I know! My kid is going to be 16 in June, full of willful independence, and impulsivity at the same time. And there’s SO much left to teach him. But he’s not really “teachable” at this point in his life because he allegedly knows it all.

    I’m more worried about him leaving the nest in 2.5 years than I was about keeping him away from electrical outlets and hot pans on the stove. At least then, I can some control. 😦

  12. Oh, wow – I hear you. Sending you a virtual Valium.
    My kid just this week started really morphing into a tween – with attitude. And just like you I couldn’t find signs of “my baby” anywhere in her face or growing=up body and so I looked and looked at her baby photos,, and remembered.
    The anger is allegedly part of the teenager’s developmental need to separate from us. I’m sure you know that. They are like boomerangs though – they will come back around.
    Just wait til she has her own kids. You’ll look back at this time and thank F. it’s over!

  13. Oh man, all I have to say is thanks for the heads up! My girls are 3 1/2 and 2 next Friday, and you made me shake in my boots! God Speed!

  14. 16 was the big age for me and my sisters to have some teenage anger towards my mom. Mom said that it lasted a couple of months. I believe that we were feeling like we had more privileges, we were 16… we could do what we want, go where we want. But that wasn’t the case and it took a few months to realize that. If we were still under our parents roof, then we still did have to listen to them. I’m sure she loves you with ALL her heart and right now she’s probably just struggling with trying to find her own identity…but scared of being a big girl at the same time. Just show her love. That’s what I will always remember about my mom when I was being a pain in the a$$. She was always still so nice to me.

  15. Gosh I feel you. I ask “Where is my baby?” all the time, especially when she is rolling her eyes at me and stomping off and telling me, “No, I don’t need you to comb my hair,” when, yeah. You really do. You’re no different from any other. And I’m 49 2/3 years old. I still learn from my mom every day.

  16. Shannon from mynewfavoriteday

    I want to give you a giant hug! I am far behind you but in kids years it won’t be long or long enough. The ones you do everything for and then they become mini adults and yet not anywhere near being an adult. To think my minis will one day say the “h” word to me or that they will look at me with disgust makes me sick and terrified. But yet, we have all run this gauntlet and our parents love us and most of us love them with greater understanding. Good luck…channel your mini or as she was a mini at least it will be good for a smile as she curses you for not letting her drive the car!

  17. Well, if it’s any consolation, I still call my mom to learn from her and she’s 70 and I’m…closer to 70 than I am to 16, how about that? And between the ages of 15 & about 20, I thought she pretty much sucked, had totally fucked up, wrecked me life, and etc etc etc. Eye-roll, tooth-suck, sarcastic, flouncing around missypants, c’est moi. Blech. It’s amazing she didn’t slap me. When I hit thirty, I actually apologized to her for my entire adolescent existence. So there you go. If the groundwork of friendship is there…it will still be there. Take heart. If you’re worried about it, you’re probably doing a pretty good job. it’s the people who think that they’re doing it all perfectly who are truly screwing it all up.

  18. chosenchaosblog

    “I have to remind myself of this because when I look at her with that teenage rage, I can’t seem to find my baby anywhere in her face.”
    This part reminded me of the scene from Hook where they are searching for Pan in his face… it’s there. I’m too far from my own being teens to offer any parenting advice. But I do remember being the 16 year old you are referring to – not so much being that person but the knife I wedged between myself and my mother. I don’t like to remember it. Know that she doesn’t like it, that she feels badly. Holding.

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