Welcome to a new chapter in the motherhood journey - the teenage years. As a working Mum with teenagers, you're likely experiencing a mix of emotions, from pride in their growing independence to concern about the challenges they face. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of having teenagers who are more independent, while also acknowledging the crucial role you play in supporting them through this pivotal stage of life.
The Joys of Independence
One of the perks of having teenagers is witnessing their increased independence. They can take care of themselves, manage their schedules, and contribute more to household responsibilities. This newfound autonomy allows you, as a working Mum, to focus on your career with a bit more flexibility. I can even now rely on my daughter, who is 15, to look after my son, 13 - sometimes I pay her just to seal the deal !
The Balancing Act
But it's still not a walk in the park, even with help. While teenagers are becoming more self-sufficient, it's essential to strike a balance. As they navigate relationships, sexual issues, and academic challenges like revision and exams, your role as a supportive and understanding figure becomes more critical than ever. My son has learning difficulties and if he has had a bad day at school, he needs to download that pretty much as soon as he gets home - which he considers to be his safe place. I really try my hardest to be there at this crucial time at least 3 days a week.
Being Present for the Tough Stuff
The teenage years bring with them exposure to new and potentially risky experiences, such as vaping, smoking, drinking, and drugs. Your presence during this time is paramount. By being actively involved in your teenagers' lives, you can better observe changes in behaviour and provide guidance when needed. I really cherish dinner time at my house with my two kids; they tell me stuff; they tell each other stuff. The table seems to represent something; it's like a mini meeting. I never want it to end but, soon enough, they both slope off to their rooms to do their own thing . . .
Make your home a safe space for open conversations. Teenagers may be hesitant to discuss sensitive topics, but knowing you're available and non-judgmental can encourage them to reach out when facing difficult decisions or challenges. I will often start conversations and use the tricky words first - it kinds makes them safe for the kids to use. Words like sex and drugs and condoms - all things that I know they talk about so I try and make it safe for them to speak about it at home.
Monitoring Changes in Behaviour
As teenagers explore their identity and face external influences, being attuned to changes in behavior is crucial. Whether it's sudden mood swings, academic struggles, or shifts in social circles, your presence allows you to address issues proactively. We can't always be there; get real! But I have found that being tuned into my kids' personality changes gives me a clue that something deeper is going on.
The Importance of Support
Teenagers are on the brink of adulthood, and the decisions they make now can shape their future. Your support and guidance provide a solid foundation, helping them navigate the complexities of adolescence and make informed choices.
Navigating the uncertainties of the teenage years can sometimes feel like walking on a tightrope, requiring a delicate balance between work commitments and the evolving needs of your teenagers. It's crucial to recognise that your workplace plays a pivotal role in this delicate equilibrium. Don't hesitate to have an open and honest conversation with your manager about the challenges and joys of being a Mum to teenagers. Requesting more flexibility at work can be a game-changer, allowing you to be there for your children during crucial moments.
Many employers understand the importance of a work-life balance, especially during phases as significant as the teenage years. Having the confidence to express your needs and propose solutions, such as flexible work hours or remote options, can lead to a more supportive work environment that empowers you to excel both as a professional and as a dedicated Mum. Remember, it's not just about finding the balance but creating an environment where both your work and family responsibilities can flourish harmoniously.
Working as a Mum during your children's teenage years is a unique journey filled with both joys and challenges.
While their growing independence may give you more professional freedom, your presence and support remain vital. Embrace the opportunity to be a source of guidance, understanding, and love during this transformative stage, knowing that your role is indispensable in helping your teenagers navigate the complexities of adolescence and emerge as confident, responsible individuals.
And remember . . . we were teenagers once too !!!!