As a first time mom, way back when we just had magazines and no blogs;), I remember all the articles on self-care for new moms. As a mom to a newborn, you were to try to get sleep when your little one was sleeping to make sure your body was getting enough rest. And the ideas continued forward to the toddler years. But somehow the closer your kids get to adulthood the self-care ideas seem less helpful for moms of tweens and teens, as if taking care of tweens and teens only requires a large amount of wine and sarcasm. Those may help you, but what does a mom really need to care for herself as her kids get older? What do YOU truly need to refresh and be the best mom to your tweens and teenagers? Here are some self-care ideas for moms of teens and tweens that are tailored just for YOU, the brave mom to teenagers!!
Self-Care Ideas for Moms of Teens and Tweens
There are many wonderful self-care ideas for women and moms. But I want to zero in on ideas for the mom on the front lines of raging hormones, crippling emotions, staggering failures and dramatic days! The #momtoteens and #parentingtweens moms!
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You are Still the Mom Expert
Before I was on Pinterest, I had NO idea that there were so many mom bloggers writing on breastfeeding, pregnancy and dealing with toddler temper tantrums. But try finding just your average mom writing about raising teens, and it gets a little harder. Why do we suddenly act like other moms who have been there have less to offer during the teenager years?
Now, I am glad we have lots of “experts” on how to raise a teenager such a teachers, counselors, parenting coaches and family resources. But remember you are still the mom expert on YOUR teen! So don’t shift to the back seat.
Find a few trusted mentors, mom bloggers, podcasts or authors that seem to fit with your values and goals for your child! Work with the adults in your child’s life. Create your own team of experts where you can glean information but also grow as a mom. Stay in the driver seat as a parent and utilize resources but in a way the values YOU as a mom! YOU know your teen the best!
Divide the Household Chores with Your Teenagers
When your baby was small, you did everything for them. They were helpless and needed you for everything. OK, flash forward 12 years! If you are still doing everything for your not so little human it can feel like you have a 100 lb baby strapped to your back. Put that baby down and let them GROW UP!
So many parents are exhausted because they are still doing everything in the household PLUS dealing with a teenager. One of the biggest self-care ideas for moms of teens and teens is to expect more from your teens!
Need a few tips? Read here on How to Avoid Raising an Entitled Teen.
Yes, it can be very hard to retrain your kids to help if they are use to you doing everything. And it is quite the challenge to sit on your hands mentally and allow your kids to do a less than perfect job. But if you don’t start dividing the responsibility it will stay overwhelming.
Avoid Exhaustion as a Mom of Teenagers by Not Rescuing your Teen
Nothing will bring you to the brink of exhaustion like taking on someone else’s problem! When you decide to take more and more responsibility for your teenager’s work and problems you are loading yourself with double the amount of responsibility you were meant to handle. PLUS you can’t control or fix the problem…as it was NOT yours in the first place!!
One of the hardest but most practical self-care tips for moms of teens is to stop rescuing your teen!
Now, I know that we are still responsible for our teen, in the eyes of the law and from a good parent’s perspective. But a good leader and coach does not get in there and do the work for the person. Have you ever seen an Olympic COACH make it to the Olympic team and compete? No, of course not! The coach is there to teach, train and set goals with the athlete.
For example, in the classes I lead, we encourage parents to stop being their kid’s morning alarm clock. It turns into this battle where the parent becomes more and more anxious about being able to wake the teen up and get them to school. The teen then sets themselves against the parent, resisting getting up, knowing that the parent will cover for them or let them stay home.
Practice good self-care by not rescuing your teenager.
Say No to Too Many Activities to Care for Yourself as a Mom
The pressure can way heavily on a mom of teens as it feels like every moment counts toward your child’s future success.
Should you sign them up for that extra ACT practice class? Would it be better to push them to try out for the traveling sport team? What classes should they really be taking in high school to get into the best college? What do I do if my kid doesn’t even want to go to college?
Ugh!! So many concerns and decisions that all feel so crucial. It makes you wish you could go back to only worrying about finding the perfect sippy cup.
You can’t do it all. And honestly you don’t need to. Listen to all the information, consider the options and talk with other moms. Next, take into consideration your child’s giftings and dreams and your goals as a family. And then make the best decision you know to make.
Lastly, give yourself some breathing room! Great self- care is reminding yourself that you are doing your best. You have made a “good” decision with your teen. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Practice Self-Care as a Mom by Being OK When Your Teen’s Isn’t
This has been my biggest struggle as a parent. I want to be there for my kids emotionally. As a mom, I want my kids to feel listened to and heard.
But I have discovered there is a line. It is OK to be happy even when my teen is not happy. If they are anxious or depressed or angry about something, I can step into the emotion with them. But then it is healthy and good to step out of it too. After all, what good am I doing my family if I am stay in that constant state of negative emotion.
The only way I know to truly help my teen is to have times when I am fine, and I step away from the negative emotion they are feeling. I add balance to them and perspective by showing that though life is hard, we can move forward.
Self-Care for Moms of Teens and Tweens is Recharging Emotionally
Sometimes the problems of adulthood and motherhood are overwhelming. It can be tempting to just turn to those activities that numb the pain or are mindless, especially as our kids start to face problems we never imagined or even worse face the same fears we did! We can feel so under prepared and stressed!
Make time for self-care habits that restore. What relaxes you? When do you feel truly recharged? Are there certain activities that calm you?
Now that your kids are older there is no reason to not build small moments into your day for self-care.
I LOVE my quiet morning routine to read, write and reflect over a cup of tea. Find what restores you and make space for it in your life. You truly do need it!
Feel stressed all the time? Read here for 8 Positive Coping Skills to Crush Anxiety and Stress.
Personal Interests and Hobbies are Important for Self-Care as a Mom
Your kids are growing up! I remember when our oldest entered high school. It was a bit of a shock realizing that they would be an adult in 4 short years.
Start now preparing for the next stage by connecting or reconnecting with a hobby. Is there something you have been interested in learning? Do you have a passion that you have never made time to pursue?
Now, I know that the tween and teen years can be extremely busy with activities and driving your license-less teens to jobs. But do you have an hour here or there as you wait on your kid to finish up at work or sport practice? Find books, blogs or podcasts on your favorite topic and start learning:)
I was so excited when I discovered that I could download a podcast player from Google Play, such as Podcast Player, onto my phone and start listening away…for FREE!
Read this post 50 Empty Nest Hobby Ideas from Laura at Almost Empty Nest
Stay Connected to a Few Trusted Mom Friends
During the tween and teenage years things certainly change. Your child clearly starts to become their own separate person. It doesn’t feel right to keep talking and sharing everything about your kids on Facebook or to your general friend group.
At times, it can feel very lonely as a mom to teenagers. Your kids are coming to you with BIG problems and feelings, and you are there for them. But then who is there for you?
It feels like it would be breaking your kids trust to share what is going on with your family. I mean, after all, we aren’t talking anymore about , “Why won’t my toddler sleep through the night.” Now it’s ,”What do I do when my tween talks about hurting themselves?” or “How do I handle my teen punching holes in the wall?”
Find a couple trusted friends to share the deeper and often serious issues of raising your teenagers. This is ONE of my best self care ideas for moms of teens and tweens. YOU need to have that. While I think it would be wrong to share your teenager’s problems with everyone, I think it is just as unhealthy to act like everything is OK when it is not. So find your support team who love you and are cheering for your kids.
It is such a relief to be able to share some of what is truly going on in my family with a couple trusted friends. They offer me a sympathetic and encouraging ear, an opportunity for perspective and a “no judgement” zone. They refill me so I can keep being the best mom possible for my family!
Make Time to Date Your Spouse
OK, you have no excuse. Your kids are old enough to stay home alone for a few hours. Go out with your spouse on a date.
You once craved that alone time with your spouse. But now life feels too busy. And date night may even feel less important since you could technically go out whenever you wanted. But do you?
PIN for LATER!
Be intentional and give time to this important relationship. There is a big difference between talking hurriedly between evening actvities or collapsing on the couch to watch TV after a long day and actually going on a date. When you go on a date you give yourself time to talk about what you have been thinking and to listen to your spouse’s thoughts.
Reconnect. You need that intimate connection, your marriage needs it and your family benefits immensely from a strong, connected parent team!
Care for Yourself as a Mom of Teenagers by Praying
Your teenagers are making so many little decisions that can have some BIG consequences. It’s enough to freak a mom out! So make time to pray or mentally let go of this idea that you are in control.
We want to be best mom for our kids and to train them to make good decisions. But at the end of the day there is so much that is OUT of our control. Make peace with that by praying for God to guide your kids or by acknowledging your fears and then letting them go.
How to Care for Yourself as Mom of Teens and Tweens
- Remember you are still the Mom Expert and very important.
- Make sure the household chores are divided in the home.
- Stop rescuing your teen. Support them but allow them to fail.
- Learn to say “No” to too many activities for your teen.
- Make time to truly emotionally recharge
- Connect or reconnect to a hobby
- Develop a few close mom friendships
- Make time for date nights with your spouse
- Pray for your teenagers as you recognize fears you may be having.
Heather bee says
Girl, your post today was just what I needed! Trying to balance adjusting to working again and taking care of my family has been challenging, but I love these ideas you’ve written down here. Thank you for the reminder to take care of myself from time to time!
So glad you found a little encouragement in the post! Yes, your life has become much busier. I’m sure it will take time to figure out what you need from yourself and from your family during this season in life.
I really needed to read this today. I am a stepmom – but a fulltime stepmom at that, so I have a very busy life and zero downtime with a 13 year old. He means the world to me and I would do anything for him, but I know I need to pull back sometimes. He also stays up later now and I usually go to sleep after him so I can tuck him in (yes he still wants that and I’ll take it for as long as I can lol). But, last night I actually went to sleep early and read a book before bed. I needed it – but still felt guilty. Ugh! I need to learn.
You are busy Yolanda! You give to your business and your family so you have to create space to recharge so that you can continue to give! Sometimes deliberately planning to go to bed early a few nights or setting aside specific time to read can alleviate some of the guilt as you are doing what you “planned” ahead to do:) And by caring for ourselves we are setting a good example for our kids that self-care is healthy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.