Friday, November 27, 2009

Prayer of a Mother of Teenage Boys

Dear God,

Now that my boys are teenagers, I am keenly aware of what an embarrassment I am to them. These are the years where I am supposed to become invisible, but I find that task to be impossible. I can manage it when I am cross and irritable; then it’s easy to be silent and unnoticeable, in fact, invisibility is what I most desire at those times.

But when I’m happy and joyful, becoming invisible is impossible. My entire being wants to passionately cry out with love and joy to you. I want to let my happiness show in singing, dancing, shouting and laughter. I want everyone to join in my joy. How can I help but sing along with the radio when such a fun, old-fashioned folk song like “La Cucaracha” comes on while I’m driving my children to school? That song was just meant for exuberant singing! How was I to know that at that moment when I would be so caught up in joyful singing, my son’s friends would all be standing outside watching as we pulled up to the school?

These are the moments when I see horrified looks cross my son’s faces and I hear them mutter under their breath, “Please Mom, people are looking at you!” It’s funny, but it seems like only yesterday when they were toddlers and I would mutter those same words to them when they would act up or throw temper tantrums in public.

I understand how they feel, so why is it so hard for me to control myself? As I approach my 44th year, why do I sometimes feel like the child and my children seem like the parents? Is life really meant to be this way?

Forgive me, Lord, for my childish behavior and please help my children to forgive me as well.



  1. So far, so good. Usually the kids are singing right along with me! Even my teens!

  2. The teenage years can be tough. The girls are nice one minute, cranky the next. The boys can be mean, and not even know it. My hubby always tells me not to take everything personally. It's hard though. I mean, they are our babies, even when they are taller than us, and sometimes they act as if we don't have a single brain cell in our heads. But sometimes,I get a glimpse of how it will be when they pass this stage, and it will be nice. So keep your hope Anne. And I always think with my toughest boy, God has great plans for him. Like maybe the priesthood.

  3. "Is life really meant to be this way?"

    Life is meant to be happy. And you're doing the right thing ... singing ... laughing or whatever.

    Encourage your children to do the same and to store in their hearts these happy memories which will comfort them when things get tough, as they sometimes do in life.

    God bless you and yours.

  4. I had to laugh as I read your post because I remember being embarrassed over my own mother's free spiritedness. Now, at 47. I'm just like her if not a tad worse! I've found that there truly is a joyous freedom from the chains of self-consciousness that happens when you are no longer concerned about the judgment of others when it comes to little things like expressing your happiness by singing aloud in your own car if you want to. Some day your sons will realize that this is their one and only life and allowing the opinions of others on such small things as singing aloud, dancing etc to keep them from living their joy and their lives to the fullest only hurts them in the long run. YOu keep right on being you and setting the example of what it means to live freely in the joy of the Lord and of life.

  5. Yes, Anne, please just keep being you :) The other teenage boys have mothers, too.[lol]
    My sister's son is about to turn 15 and she is going through this, also. I really liked Victor and Rachel's comments.

  6. You are supposed to embarrass your children. You are a parent, and it is in your job description! I think that they kind of expect it and even like their parents' involvement (even if they say the opposite). Once my daughter wore my clothes to school and announced that she had won the tacky tourist contest! Great! In talking about their teenage years, my kids tell me that even though I embarrassed them, they were pleased that I was around and cared -- and the embarrassment was as much amusement (in retrospect) as it was real embarrassment. Just keep on loving them. That's all that matters.

  7. Anne, I love reading your posts about your teenage boys because it makes me think about what my own life will look like in about twelve years! :)

    Even though your boys hang their heads in embarrassment, I bet they secretly love your energy and the fact that you find happiness in so many things. That's a great lesson for you to model, you know?

    Blessings on your Advent!

  8. Mea culpa Anne - unlike your other posters on this topic, I'm not a parent nor likely to be since I'm discerning priesthood. But sometimes my mom drives me to school in a very old car and I ask her to drop me off one block before so that nobody sees this wreck. I'm embarrassed by our poverty and grumble about it. I sometimes moan that other kids have better cars, more expensive holidays. Today I said 'sorry' because I read this thread and I said to my parents that I regretted any negative thoughts I had about them because they brought me into the world, they love me, they have sacrificed everything for me, and because they support me 100% in becoming a priest even though I am unlikely to provide them with grandchildren or make them wealthy.

  9. Anne,
    Your words are a comfort to me because my son, age 14 does the same thing - and my daughter did too when she was a young teenager - as well her young teenage friends to their Moms! Although interestingly, her friends enjoyed my antics and taste in music while she fumed! Now that she and her friends are 18, my antics/music are no longer an issue for her- she laughs and enjoys it all. When she was younger, I kept telling my daughter, (and now my son) that, despite the paranoia that she felts, she was not the center of the universe and other people really are NOT looking at her all the time. I stressed to her that thinking people are always looking at her is not reality- people really have other things to do, they do not have super human hearing and the paranoia she feels is just a part of growing up and an attempt at seperating herself from her parents to establish her own identity. That said, I did/do change the radio channel from my NPR/classical to a pop station when I reach the entrance to school - I tell the kids that I do it to recognize their feelings althought I know intellectually that they do not reflect reality. Good luck! remain calm, teenagers are rough! They are facinating as well. -Ann