All stages of parenthood come with their own frustrating moments. It's to be expected when raising children.

But when kids reach the teen stage, parents have to learn to find the humor in the trials of everyday life. After all, the teen stage brings an influx of physical and hormonal changes — both of which have the ability to turn your once-peaceful household upside down.

My daughters, who are 16 and 14, seem to be veterans of this teen stage, and are well equipped with the tools needed to make my head spin on a daily basis. One might assume I am as well, but sometimes I think they challenge me just because they can.

Thankfully, they’re great girls who rarely give me much to worry about, but that doesn’t change the fact that these are some of the most challenging years of parenting I’ve ever experienced. In fact, I can actually think of 10 things I’ve done that were easier than my current task of raising two teenagers.

1. Getting out of an escape room. Fortunately, I had five other people helping me so I never felt alone. I don’t always have the same luck with parenting. There isn’t always someone to help me get through the rough parts, and sometimes that can be very scary.

2. Learning to ski. Keeping my balance is not one of my strengths, but somehow I managed to stay afoot when skiing for the first time this past weekend. Raising children isn’t quite as forgiving. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, life can knock me off my feet.

3. Navigating the New York City subway system without a map. If you’ve been to New York City, you know how confusing the subway system can be. One wrong move and you could end up going uptown when you meant to go downtown. Teenagers are just as confusing. They’re happy one minute and sad the next. It’s hard to know the right way to go.

4. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time. Like cooking an extravagant meal, failure is a real concern for any parent. But having a teenager is even more frightening. There are times I worry about saying or doing something that might have disastrous effects down the road.

5. Teaching a group of 6-year-olds how to play soccer. I’m just not athletically inclined, so this experience was definitely out of my comfort zone. It was still much easier than talking to my teens about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex.

6. Going on the Ripcord at Worlds of Fun. I’m afraid of heights, so the Ripcord was quite the challenge. Giving a teenager independence is just as scary. I had to trust I raised them well enough to make good decisions on their own.

7. Going back to school at age 30 when I was the single mother to two children under the age of 10. This was definitely one of my hardest feats, and one I didn’t think would end in success. Raising teenagers well is even more trying. I constantly feel pulled in all directions; I'm afraid that doing my best might not be good enough.

8. Driving during a torrential downpour or a snowstorm. When the weather is inclement, my anxiety is on high alert. Imagine trying to navigate the perils of the teen years with racing hormones. I never know when we might spiral out of control.

9. Getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Getting information out of my children can be much like pulling teeth, but somehow it is a lot more excruciating. There are times I just don’t know if the extraction will end in relief for either of us.

10. Literally, anything else. When your children become teenagers, you quickly realize the years leading up to this stage could never prepare you for what you will eventually go through. There are times I would gladly return to bottle feedings at 3 a.m. for just one moment of certainty.

What have you done that is easier than raising teens?


Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, writes weekly for momaha.comRead more from Amanda »

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