Motherly Collective

To my tween,

When you were young, we shared everything—kisses, hugs, my favorite comfy living-room lazy-boy, even my bed on most nights when you were scared of the dark and needed Mommy

There was nothing in life that could not be solved by a magic mommy kiss. My silly faces always brought a precious smile to your little face. We were a team and we were invincible. You were the superhero and I was the trusty sidekick. I was always fighting for you and always believing in you. We were unstoppable. 

That was then. 

Now, on the threshold of so many physical and emotional changes swirling around in your head and growing body, I feel like we have lost our spark. I long to hold you before bed, like I did when you were little. But it seems you don’t need me anymore.

Related: Raising a tween is hard—but so is being a tween

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I have been replaced by your friends, your phone, your electronics and your sports. No one warned me it would happen this early. You are only 12. I thought we had a few more years.

Your moods can be like angry waves of the ocean. One minute you are joking and harassing your little brother like old times. The next you are angry and blaming me for losing your shoes and not finding your basketball jersey. I ask questions and continually get shot down. You are tired. You are hungry. You are angry. You are hurt. 

They say it will get better and to give you time and space. But my mother’s heart wants nothing more than to hug it away, like I did when you were young. 

What is making you so unsettled? I cry silent tears because my heart is breaking to see you so sad. You won’t let me in, despite my constant knocking on your closed bedroom door. It often feels symbolic of your heart. 

Is this a phase? When will it end? What should I do? I go back and forth between giving you space and suffocating you with my love. I am not equipped for the slow agitating removal of the band-aid that exposes our new relationship. 

They say it will get better and to give you time and space. But my mother’s heart wants nothing more than to hug it away, like I did when you were young. 

Related: My daughter has entered the tween years—and I’m not ready.

You are facing changes and seeing truth. I can no longer shield your little eyes from the difficulties of this world. I can no longer kiss the temporary frustration from your forehead. You are starting to experience life, which can be cold, hard and heartbreaking. 

But, Son, please remember that it isn’t all bad. There is beauty in the pain, perspective in the lessons learned and wisdom in the mistakes. But, I know you cannot see that yet. You are too young to see the rainbow after the rain, the sunshine after the storm and the growth that comes from trusting everything will work out. 

There is so much I would tell you if I could to spare you from my mistakes and to erase your doubts and fears. But that would be selfish of me—I have to let you navigate these tender years to make your own mistakes and to fully realize who you are meant to be. 

I may say the wrong things, smother you with my attention and ignite your deepest frustrations. But son, please know, even though we don’t talk like we used to, I’m still here. No door slamming, angry words, cussing, or pushing away will ever change my infinite love for you. 

You may often feel alone, but you will never fight a battle without your mother fighting along with you. 

Related: I’m a much better parent of tweens than I was of toddlers

One day, we will look back and laugh. You will have children of your own and finally ‘get it’. The way I am finally ‘getting it’ now when I reflect back on my early life with my amazing parents. I am so grateful they were patient with me.

No one will ever love you like me, but when the time comes, I will step aside to allow your partner full access to your precious heart. It is what a mother does. She moves aside. She gracefully allows space for her children to grow, learn, experience and make necessary mistakes. And yet, I’ll never waver in my loyalty, devotion and immeasurable love for you.

I am here, Son. When you are ready to open the door and tentatively step into my presence, I will be right there waiting. 


Your Mother

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.