Just so you know, it’s okay to NOT be okay

Dear teenager,

Every day when I pick you up from school, I have a moment of dread. What mood are you going to be in when you get in the car? Are you going to say it was the best day ever, or are you going to be a miserable wreck of a human being who feels like the entire world is against them? I never know.

And some days I’m expecting the worst, but I get the best. And some days I’m bombarded with an avalanche of glares, groans, eye rolls, and a monumental explosion of complaint after complaint. 

Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the shitheads at school, maybe it’s just your way of torturing me. But as much as it sucks, I’ve realized something recently. Something HUGE that I feel like I need to tell you. 

It’s okay to not be okay.

Do I want you to be in a good mood all the time and coast through life without any problems? That would be amazing!! But it would also be something else. Total bullshit. No one’s okay ALL the time. Especially teenagers. It’s how you handle not being okay that’s important.

I know there are soooo many kids out there who suffer in silence and don’t tell their parents when something is wrong. Even so many grownups who don’t tell anyone. They bottle it up inside and go through their pain all alone, until it often comes out in other ways. Like cutting, or drinking, or doing drugs, or sleeping around, or violence, or in the worst-case scenarios, suicide. And I never want that to be you. 

Tell me when your day sucked.

Tell me all the things that went wrong.

Tell me when you’re not okay.

Because even though I’m dying to hear that you’re doing great and the world is hunky dory, I’d rather hear the truth. So I can be there to help. Or get you help. Or listen. Or be your punching bag. Or just sit there beside you.  

It used to bother me when you told me you had a bad day. I probably even showed my disappointment. But now I know it’s actually a good thing. Because it means you’re telling me

It’s okay to NOT be okay.

That’s when you can always come to me,

Your mom. 

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There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Jennifer Scott at 1:53 pm

    Thank you. This brought a tears to my eyes. I’m dealing with cutting and it is an unimaginable weight. I’m in constant fear wondering if she is still doing it or what if she has such a bad day that the cutting leads to suicide.

    • bruinspin at 4:01 pm

      Hang in there mama. The best news about this is that cutting rarely leads to suicide. It’s an outlet for them and does need to be dealt with so delicately. There are many books out there to support you. I think what helped us the most is to get our daughter into therapy. This is one for the professionals. They hide it so well, so finding a therapist who they trust will be the most helpful for your child and for you. My heart is heavy for you, and sending you big hugs.

  2. bruinspin at 4:02 pm

    Best article so far this year! You are 100% spot on! The best mantra ever is “It’s OK to not be OK!” Thank you.

  3. Angela at 9:48 am

    Thank you for reminding me. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day and she’s having one I forget my listening to her is still the most important thing thing.