Is there a “worst time” to be a mom? Yes, and it probably won’t surprise you Associated Press

Middle-schoolers are known for their angst, but what about their moms?

According to new research, the most stressful time in a mom’s life is when her children are navigating the halls of junior high.

Of 2,200 moms who participated in a survey, the mothers of middle-schoolers were the most likely to say they felt high levels of stress, emptiness and loneliness. They also had the lowest levels of fulfillment and life satisfaction.

Even in the midst of sleep deprivation, the moms of newborns have the most satisfaction, along with moms of adults.

Teens are tricky and pre-teens are even more so. This may be the first time a mom is having to watch a child struggle with issues like relationships and at the same time, they often have to watch from a distance. The hormones, the encounters with issues like sex and drugs, that can be stressful on a parent too, study co-author Suniya Luthar said to CNN.

“You see this person who is almost but not quite grown-up physically, saying at one moment, ‘Leave me alone. I’ve got this figured out. Let me do it my way,’ or ‘Don’t ask me questions,’ and so on, and on the other hand, they (are) crushed in tears, and looking to you for comfort just like a child. They might cry like the children they used to be, but being able to actually comfort them is nowhere near as easy,” she said.

So be sure to invite your mom-friends with middle-schoolers over for a glass of wine and a girls’ night. Help them to ease their stress and fill the loneliness left by a child who is still close yet so far away. Bless you, moms of preteens.

Author placeholder image About the author:
Lilee Williams is a freelance journalist and scientific study junkie based in Georgia. Email her at
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