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Walking The Parenting Tightrope

04/05/2013 05:12 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2013

I'm the parent of a teenage girl.

And I'm walking the parenting tightrope, doing the biggest balancing act of my life.

(I don't think that I could have done anything to prepare for this. Even being the parent of a 16-year-old boy hasn't helped.)

If I lean a little too far to the right? Whoa, I'm "smothering" and being a helicopter mom.

So, I slowly and carefully make my way back to the center, but then damn, I've misjudged and now I'm leaning too far to the left. I'm an uncaring parent and abandoning my kid.

This balancing act gets tiring. My muscles are starting to get sore.

Some days, my heart aches.

On those days, I just hope that I don't completely lose my balance and fall off the tightrope. It's a long way down.

The thing is ,I have no choice but to be adaptable, because sometimes she needs me to be a little to the right. She's only a teen. There's so much change in her world right now.

Then, she gets her bearings straight and needs me, no implores me, to head back to the left. She's learning how to work out her independence.

And doing her own balancing act of growing up.

Luckily, the more I walk on the parenting tightrope, the more confident I am that I'll be able to stay centered. It's not like I have a choice. There's no way I'm going to fall and fail my daughter. I am her rock, her home base, her safety.

I am her mother.

She starts high school in a little over four months.

Looks like I'll be adding lion taming to my circus repertoire. Or maybe I'll just let her stepfather handle the boys.