I guess this is the week all my inner angst comes out.
Phase I of the move is done. As in, old house is now sold, we’re settled into the new house, boxes are unpacked and we’ve done our first wave of changes to the house. Now it’s time to sit back, save some money and prepare for phase II. Which will include things like furniture for two empty rooms.
So now that I have the breather, apparently all the things that swirl in the back of my head are rising to the surface.
Like how I read all of this “advice” to not give new moms advice. “It doesn’t matter anyway – they’re not going to get it because they have to live it first.” And how we seasoned moms shouldn’t foist our own feelings about new motherhood on others. It should be a unique experience for each mom.
All the while knowing the advice happens anyway, hundreds (nay, thousands) of books are written on the first 5 years of life, and everyone wants to share their biggest sleep deprivation horror story, their biggest diaper blow out horror story, and their biggest tantrum in Target horror story.
It makes us feel better. We did it! We’ve crossed the first hurdle! Pat us on the back when we tell you what to expect!
When it comes to teenagers, nobody’s talking. I read an awesome blog post a few weeks ago that made its way around FB. It was all from a mom of teens to moms of other teens and it said, in a nutshell, “I know you can’t talk about it. I know we’re all going through the same things. I’m here for you even if I can’t tell you why and how I’m here for you.”
It was poignant and touching and REAL. Darn if I wish I could remember who it came from. Sorry about that.
It’s not parents to fellow teens I’m pissed at. We’re still in it together, experiencing the rapid changes in real time. And most of my friends, like me, are on the cusp of it. Most of our kids are just turning 12 and 13, so our time is coming.
But that’s what’s PISSING ME OFF.
WHAT time is coming? What’s going to happen? How do we handle it? What decisions do we make that will help our kids make the decisions that will keep them alive through the teen years?
And I know it’s all I can imagine. And more.
All the things I did as a teen and the exponential differences that social media and modern technology are adding to the teen mix these days. And things we can’t even imagine that will come next.
But you know what I get from parents of older teens and college kids?
Short, exhausted barks of laughter when I tell them I have a 12 year old. Followed by:
“Enjoy it now – it’s ending soon.”
“Good luck – you’re going to need it.”
“Let me know how it goes when it’s over.”
AND IT’S PISSING ME OFF.
Where are the stories of blow out diapers, tantrums in Target and sleep deprivation that I heard when my kids were babies?
I imagine the grown up version of those stories would be things like alcohol poisoning, tantrums over not giving your child unlimited spending money and sleep deprivation of a different kind.
But no one gives you specifics. Because no one wants to share the colossally shitty decisions their own teen made. And maybe I won’t either. Maybe if I find one of my teens passed out in our driveway some year late at night and I have to take her to the hospital to get her stomach pumped just to survive, I won’t want to share that kind of tidbit with moms of younger kids.
Because that kind of thing may reflect on my parenting. And it may hurt my kid’s chances of a good college acceptance. It could hurt reputations.
But if tantrums at Target and blow out diapers aren’t considered reflective of my parenting skills and are just considered “part of being a baby,” why aren’t the teen challenges considered the same?
Don’t we need to help each other through this? Don’t the upperclassmen of parents (so to speak) need to help us underclassmen with the path?
Isn’t that the least you upperclassmen can do? If you don’t give me specifics because of privacy concerns, can’t you do a little more than just laugh and say “good luck?”
Can’t you give me ideas how to make sure my kids have a parachute attached as they jump off the cliff of being a teenager? Can’t you give me a parachute too?
I’d really appreciate it. And if you want to give me some specific stories too, I promise I’ll keep it in confidence. I just want to be able to prepare myself.