Home » Teenagers » This may very well be harder

This may very well be harder

I was an awful toddler mom. No joke. I wasn’t good at it. It was, by far, the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life. I spent every day physically exhausted. Now I did have three under four years old. That’s my own (I guess Spouse was involved too) fault. But still. It was brutally difficult. I spent at least five years in a fog of diapers, sippy cups, potty training, bathing, herding, putting to bed, fighting over naps, reading SkippyJonJones on repeat every  night, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. Little Man was three years old before I started to see a clearing of that fog. Then things were crazy with them all in different activities that so often seemed to overlap and coincide. There was classroom volunteering, field trips, soccer, soccer practice, baseball, baseball practice, dance, homework, and so on. But they were easier – more self-sufficient, less destructive. I thought we might be home-free. HAH!

I have two teenagers, and one on the verge of being a teenager. I blame the older two for sucking us in, making us think we might get through these years without being ravaged by teenager-ness. You know what I’m talking about – the defiant, independence-seeking, snarky, rude, disrespectful, distrusting, make-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out, make you want to cry teenager-ness. Yeah. That. We saw small glimpses of it last year with  Big Man, but this year with both he and the Princess in high school, we are being slammed with the reality. Someday, we will laugh at us. I guarantee you, someday we will laugh at them when they come to us with the same glazed looks we’re currently wearing, when they  have teenagers of their own.

This. Is. Exhausting. It’s exhausting in a different way than that of parenting toddlers, but it’s exhausting all the same. I’ve been talking about it with my friends who are parents of my childrens’ peers. We’re all wiped out, and somewhat stunned. We’re mentally and emotionally worn down.

Sometimes I wonder if it was this difficult for our parents, or has technology and the accompanying social media made it that much harder? Our kids have access to so much more stuff in some ways, a billion more opportunities to be bullied online. So we are vigilant – phones are taken away at night. Social media accounts are regularly reviewed and watched very closely. Photos are skimmed through. Search histories are saved and looked at. Tabs are reopened. My kids are good kids, at least they’ve shown that thus far. But we have all this in play to keep them safe, to make sure they aren’t making stupid decisions. We’re not naive – we know they likely have their ways around all our vigilance, should they so choose. But we’re doing our best to safeguard them, and it’s exhausting.

Don’t even get me started on the school front…..making sure grades are kept up, homework is done, trying to teach them to be accountable and advocates for themselves at the same time we need to assure they don’t blow something during the next four years, and thus blow their chances at college.  Then there’s the dating, or potential dating, the friend drama, the extra-curricular activities, the worry they might get into alcohol, drugs, devastating car accidents.

When they were toddlers, there were so many worries, mostly physical. The worries now are so encompassing. They seem so much bigger. The risks are greater, as are the rewards. I love where they are, truly. It’s fun to watch them really come into themselves, figure out who they are, where they’re going. But it’s terrifying, and it’s exhausting. I’m pretty sure this may be harder than when they were toddlers. I’ll do a review in about six years and let you know for sure. For now, I think I need a nap….before they all get home from school.

7 thoughts on “This may very well be harder

  1. Thanks for the window into the next few years. I’m looking forward to the teenager skulking through my house… no. Wait. I’m not.

    Though I could easily be done with #3 being in diapers. Just. Want. Sleep.

    • I hear that, and I’m sorry for the window into the future. I’ve been where you are. It’s insanely brutal, and exhausting. I do miss the little voices, the snuggles, and the early bedtimes though, but it really is nice to not deal with diapers, sippy cups, naps, and potty training.

  2. I hope you took that nap.
    I’ve got two gone, and for me, teenager crap wasn’t/isn’t as bad as the grueling, hard labor, seemingly endless tedium of babies and toddlers. My husband would disagree and invert his preference, so maybe it’s just a personal thing. I’m not saying it’s not hard, cause oh, it is. Waiting up and worrying is awful, letting them drive, awful. Worrying about pregnancy and drugs and bad influences. Fearing the independence you’ve negotiated is deteriorating the bond between you…making them a stranger at times. I get it.
    But you couldn’t pay me billions or give me a flat stomach to do those first 4-5 years again!!!
    I think you’ll feel a lot better when your oldest does you proud as an adult. They can’t be this great and then just stop being great 😉 You’ve worked so hard. I really hope you took that nap!

  3. My oldest is 20 now, and my youngest is coming up on 18. Given their special circumstances, my husband and I haven’t had to deal with some of the hallmarks of the teenage years. That being said, we’ve still had the moodiness, the defiance, the mania for electronics and the occasional showdown. I think the Digital Age has just put a new spin on the classic problems. I was a teenager before the Internet, and when I look back on those years, I pity my mother for being saddled with such an uppity brat!

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