I remember calling my mom in full meltdown mode when Big Man had been home from the NICU, oh, maybe six weeks or so. I cried to her, “I can’t do this!”, whining that my entire schedule was at the mercy of him. Can you relate? Do you have friends who are brand new parents? You know that glazed look of “oh my God, what have we done?” Yeah. That. If you have friends who are the parents of teenagers, you probably see that same exact glazed look. I know I’m wearing that look again these days, and I’ve heard myself saying, “I can’t do this! My entire schedule is at the mercy of them!”
This parenting of teens is not for the faint of heart, and it’s hard, incredibly hard. I spend my days running them all over town. I have to remember to check their social media accounts to make sure they aren’t posting inappropriate stuff. I have to check their phones to make sure they aren’t sending or receiving inappropriate stuff. I have to check their grades. I check to make sure homework is getting completed and handed in. I check team schedules. I check lunch accounts to make sure there’s still money in there for them to eat. I check, check, and re-check. I’ve spent the last two days emailing a principal, an athletic director, a coach, a counselor, and teachers. Then I check to make sure Spouse is in the loop. I have appointments scheduled and appointments to schedule. I have a parent/teacher conference to prepare for. I have medical stuff to follow-up on, prescriptions to refill. Let’s not even talk about actually talking with them, feeding them, and such. I know I’m not alone when I say I’m exhausted. There are so many things to juggle and keep a grasp on when you’re parenting teens.
This certainly doesn’t look like I imagined it would. Boy, I’ve heard myself say that before. When Big Man was born prematurely, I had to set aside all I’d imagined about becoming and being a mom…pregnancy, delivery, newborn…none of it was like I thought it would be. My baby wasn’t who or how I imagined he would be. Motherhood wasn’t at all what I’d imagined it would be. And it hit me earlier today, being mom to teens isn’t how I thought it would be. I’m having to change my paradigm. I find myself with my hands thrown in the air frequently (and no, I’m not waving them like I just don’t care). I know I’m walking around with this stunned look on my face. I shake my head every day, all day. I look at my kids like, “Uh, who are you, and what have you done with my sweet child?” I’m living in the land of shock and awe.
Parents of tweens, prepare yourselves. Teen-land is coming for you. Forewarned is fore-armed. Although, you’re probably like I was….all smug in the knowledge your kids are brilliant, great, entertaining, amusing, unassuming children. Hah! Mine were too. And now here I am, shaking my head, crying to my mom, mumbling my way through each day, trying to juggle all the “check this!” balls and keep them all in the air. This too shall pass, but you know that saying for toddlers, “The days are long but the years are short”? Yeah, that.