A friend recently posted an article she had written about how &*%$ing hard it is to parent teenagers. (Okay, she was classier than I am and opted for the word freaking as opposed to what I know she was thinking: &*%$ing). I shared the post on my Facebook page (1) and a friend commented, “We were just talking about this” to which I responded, “Yep. But then again, I am always &*%$ing talking about this!”
And there we have it.
Over the past few weeks, I have received several texts and private messages asking me if I am okay, noting that I have been “quiet” lately. “Quiet”, to be clear, is code for curiosity over why I have neither blogged -at all – or posted much on social media. This, I have learned, is a sign to my followers that something is amiss. And they are not all together wrong.
So here’s the thing: I have a lot to write about, a lot to say, and a lot on my mind. As in a shit ton. Remember: I have two kids and two step kids. One (thank the Lord) is a successfully launched, self-sufficient and kind adult. The other three are smack dab in the throes of being teenagers – a job they are taking very seriously. And, as has been established, raising teenagers is really fucking hard. Oh, sorry, I forgot to pretty-up my expletives. The gloves are off.
In addition to my own bedroom, my house has three others, each belonging to one of the kids: ages 12, 14 and 17. And, if it weren’t enough that there are bedrooms for them…they are inhabiting them. And, to make matters worse, they have all read – and epically mastered – the manual: How to be the “Perfect” Teenager. Following me?
They are all good kids (at least I like to think so) (no, they are)(really) and I love each, but none of them – not one – are what anyone would consider, well, easy. Not. One. Of. Them. I am actually kind of okay with not easy, though. I mean, who wants a go with the flow, fall in line, no-issue kid? That would be boring. And, if we are being honest, I myself have been accused of being “complicated” which, we all know, loosely translates to “not easy,”…but I am ONE person. There are THREE of them. All at once. Couldn’t one, just ONE, be easy? I’d be down with being a little bored.
Complicating matters is the fact that of the THREE teenagers who hold the keys to my house, only ONE of them came from my body – which, incidentally, has never been the same. With only ONE am I allowed to lose my shit without repercussions beyond the crappy feeling you get after calling your kid a shithead. (2) With only ONE do I have not just power (oh, who am I kidding? I have no power) but huge responsibility to ensure that, whether they be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian, that they not be an asshole.(3) With only ONE can I bellow, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!” It’s a burden, folks.
So, yeah, parenting teenagers is really fucking hard. Step-parenting them: nearly impossible. That being said, I have lived through it once. I am (fairly) certain I will manage to live through it three more times. And, while I would love to go into (graphic and brutally honest) detail as to what life looks like on the daily – I simply cannot. Unless, of course, I am hell bent on ensuring that things definitely get worse before they get better. Ya gots me?
Consider this a little insight into why I’ve been quiet. Rest assured, however, I am not so quiet here on the homefront.
Oh, and to all my friends who are relishing life on the other side – aka EMPTY NEST – please, for the love of God, don’t even think about telling me I am going to miss this all some day.
(1) I shared for a few reasons. I. It was spot on. 2. I want more people to read my friends Abby’s stuff – she’s a good writer. 3. I have come to consider Abby a great friend. 4. Abby and I have never met in person, but we are basically the same person – so that makes her awesome.
(2) So maybe you’ve never called your kid a shithead. Props to you. But, if you have never even considered calling your kid a shithead, you should just stop reading now. We clearly have a very different parenting experience.
(3) Been using that line for nearly 8 years. Still believe it. Still pray for it to be.