I was a good teenager.
No, really. We all like to think that we weren’t THAT bad, but in the grand scheme of teenaged-ness I really don’t think I was THAT bad! I didn’t drink, or smoke, or stay out late. I got good grades, I was on sports teams and in clubs. Overall I didn’t give my parents too much to worry about…except…
My mouth. Oooooooooh my mouth!
I talked back a lot. I was stubborn to the Nth degree. I NEVER knew when to just shut my mouth and walk away. I was overly sensitive, had little patience and a lot of crazy emotions. I was constantly being grounded while it seemed my little sister got away with EVERYTHING! As my mother once put it “I have one kid screaming in my face saying she hates me and I have one kid volunteering to do the dishes. Who are you gonna punish?”
Cut to present day. I’m a grown up. I have children of my own. Two sons aged 10 and 11. And most days they are amazing. But some days…some days…I hear my mother’s voice in my ear saying “I hope you grow up and have a daughter juuuuuuuust liiiiiiiike you!” I think I used to take that as a compliment. However, I’m currently reevaluating my position on that.
Because, although I don’t have any daughters, I did somehow end up with a son juuuuuust liiiiiiike me!
My 11 year old is in the process of steadily chipping away at my sanity. Some of it has to do with the age, the infamous “tweens” as they are called. But I know deep down that his personality has a lot to do with it. I know this because I see myself in almost everything he does. His attitude is my own. Except it has male parts. And is taller than me. And it’s feet smell like, well, I can’t even put it into words but trust me when those shoes come off you immediately begin to question your will to live.
Since he is my oldest I am constantly being surprised by him. Any stage he gets to is new to me, I don’t know what I’m doing and it’s confusing. By the time my second son did things like potty train or learn to tie his shoes I was a veteran and knew my way around. But this tween bulls**t? What is this nonsense? Where is my love-able baby boy? Who is this monster telling me that I’m the WORST MOM EVER because I told him he can’t play video games all night or have a 4th piece of cake?
When the kids were infants I thought “This must be as hard as it gets! I’m up all night, I’m exhausted, my body is all kinds of weird…it HAS to get easier.” But now that I’m faced with things like pre-adolescent hormones I crave the scheduled predictability of the newborn days! Basically all you had to do was feed and water that kid and things were gonna be ok.
Now everything is THE WORST! Everything is SO DRAMATIC! I feel like someone just handed me a live bomb with no further instructions:
Bomb guy: “Here. Try not to piss it off.”
Me: “What? What will happen if I piss it off?”
Bomb guy: “Oh, it’ll explode and that gets messy. You don’t want that.”
Me: “Ok. How do I avoid setting it off?”
Bomb guy: “That’s classified.”
I don’t know how to work my son anymore. All I have for reference is memories of what I was like at this age…and that is NOT comforting! (Again, sorry, Ma.)
OK, I mean, it’s not all bad. He’s amazingly intelligent, he’s an incredibly empathetic and kind child, he has a great sense of humor and he loves his mama. I know this because in between outbursts of hating me he snuggles up and tells me how much he loves me. And lord do I know I engaged in similarly psychopathic behavior when I was a tween! I remember one such incident where I ripped my mother apart and then cried hysterically while I made her a mix-tape of all songs about love to apologize. Apple, tree and all that, right?
I look at this outstanding human that I created and raised and kept alive for the past 11 years and I wonder: How on earth can I love something SO FREAKING MUCH while simultaneously kinda wanting to punch it in the face every so often? Motherhood is weird.
So thanks, Mom, for putting up with my absolute ridiculousness for all those years! But I’m still kinda salty about the fact that you jinxed me into repeating the cycle with my darling son. If it gets worse than this…don’t tell me. I’ve kinda gotten used to the element of surprise. And who knows, maybe one day he’ll have a son, or better yet a daughter, juuuuuust liiiiike him. And then I’ll be able to sit back and laugh and laugh….