We have two weeks left in the school year.
Which means, in two weeks I will be the proud but super weepy mom owner of a high school freshman.
I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate feeling all of the feelings, but here they are smashing me in my chest and hitting me all upside my face basically every day of life.
It’s overwhelming really.
Because one minute you’re all…
because he finished middle school, on the honor roll, about to try out for the high school soccer team.
And exciting! Everything is so exciting! And you are literally racking up the parenting wins. Not that you’re counting, but in case anyone is counting.
And the next minute you sit down and think it through and out of nowhere you’re like…
just crying in the shower because HOW IS THAT MY BABY?!
How is this person managing his time and doing his work and making his own plans for this life he intends to have without me?
When did this even happen?
It feels like just yesterday when he was like 9 months old and he literally wood not allow me to put him down –definitely wouldn’t let another person hold him. Including his father who could talk to him if he didn’t pick him up and only as long as I was in the room.
He went to the bathroom with me. He fell asleep in my bed. He screamed his adorable little face off when he’d wake up to find me away from him. I was his thing. No one and nothing else. Just me.
I got really awesome at doing things with one hand, and my biceps in my left arm got to be pretty spectacular.
When I went to the doctor and asked about it (because he was my first baby and I went to the doctor to ask about everything) he said it was pretty basic separation anxiety and he should grow out of it shortly without much issue.
He totally did, no problem, and eventually I wasn’t his thing anymore. At least not exclusively.
Fast forward a decade or so and sometimes he acts like he doesn’t want to be in the same house with me let alone care about being in the same room. Sitting on my lap is not only out of the question, but impossible (I mean, he’s bigger now, I can’t hold him even if I do want to).
Meanwhile, here I am wanting to cling to his arm, imploring him to speak to me and hanging on every word.
Our rolls have completely reversed only I don’t know if I will grow out of it and get over it in a couple of months.
I’m not sure I will ever grow out of it.
And here I thought I was prepared for this life with teens business.
Parenting Teens: How to Prepare for the Thing You Really Can’t Prepare For
1. Practice your poker face. Lots of things will make you want to freak out, but you don’t want them to know that you want to freak out. And, under no circumstances are you to let them see you actually freak out.
2. Practice your I mean it face. A lot of parenting is in the face. If you have an expressive one like I do you will save yourself all kinds of time while also keeping your vocal cords in tact. Few words, lots of facials, FTW. I mean they are barely listening anyway.
3. Get yourself up to speed on social media. And, no, I am not talking about Facebook, old people. I am talking about the other social platforms your kids are probably into –Snapchat, KiK, Vine, stuff like that.
4. Practice saying yes. Toddlerhood probably left you addicted to no and childhood probably made you a huge fan of stop. All of that falls away with teen life because you don’t want to be all forbiddy all the time. I know, no feels right in like 90% of the scenarios, but sometimes it is just wrong. If you grew up in a forbiddy household and everything turned out great and you and your parents have a functional, open, happy relationship, and you didn’t run away pregnant to the circus when you were 16, then maybe you can make it work with your teen. For everyone else be open, teach your kids how to communicate by communicating, respect their ideas and opinions, and don’t be forbiddy.
5. Beef up on your street slang. And then never, ever use it with your children and their friends. Remember, cool people don’t have to ever actually say out loud the words, “I’m cool.” If you do, you are probably lying to yourself and only you believe it. The point of beefing up your kid slang has little if anything to do with being cool. You really just want to know what your kids are talking about when you find yourself accidentally eavesdropping at the top of your basement stairs. What? You were taking a snack down. And then you didn’t want to interrupt. And then whoa no one is hanging out with Emma again ever, that girl is a freak!
6. Learn the inner workings of the smart phone. And the apps designed to help you parent more safely. Lookit, the Internet was not a thing when we were kids. All my mom had to do to keep tabs on my brother and his mature literature collection was lift his mattress from time to time. Today you need to know how to like block website access and search user history after it has been erased if you want to ensure your son (or daughter) isn’t making a sizeable investment to the college fund of Becky with the Good Hair.
7. Meet other parents. They will be your biggest snitches allies in the event that you need one. Hope to God you never need one.
8. Brush up on your algebra and reread Romeo and Juliet. Because when your kid comes home and is all, “Mom, can you explain Pythagorean Theorem because I am stuck on problem 2,” you don’t want to be all, “Ummm, do I look like your teacher? I don’t ask her to do my job so please don’t ask me to do hers,” while you Google p-y-t-h-a-g-o-r-e-a-n under the table.
9. Learn to hold in your tears. Otherwise you may find yourself at a parent teacher conference bawling your eyes out because your kid “is such a nice person” and totally unable to stop.
10. Get used to feeling like your heart will explode unceremoniously out of your chest. Because all of the emotions. All of them. All of the time. Fear, happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiety, anger, pain, joy, exhaustion, confusion, pride. All. Of the. Emotions.