When you read blogs written for mothers they are one of two things. They are either super vague or geared toward having young children. There is a good reason for this. When you have teenagers, you can’t talk about their crap.
You can read blogs all day long about potty training and sleep training and teaching a kid to eat with a spoon. But you can’t really read much about mean girls, psycho boys that won’t stop texting your daughter, missing someone so much that it hurts, how to deal with multiple teen deaths in one year, sassy mouths and rumours. I’m going to try to be as vague as possible and as transparent as I usually am.
- Mean girls exist. I don’t know why. But, I do believe it’s hereditary. (Re-read that sentence and let it soak in) Why are the mean girls the ones every one gravitates to? Why is their approval necessary? I say we all stand up to the mean girls in our lives, let’s protest them. (Maybe YOU’RE a mean girl…stop it) Can for just one minute we let each other off the hook? I mean, for real. It doesn’t matter what brand t-shirt any one’s wearing, or shoes…or whether someone’s hair is long or short or curled or straight. It doesn’t matter. Just leave each other alone and mind your own business for a second and maybe you’ll notice you aren’t all that and a bag of chips like you thought? Or perhaps you already know that and that is why you have to treat other people so meanly…think on that. Also, girls…let’s make sure we don’t peak in highschool. This is not the pinnacle of your life. What are you, 16? Give me a break.
- Hey moms. Can you please check your son’s phones once in a while? If he’s sent the same girl 93 texts in a row and she responded “haha” or with just a happy face to be nice…please for the love of all that is good in the world help him get the hint. I suspect any moms even reading this don’t have sons that are doing this but help me get the word out. And dude, no means no, even to a date, stop asking to hang out.
- I want to go up to mothers of small children and tell them not to get too attached. I mean really. You tell this kid things like “You can be anything.” “You, my precious bundle of blankets smelling like lotion and hope, can be anyone and go anywhere your little heart dreams.” You make them order their own food at restaurants and send them into the grocery store to buy milk alone while you wait anxiously in the car, just to teach them how to navigate the world alone. You let them ride their bike around the neighborhood, then before you know it they drive their little white Honda hybrid right out of state. You don’t know if their precious little head is on the pillow at night or if they don’t feel well or if they’ve eaten vegetables in the last week. You just don’t know. Facetime is nice but you miss their stupid socks on the floor and the sound of them laughing at the TV. I have no advice. Just consider yourself warned.
- Yesterday we became aware of the 6th teen death of someone that one of my children has known or is familiar with. I’ve been to the funerals of two 17-year-olds, both in February. I wrote about one but was too sad to write about it again. I’ve watched two mothers, shoulders shaking with sobs and eyes swollen and red. I’ve watched two slide shows of pictures with smiling babies, smiling families, smiling teenagers, whose lives ended much too soon. I can’t stop thinking of the picture board that still sits in the basement that I made for our 2017 graduation and the one I’ll make for 2019. The same types of pictures will be on my boards. That’s what those pictures are for, not funerals. I don’t know what to do with my own kids’ grief. We hold on to them. We remind them that every word they say matters and that every goodbye needs a kiss and hug. We make the minutes count, I think.
- If someone finds the cure for teen sassy mouth syndrome please pass it on. But, here’s the good news. I’ve seen this happen twice now, so it must be true. You lose your teen daughter somewhere between 12 or 13. They become something else. Either, with their mouth or behavior, with their privacy for sure. Then between 16 and 17, a transition begins and you get them back. They emerge by 18 a completely new and awesome person. It’s like they go into a cacoon that they’re not really inside of. They have to function while all these weird thoughts and changes are happening. They have to learn how to communicate their feelings and deal with everyone else who is just as weird as they are. But soon, they’ll say “thank you” and want to hang out even if that means loading the dishwasher with you or just sitting with you while you fold clothes. They’ll start to come to your defence when someone else still in the cacoon sasses you. It’s amazing. This isn’t to say that you’ll never see the real them between 12 and 17, you’ll have glimpses of hope. Maybe once a day, maybe once a week…maybe less frequently, maybe more. But when you get that little glimpse just hold on momma…they’re still in there.
- Last, rumors always have been and always will be but we’ve got this nice little friend called social media which is the biggest rumor spreading friend we’ve ever known. I don’t know why we keep hanging out. This rumor spreader is likely what brought you to read this novella today. But, it’s worse now for our kids. There are apps built just for the purpose of spreading rumors. One is called the “after school” app. Get it off your kid’s phone. If my kids even download this app they’ll lose their phone permanently. I will cancel their plan. I finally gave in and let my lovelies get a snap-chat. I hate it. Within the first week, they had all the rumors of “threats” against their school. They lost sleep and even had to stay home one day. I told one of my people that it will be interesting to see how she handles social media (if it’s still a thing) with her own children since she’s had experience with it as a young person. Most of us don’t know how to handle it because we never had it growing up. We didn’t come into this with a plan. It just keeps getting thrown at us like some cruel game of grown-up dodgeball. Her answer “Oh my kids will never have it.” She didn’t like it when I said I’d take her advice. I didn’t, because bam, I’m out.