I will fully and completely admit from jump that I am inspired to write this by mom bloggers like Jannell Burley Hoffman. Don’t know Jannell? She wrote the inspired post To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love – if you haven’t read that post, you should! She is one of my mom blogger heroes!
I like to remind people that I am a relatively new parent late to the parenting game. I missed out on a lot of things fellow mom bloggers take for granted. I love my new world and parenting is wonderful, challenging, exasperating, and awesome – usually ALL at the same time every day.
My kid is awesome. Yes, I know all parents say that, but in my case it is true. I love him to the moon and back. But my kid is a teenager, and no one gave me an instruction manual. (What’s wrong with you people? Do you want me to be Queen Dork and not know what is going on?)
I am learning that often communication is minimal. Girls like to chatter. Boys seem to be strong, silent types in training. That of course doesn’t mean anything is wrong, I think it is just not cool to be overly verbose or something.
When you ask a question generally every thing is “good”. And when you ask what they are doing a popular response is “stuff”. And that isn’t being rude or anything, it just is.
I am learning that I have to keep my sentences short or I lose my audience. Short as in brief in length, not terse in attitude. This of course is next to impossible for me to do if you know me. Hell, I talk in my sleep sometimes I have so much to say on any given day.
In this parental unit role I find things coming out of my mouth that startle me and make me run for the hills. Why? WHEN DID I START SOUNDING LIKE MY MOTHER???????
Anything involving sweets, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meat sauce is approved. Vegetables are the enemy some days and some days they are very confused because some days they are welcomed to the dinner table as a friend.
Homework is of course the mortal enemy of ALL fun. Some days I find myself prisoner of the backpack myself. As for video games, I don’t understand them or their allure. Maybe it’s a girl thing but all I think they do is suck out brain cells, which is why I believe in brain rotting with limits. (I have of course noticed that video games often result in someone channelling Monty Hall and playing “Let’s Make a Deal” LOL)
And oh my. Texting is a contact sport some days and why does Face Timing always seem LOUD? And what is up with these parents that let their kids text after midnight?
And then there is the whole cleaning up thing. I think having a teenager is like trying to domesticate a hurricane some days. Stuff just appears in a trail following your child. Especially socks and sneakers. It really is quite remarkable. And then there is the whole asking-for-help-tidying-up-thing.
Cleaning up. You know putting away laundry and stuff?
“Huh???? What do you mean???”
Yes, I know it is really so much more fun to leave piles of laundry decorating bits of furniture and the floor. I was a kid once too, believe it or not. (I know no kid believes it is possible. But then again I was the kid who asked her mother if there were any really BIG dinosaurs alive when she was little. Yes, remarkably I survived my childhood.)
Ok back to the laundry….I mean why put dirty laundry IN the basket when you can put it AROUND the basket? It’s so like a modern art installation that way, right?
But sigh…..the maid is off today so I need a little help. So my dear teenager, please humor me and neatly put away all that lovely laundry that was washed and folded for you just like magic. You might have to re-fold some of it as it has been living on the floor and apparently learned to dance. I mean why else would all those clean clothes end up UNDER the furniture, right?
And my dear if you could also have a brief look and tidy up that bureau drawer that is at present half-open with clothes looking like they just escaped a tornado hanging out of it.
I know, I know I am sooo not cool when I ask for help on this stuff. I am like the hall monitor because I also want you to make your bed once in a while too, right? (You can roll your eyes like teenagers are universally wont to do – I won’t mind.)
But my darling believe it or not these little life skills will come in handy some day when the maid is off. And way down the road in a time yet to come, this will all make you smile and laugh and shake your head ruefully when you are a parent.
So free the maid and help her out! She loves you! (And she is not above bribing you with brownies or something if you comply.)