From the day I found out I was expecting my first child, I was madly in love with him. That same love continued when I had my daughter. There was no need for me to even see them to know that I had this primal, overbearing feeling of love and devotion to their health and well-being that I would have ripped a person apart to protect them and ensure they were safe.
I spent several years protecting them from the dangers that lurk around the house. Electric outlets were covered, triple locks were always on the doors and I made sure at least one was always out of their reach and at one time I even had an annoying burn guard installed on my stove.
Before I started on my path to becoming a mom, I was a smoker but as soon as I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, I tossed my pack of cigarettes and completely quit smoking while I was pregnant. I also stopped drinking anything with caffeine and absolutely no alcohol. My evenings out, which had been frequent until I found out I was pregnant with my now 16-year old son, were halted, and life became a revolving door of baby cribs, bibs and bottles. Nothing in the world could have possibly meant more to me than that life growing inside of me.
When my son turned 13, he started becoming defiant as most teen boys will. I was suddenly no longer the coolest person in the world and seemingly overnight, I became the agent of adversary. The enemy. His number one (and only) nemesis. My once friendly, carefree, smiling boy who considered me his very best buddy was suddenly a frowning, grouchy person and from that moment on, I became a stressed, angry mom who just wanted some flicker of her once happy son to return.
We went from watching The Walking Dead together on Sunday nights to arguing about his gaming, his grouchiness and lack of communication skills and his lack of motivation when it came to homework and chores at home.
That was three and a half years ago and now that he is nearing his 17th birthday, we are slowly beginning to communicate with more than five words each day. Now, instead of just asking me what’s for lunch or dinner, he also might say good morning or goodnight to me at least three times each week. Albeit, the communication is often in the form of a message or a video chat via Facebook because he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to walk upstairs to speak in person, but at this point I’m just happy he is communicating with me. I’m finally out of exile with my son!
My daughter has always been my baby. My sweet, innocent beautiful child who has always loved nothing more than spending time with me. From the time she was old enough to speak unintelligible gibberish until the day she turned 10 and 364 days, I was her closet confidant and the person she loved hanging out with the most. This girl adored me and no matter what I did or said. I could do no wrong in her eyes. Just as that teen angst hit my son out of the blue when he was 13, the tween smart mouth, drive your mother crazy phase has hit my now 11-year old daughter.
I’m not cool anymore. I’m now just an embarrassing older person and I should never, under any circumstances speak out loud or make any sudden moves while in public where other tweens or teens might be gathering because to do so would mean the ultimate humiliation for little miss popular.
Excuse me?! Where the heck did my kids go and when are the creatures returning to their own planet? Do these pod people even know who I am? I’m the one with the bank account, the owner of the nest and the one who makes sure they have electricity and internet to drive the computers that help them ignore me from one day to the next. I’m a single mom, and I personally believe that the inexperienced aliens living in my home should show me a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T while living under the roof that I work so hard to keep over their bodies.
Maybe when they turn 18, or 30, their attitudes will mature more, and they’ll be able to once again view me as human. Until then, I’m going to keep a record of the things they say to me and I’m going to laugh at them when their own kids say the same things to them in the future.
The Things I’ve Heard This Week
The tween pod person started middle school this year and we have just survived our first full week. Parents of tweens should get an award for surviving these days! Now I’m trying to find a cure for her before she hits the teen years. If her mouth at this time is any indication of how those years are going to be, I need to start planning spa days and massages and intense therapy now, so everything will be covered when those days arrive.
This week has proven that tweens hate the sun. Like a vampire, my tween seems to think she is going to burn and turn to a massive pile of dust if the sun touches her skin before she deems it necessary to pry her body out of bed in the mornings. This morning as I tried to wake her up for the eighth time in an hour, she said to me,
“Didn’t you hear me yesterday morning when I told you to stop waking me up so early?”
Of course, I heard you dear, but since you now have less than 30 minutes to be at school and we live 15 minutes away, I assumed you might want to get dressed.
While struggling to find her clothes and get dressed and with only five minutes left before we had to leave the house, I grabbed a shirt for her. A black shirt with a couple starts on the front of it to go with her black spandex shorts. Her response to me was to roll her eyes and loudly state,
“Seriously? Do you not see how childish that shirt is? I can’t wear that!” It wasn’t childish when you wore it last week!
After school, I sit in the long car line waiting on my little bundle of joy to happily spring across the front lawn of middle school and hop in the car while smiling at me and telling me how much she missed me all day. Oh, how I wish it worked that way! Yesterday when I picked her up, I slowly progressed to the front of the line which took forever by the way, only to see my daughter standing in the middle of the school lawn where she glanced at me twice and then turned her entire body away from me. I assumed she was looking for a friend.
She watched me as I waved to her, so she would notice that I was in the car waiting. I was smiling because I was happy to see her, but she seemed to have a look of terror on her face. She never smiled at me as she trekked to the car and as any parent would, I was frantically searching for the bratty kid who made her look so sour.
When she finally got in the car, she turned around as if she was looking for someone she knew back on the school lawn. I smiled and asked,
“Why were you standing in the middle of the school yard alone and why did you turn your head when I waved to let you know I was there?”
My pod person alien looked at me with a horrified look on her face and said,
“OMG! You were leaned all the way up into the front window of the car waving your hand and smiling like a CRAZY person!”
Oh wow! I’ve finally made it to the crazy lady in the school line ranks now with my youngest creature. I can’t wait to see what this afternoon brings when I pick her up.
It Takes a Village!
There must be someone living in this world who can understand what I’m going through with my kids. Hello? Are you out there? If so, you probably feel just as alone and isolated as I feel living amongst the pod people but let me assure you that I feel your pain! If you ever need a friend, I’m literally just an email away and you can feel free to send me a message and unlike the creature living in your house, I’ll respond and won’t be mean!
Just as a note to everyone~ My kids are amazing and while they are your typical tween and teen and have a mom who is utterly the definition of embarrassment, we’re a very close family of three and we love one another and yes, we still have moments of laughter! They laugh when I write about their quirky ways, their smart mouths and the things they do that drive me insane from one day to the next.
Let’s hear your thoughts!
I would love to hear your own stories about living with a teen or tween, so be sure to share them along with comments and even parenting tips for others!