We’re living the dream: TWO teens at the same time! Yep, all the drama, all the eyerolls, all the laundry…in stereo. What’s more, we’re crazy enough to have done this twice. We made it through Round One of “A Pair of Teens” relatively unscathed. Time will tell if they did, and I’m okay with that.
Experience, of course, is the greatest teacher. You’d think with Round Two I would evolve into some sort of Mega Mom, able to cut through teen angst like a Magic Eraser cuts through soap scum on the tub they stubbornly refuse to clean. You’d think I would be the Julie to their Love Boat cruise through adolescence, arranging their lives into an endless series of fun and educational excursions planned impeccably to store in a treasure trove of blissful memories called Home.
The thing is, Gentle Reader, what works for kid #1 may be totally ineffective for kid #4. I know I’m preaching to the choir of momhood survivors of adolescence, and y’all can enjoy a nice chuckle at what comes next. Getting the little darlings born is the easy part, Sweet Mommies. The real labor comes around 13 years later—15 if you’re lucky. So, here are a few nuggets of mom wisdom from a 4-time Meanest Mom in the World title holder who’s worked with teenagers for over 20 years, yet, according to her own precious darlings, knows absolutely nothing about how they think, or (insert Mom eyeroll) how they feel. Take it for what you will.
They need a mom, not a friend. Well, they may need a friend, but it ain’t you. You have to be the boundary-setter, the stabilizer, the voice of reason. They won’t like this. It’s okay. Let “You’ll thank me when you’re 25” be your mantra. Remember, it’s a phase; it’s not forever. You can be cool later.
They need the power of consequence. Teens are going to make some poor decisions. It’s in their wiring. Harp all you want, but don’t helicopter. Leave your cape and your Mama Bear suit at home. Like a ragged-out pair of yoga pants, they’re no longer fit to be worn in public. “Mom fixed it” is counter-intuitive. It certainly does not play well in future job interviews when your sweet baby gets the dreaded talk-about-a-time-you-overcame-adversity question.
They need a future story. Quit telling them these are the best years of their lives. Seriously, stop. Show them resiliency, problem-solving, and the power of positivity by letting them see you pursuing YOUR goals and interests. If your goal is reliving your “Glory Days” vicariously through your child, you’ve missed my point entirely. The best way to give a future story is to live one.
To all you moms out there, I wish you a blessed Mother’s Day. If your mom is still of this earth, please give her a visit or a call. To all the members of the Meanest Mom in the World Club, take heart. They’ll thank us in just a few short years.
Card-Toting Members of the Meanest Mom in the World Club