If I had a dollar for every time a parent of young kids asked me what it’s like to parent teenagers, I’d be rich. The questions range from mildly curious to positively terrified.
“Are they always moody?”
“Do they stop wanting to spend time with you?”
“Are they selfish human beings leaving nothing but a giant mess and constant eye rolls in their wake?”
The short answer? Yes. Sort of.
The reality of parenting teens is that you never really know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it. Just like no one can fully describe those early sleepless nights with a newborn or the epic meltdowns of a hangry toddler. What I can do is give you a glimmer in what I like to call “A Day in the Life of Raising Teens.”
Morning (Also known as the time of day I reconsider my choice of parenthood.)
6am: Make the unimaginable mistake of telling my high schooler to have a good day, and promptly get asked why I’m invading her morning alone time.
6:15am: Walk upstairs with coffee and a mental note to call my mother to apologize for being a teenage girl.
8:15am: Wonder why the boy teen is still in the shower but assume he’s got a plan because it’s May, and he’s had the same school routine all year.
8:20am: “Mom! Why did you let me shower so long? You know I like to be downstairs by 8:05.” Sorry to break this to you, Son, but I’m not tracking your apparently very specific schedule.
9am: All teens have left the building, but their presence is still felt — a single sock remains on the kitchen counter; six cups are left on the table because cups in my house are like gremlins and when exposed to water, they multiply; a forgotten lunchbox taunts me by the front door.
9:01am: Repeat, “I love my children” over and over again until I’m no longer researching boarding school options.
Afternoon (The time of day my kids forget I have a job.)
1pm: “Mom, can you pick me up from school?”
2pm: “Mom, can you take me to Target?”
3pm: “Mom, can you pick me up at the bus stop?”
3:30pm: “Mom, can you take me to Gamestop.”
Note: My answer to all of these is, “I have a job,” which is met with confusion as to how that has anything to do with their requests.
4pm: My work call gets interrupted for the following message — “I’m studying for my AP exam tomorrow, so please try not to come in my room and interrupt me.”
4:15pm: Plot multiple ways to interrupt the studier because that kind of crazy simply cannot be tolerated.
Evening (The teens giveth, and they taketh away.)
5pm: When I ask if anyone has homework, the answer is a solid “No.”
6pm: My dinner choice is met with sighs, so I give them the options of going hungry or fending for themselves.
7pm: We have family time, which includes light conversation and our favorite TV shows. I think to myself what a cool mom I must be if my teens still want to spend time with me. Decide I’m totally nailing parenting and pour myself a glass of wine to celebrate.
8pm: “I’m going upstairs do my homework.” Seriously?!?
8:01pm: “I need four packs of tissue for extra credit tomorrow.” This child is no longer my favorite.
8:02pm: “I didn’t have enough dinner, so I’m going to grab a snack.” You mean the bag of Goldfish, four strawberries, and gummy bears instead of the spaghetti I made didn’t sustain you?
8:03pm: Realize I may have overstated “nailing it” and drink another
bottle glass of wine.
10pm: Sit in bed wondering if these kids, who are officially taller than me, will make it on their own in society or if they will always need someone to remind them to brush their teeth. A knock on the door interrupts my thoughts and is followed by a hug and a “Goodnight, Mom. I love you.”
10:05pm: Melt into a puddle of love because there are no words to explain what it feels like to get a hug from your teenager.