I’m looking at you, momma. I see you smiling that plastered-on smile to make everyone around you think you’re alright.
That you’ve got it all together.
That you’re feeling all “tight-and-right” about your momming skills.
But I know that look. And I know that your smile is a lie.
Because overnight, he went from being that sweet, rule-following child with the big, bright eyes, and then - with the sprouting of that first armpit hair, BAM! - suddenly he’s a lazy, smart-mouthed beast with no drive and no respect.
Or maybe he’s still speaking to you all respectful-like, holding that halo up with one hand, clenching tight to those edibles he’s been hiding under his pillow with the other.
And that’s making you toss and turn at night, wondering where you went wrong, and how you could have done things differently. Better.
The truth is, he’s disappointed you.
You don’t even know him*, anymore.
He’s lost and you’re lost and you know he needs to feel connection - connection especially with his family.
But it’s hard because the last thing you want is to be in the same room as him.
Except that - all you really want is to be in the same room as him.
Hmm? What’s that? You can’t relate? You don’t know what I’m even talking about because your teenager is still a sweet baby angel?
Don’t thank all your lucky stars yet, sassafrass, and don’t you dare get cocky.
Because it might not happen tomorrow or next month, but there will come a time - I promise you - when you’ll think your kid has lost his damn mind, and you’ll worry about his future and you’ll tuck all your scared feelings down deep so that nobody will know that he’s not perfect.
Or that you’ve messed up somewhere along the way.
It’s so easy to think we’re screwing up at this mom thing - this job that has no manager, no quarterly reviews, no support staff.
But here’s something you need to know right the eff now: you haven’t messed up**.
It’s clunky, and uncomfortable, and it’s a torturous push-and-pull of power between you and them (and even within themselves).
You just keep doing what you’re doing.
Keep correcting them when they misstep. You’ll do it so often, you’ll get on your own damn nerves with all the nagging.
But as much as it is part of your teenager’s right of passage into adulthood to push against your rules and boundaries, it’s your job to keep reminding him where those boundaries are.
Keep trying to connect with him, no matter how hard he pushes you away.
His words and his actions will tell you he hates it and he hates you and he doesn’t want anything to do with you, but he needs you to fight him on this.
He needs you to show him that a relationship with him is worth fighting for.
Listen up: don’t you dare let your kid make you think you’re out of your league. Don’t you dare let other moms make you feel like they’ve got it all figured out.
To that, I will call bullshit.
None of us has it all figured out!
Even those of us who have already blazed that trail with one or more older kids. Here’s a funny-not-funny thing mother nature pulls on us: each kid is different.
So, even if you’ve been down this teenage road before, it’s the first time all over again when the next one gets there.
But you keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all gonna be ok.
It’ll be just a few short years from now and he’ll be out on his own and you’ll start to see flickers of his old self coming back, but in man form.
The same, but different.
Now, get up, pull those mom jeans up nice and high, hold your shoulders back, chin up, and mom the hell outta that kidda yours.
*You’ll notice I’ve used the male pronoun throughout this post. It’s because in all of my conversations about this with other moms, 99% of the time, it’s teenage boys that the wheels are falling off of. Maybe it’s nature’s way of balancing things out for boy moms not having to deal with a bunch of teenage girl drama. 🤔
**Unless you are a crack whore. Then you’ve messed up.