Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Momtonamo Bay

I thought that being the mother of infants or toddlers was exhausting - it was. Physically, that is. From morning till night, and often in between, I spent a great deal of time not sleeping. Sometimes I didn't think I'd make it. I did. Only to find out that being the mother of teenagers is a whole 'nother kind of tired.

Parenting teenagers is not just mental exhaustion, it's mental abuse. Feeling down? A little low self-esteem? Just have your teenage daughter tell you how dumb your outfit looks. Feeling fat? Have your skinny teenage son give you dieting advice. Feeling like you aren't responsible for enough in this world? Have your kids blame you for every lost piece of clothing, set of car keys, unwashed favorite shirt, missed assignment or bad social event.

And how about getting them to do things around the house. What are you insane? They don't have time! They're really, really busy. They have to go to school, play a sport, instant message their friends and try on every article of clothing in their closet and throw it on the floor of their bedroom so that you can wash it all over again because you can't tell what's clean or dirty. If they do actually do something for you, they remind you of it for hours on end.

Then there's the mind games. Parenting teenagers forces you to be mentally alert in ways that military experts haven't even thought about. Your child is being pleasant? Be on guard! You will soon be asked for money, a ride somewhere or a sleepover. Your child actually cleaned up their room? Honey, you are about to be scammed for a majorly expensive trip to the mall. Your kid just called at 10:30 pm to say they ordered a pizza and she'll be home a little late? Sweetie - you are so punk'd. You think this pizza craving came on late in the evening? Perhaps there's just too many boys to chat with before curfew.

Your kids will throw you for a loop in ways that you wouldn't have dreamt of 30 years ago. They have no qualms about being disrespectful, copping an attitude or being downright rude. And let's not even get into clothing choices. The things that kids wear today would blow the nuns of my day out of their habits.

This is not to say that we don't have some control over this. We moms of teens have to be stealth about this and band together. We have to share our secrets as well as the latest so-called "kidsperiences." You know - what are they saying and doing that might blindside you tomorrow?

You see, years of maternal teen parenting have hardened me. I'm no longer just a mom - I'm RoboMom. A trained professional. I've become an expert at maternal interrogation. I've learned, over the years, how to strike when they least expect it in order to extract the most information possible. For instance, a well-baked pan of brownies may just get me the names of the cutest guys and the meanest girls. The rental of a favorite movie, along with a few carefully crafted questions can get me perhaps a day's worth of stories, anecdotes and rumors. And the best part is, I share with my friends.

Sure, I look like a typical housewife. I'm plain, my clothes are out of style and I don't speak or listen to hip-hop or death metal. This is exactly how I want my kids to perceive me - slow and dumb. What they don't know is that until they move out of my house, I'm undercover. I'll watch their every move, interpret their words and pay very close attention. You know, there's probably a career waiting for me in the CIA when I'm finished with this. That, and a good, stiff drink.


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