Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Expect the Unexpected

There’s a book that hasn’t been written. If it were, it would go right alongside all the other “What to Expect…” books that are now collecting dust in my library. The title of this book is What to Expect When You Have a Teenager. Here’s a brief outline:

Chapter 1: Indifference
Chapter 2: Attitude and Lots of It!
Chapter 3: Stuff…Everywhere…And the Inability to Find Any of It
Chapter 4: No Information on Anything…Ever
Chapter 5: From Zero to Mad in Less Than 6 Seconds

I could on and on and on. Actually, I think the book should really be titled: What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting It because that is really what parenting a teen is all about. It’s about being blindsided on a daily basis by mood swings and hormones and fits of rage, inexplicably followed by moments of sweetness and laughter. It’s the roller coaster of parenting and it’s one hell of a ride.

The funniest part of it all, is that just when it seems like you can’t stand anymore, it’s over and you miss them more than you could ever imagine. In what other relationship in your life would you put up with this? Seriously, this has dysfunction written all over it!

Still, generation after generation of parents go along for this thrill ride. Many even get to ride it several times. That’s when aging mercifully gives us memory loss, diminished hearing and poor eyesight, shielding us from the bare, naked truth – parenting a teen is not much fun at all. (Except for never having to go to Chuck E. Cheese ever again in my lifetime. For that I am eternally grateful.)


At 11:30 AM , Blogger kenju said...

I chuckled over Chuck E. Cheese. I had to go there once with my grandchildren and I said never again! You are right about teens; they are infuriating and maddening, but wonderful, just the same. My oldest grandchild will be 13 on the 27th. It's starting...LOL

At 1:57 PM , Blogger PI said...

One of the joys of getting old is seeing one's off spring experiencing precisely the same problems with their own children and sometimes I have to hide my unseemly glee!
I wouldn't have missed those days for the world and feel blessed to have them still around.
Michele says Hi!

At 1:58 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

There's a Chuck E. Cheese alongside the highway on the way to Toronto. We pass it every time we make the two-hour drive to meet friends and family. The kids always clamor to stop there, and we always shudder as we approach the dreaded place.

I'll think of you every time we cruise on by. May we never grace its unhallowed halls.

BTW, I'm calling you as soon as our eldest hits 13 - this coming Oct. 26. I need your guidance!

At 2:08 PM , Blogger Em said...

THREE teenagers in our house...and you are absolutely right. Blindsided with everything, attitude, shoulder shrugs when we ask for real information. Some days I understand why some animals eat their young!

At 5:01 PM , Blogger margalit said...

I don't know if I TOTALLY agree with you. My daughter (14)has really outgrown the mouthy attitude, the lying, the secretiveness, etc. She was horrible at 11 and 12, not that great at 13, and by 14 she's become almost all delightful. She tells me everything about her day, I know all her friends, she's honest and pleasant and fun to be with. Go figure!

But her twin brother. Oh my gawd, he is horrible. HORRIBLE. He's everything you've said and more.

The difference is puberty and how long it lasts. She was early at 10.5, he is late and hasn't really started yet. So it's been way too many years of having an insolent jerk in my house. But honestly, it does really get better after about 3 or 4 years of hell.

Michele sent me.

At 6:39 PM , Blogger Lynn said...

If you write the book...I will definitely read it!!! I couldn't stop laughing at the Chapters you listed...My daughter is twelve and unfortunately the chapters are already familiar to me.

At 7:51 AM , Anonymous Write From Karen said...

Boy, DON'T I KNOW IT!! I have a 14-year-old boy and I swear I'm going to strangle him. I had thought, up until a couple of months ago, that parenting a teen was going to be a piece of cake. Yeah, I'm delusional. The attitude and defiance has started and it will be miracle if I survive these next years. It's nice to know I'm not the only one out there. It truly does help.

Michele sent me!

At 11:40 AM , Blogger Joan said...

I feel slightly guilty since I'm child-free and therefore teenage-free. But watching my sister go through hormonal hell with her daughter, I absolutely understand your plight. And I'm sure, as a former librarian, your book would fly off the shelves into the hands of every desperate mom.

At 2:34 PM , Blogger Azgreeneyes said...

I have Chapter 6 for you!

Chapter 6: Piercings, tattoos and purple hair, oh my!

Thanks for the laugh!

At 7:33 PM , Blogger Vid Digger said...

Karen, you're scaring me! You're suppose to tell us parents who are at their early stages of parenting that things will be peaches and cream when our kids become teenagers. I want my money back!

Hi, Michele sent me!

I'll love my kids no matter what, even if they end up selling fries at McDonalds, which I'll do my best to prevent from happening!


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