Confessions of a Professional Mom

Confessions of a Professional Mom

Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting…a Teenager

April 7, 2016 , , , , , , , ,

What to Expect When You're Expecting...a TeenagerRemember pouring through the What to Expect book when you were expecting your first baby?

It was my bible for the entire 9 months. I had to check in daily to be sure I was on track. This vault of wisdom answered most all my questions and eased my mind whenever I felt unsure about what the hell was happening to my body. It was comforting insight into what was coming and provided much needed reassurance like, “you’re not the only one whose feet look like the elephant woman” and “your vagina WILL look normal again—someday”.

The book they should have written has a slightly different twist. It could become Volume T and the title would be aptly named, What to Expect When You’re Expecting…a Teenager. This preparatory guide should be distributed to parents who are expecting a baby–who will grow into a teenager and test you to the brink of insanity. This book will help you emotionally and financially navigate the waters of teen-dom and help you come out smelling like a rose.

MILESTONE: Your Baby Turns 13
Woo hoo! super fun party time. Gosh, they’re growing up fast. DOUBLE DIGITS! Can you believe they start high school next year?!

MILESTONE: The Day After Your Baby Turns 13
Your teenagers head will spin around from time to time with disgust and outrage. Hello hormones! Goodbye sweet innocent child. Batten down the hatches. This is going to be a rocky ride.

MILESTONE: Hello 14!
You made it through the first teenage year without losing your marbles and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. You sweet naive parent, you! (evil laughter here……..and, still laughing) Freshman year will be a big transition from the lovely little fish bowl that was Jr. High. Prepare yourself for that high volume of texts each day about how high school is a bad bad place — about the couple who was having sex under the stairwell and the dude in Bio who offered your sweet angel a joint. You’re now questioning your glee at the triumph that was potty training and the first day of kindergarten.

MILESTONE: 15 Going on 30
Congratulations, you made it to Sophomore year. You’re a rock star and you still have all your hair. Your child now has all the hair (if they’re male) and the need to remove said hair (if they are female…ie: waxing, shaving, plucking, threading, trimming, etc.) Cha-ching! Take out a loan for all the upcoming sports accoutrement, uniforms, cleats, shoes, special dresses, special underwear, special jewelry, special backpacks…everything is just so special—and expensive! And, let’s not forget, tampons, pads, shave gel, razors, special hair elixir, cologne, deodorant, lotions and potions and makeup. It’s ok, it’s all worth it. Remember Chapter 1 of What to Expect When You’re Expecting?!

teenage-coupleThere may be boyfriends or girlfriends on the horizon and that will be another chapter all on it’s own. For now, it’s good to consider boundaries and acceptance.

THIS IS NOT GOING AWAY! As much as you’d like it to. You’ll observe other parents who choose to eschew this phase all together. Live in denial even. They simply refuse to acknowledge it and put down an iron fist, exclaiming, “my daughter will not date until she graduates from high school.” For them, ignorance may be bliss. Theirs will be the teen who asks your teen to lie and say they’re sleeping over at your house while they’re out with Biff Barrington or Chelsea Fakely.

Dating parameters will be for you to decide. Ignore it, deny it’s existence or accept it and use it as a teaching moment to guide them in the social graces and pitfalls of relationships. I chose the latter. Wish me luck!

MILESTONE: Sweet 16!
Sweet sixteen seems to be the official ‘coming out’ for teenagers (girls especially). It is their understanding that you are responsible to throw them a big expensive party, buy them a new car and take out a loan to cover the additional auto insurance that will inevitably spike after their first wreck. If you do not or cannot provide the above prepare yourself for a guilt trip that doesn’t even come close to the ones your mother used to lay on you. Wah! Wah! Wahhhh! You suck so hard. Why are you so mean to them?!

MILESTONE: The Drivers License — Not for Everyone
These days I know twenty year olds who have chosen not to get their license just yet. Twenty! By the time I was twenty, I’d moved across the country and was married already. WTF (Good Lord, that sounded like my parents…and walked to school both ways in a blizzard etc.)

When they do opt in for the DL it is optional whether or not YOU teach them how to drive. I employed the help of my creative partner (an Auntie to my girls). This was a smart move. No fuss. No muss. No knock down drag outs in MY car. The anticipation for the day they get their license swells to an all-time high after acting as their unpaid Uber driver for the last 16 years. You’ll finally be able to hang up your taxi hat for awhile. Careful what you wish for. Your baby driving a 6,000 pound vehicle in crazy freeway traffic is more than unnerving. When you see them drive away for the first time, it’s downright petrifying. So many things could happen and this is where blind faith comes in handy. Use it. You’ll need it.

MILESTONE: 16-1/2 Look Whose Talking
This milestone can take either fork in the road. You may have a talkative child who turns into a painfully quiet teenager who tells you nothing. Or, like me, you gave birth to “talking from the minute she came out of me” to “still talking and talking and talking.” I’ve exchanged stories with other moms who feel frustrated and bummed as to why their kid doesn’t tell them anything, when my kid tells me everything. Literally, everything! And sometimes things I did not need to know.

Admittedly, I would not change a thing. I feel fortunate that we have a close relationship and that she even feels comfortable and trusts me enough to share, even when it’s uncomfortable (for me). Every teenager is different. Just keep the lines of communication open. They’ll talk to you when they’re ready. And prepare yourself for the following topics: sex, herpes, nudes, sexting, cutting, drinking, smoking, drugs, partying, lying, bullying, getting together, breaking up, hooking up and this is only the beginning…

MILESTONE: 17 Going on 34
…to be continued

 

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison DeFord

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