I love being a reader of Grown and Flown. This morning I read an article titled “7 More Things Moms of Teens Don’t Give A Crap About,” and it literally validated all of the things I have had internal and external battles about for the past 4 years of momming these teens. It validated me to the core, knowing I’m not alone in the struggle that’s real.
So, big kudos to the original author, Katie Bingham Smith, I stand in solidarity on so many of these craps that I used to care about and now don’t (or am trying not to).
There are at least 7 more things we parents of teens don’t care about. (Photo Credit: Amy Keyes)
This got me thinking about a writing a sequel to the classic list of letting go.
If you’re anything like me- smack dab in the middle of the teen years, with more than one of them (not to mention a middle school teacher who spends all day with other peoples’ teens)- my ratio of the number of things to care about, stands in drastic opposition the energy I have to do the caring of it all.
So, here are 7 more things I already don’t, or am trying not to, give as big of a crap about. And honestly, I still think my boys are going to turn out to be functioning adults in the bigger world.
Folding laundry is one of my least favorite things to do in the world. I spent years folding, and sorting, and neatly putting everything in teen drawers, only to come in 5 minutes later to see it all over the floor, as they frantically searched for their sports uniforms or favorite sweatpants. So, I started folding it and putting it neatly in their rooms in piles-only to find it tossed into a laundry tornado of chaos on the futon, or shoved randomly into drawers.
My last ditch effort of folding it all and leaving it in their laundry baskets to put away on their own resulted in dirty laundry thrown on top of clean laundry, and a bubbling of annoyance that I spent all that time and effort organizing it in the first place. So, I’ve let it go.
I know that someday, when they have college roommates to share space with, and jobs to look nice for, they will figure out how to put their clothes away in an orderly fashion that works for them.
I spend 90 percent of my free time in the bleachers or on the sidelines so I have every right to enjoy these events to the fullest, even if that means making my presence known above and beyond my boys’ liking. Throw in the fact that I used to be a cheerleader for a solid number of my teen years-it’s a winning combination to put my encouraging skills to good use.
I am often reprimanded for being “too extra,” “ridiculously excited,” or “ louder than any other parent.” Um… okay. So be it. I happen to think that I’m doing it just right and that my boys are someday going to thank me for showing up and cheering them on- even though that day is not now.
It’s been a solid few years since anyone has outwardly and willingly accepted a hug from me. In public. In private. Anywhere really.
I fall on the affection continuum at the extreme end of wanting to give it and get it at all times. I’ve decided that touch is my love language, and that doesn’t really align with teenagers. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to initiate hugs with them regularly, even if they don’t reciprocate or even politely decline the opportunity to receive one. I respect their wishes, but will never stop reaching up for that embrace.
There was a time when I would torture my kids by making them write handwritten thank you cards to mail as appreciation for the thoughtful gifts they received. Being a child of the 70s and 80s, I was schooled on the lessons of etiquette that stem way back in the olden days- before email, easy long distance calling, FaceTime, Zoom, access to recording videos on phones.
Now, there are so many ways to connect and show people gratitude, that it doesn’t have to be in the form of a stamped, painfully written letter. My boys are much more easily talked into a thank you video or phone call, which to me feels just as personal and way more immediate.
“But, all of my friends’ parents let them do it.” I mean, this is the age old phrase for any teen who wants to do something that they are getting a hard no for. Old news. I pulled it all the time when I was a teen, and my parents fell for it a total of zero times.
Let’s face it-I had no idea what my friends’ parents let them do…and neither do my kids. And even if they did, it still wouldn’t matter. I don’t ever judge others for their decisions, and also, our boundaries are our own, and will continue to be set by our own family values and experiences.
Last week at school, I had an epic dance party for one, when one of my favorite songs came on. One of my students side eyed me and said, “Mrs. Keyes- you are so weird.” Yep. I am. I mean, aren’t we all.
I am authentically me at all times, which doesn’t always mesh with the temperament of teenagers. When I’m singing show tunes in the kitchen while cleaning up dinner, laughing at my own jokes that no one else finds funny, or busting out some sweet dance moves (even when there is sometimes no music but in my head), I embrace who I am every step of the way. I know it drives my kids crazy right now, but I also know that someday it will empower them to do the same.
I leave for work at an obscene hour. It’s so early that sometimes coffee shops aren’t even open yet. I try to be quiet, but I refuse to leave the house without saying goodbye to each of my kids with a gentle kiss on the forehead and whispering to have a great day. It drives them nuts because sometimes it wakes them sooner than they need to get up.
I tried to take a break from it for a while at the request of my oldest, but it just didn’t sit right with me to leave without that connection. There’s something rooted in those goodbys that I hope reminds them I’m always there for them. I know right now it matters more to me than it does to them, but someday I hope that if and when they grow up to have families of their own, when they leave their kids for the day, they feel the pull of that connection as well. Those goodnights and good mornings bookend the day in a reminder of love.
I know I will continue to get grief over these next years for many of these things. But I will do my best to stay strong in the craps I give and the craps I choose to give less of. Feel free to join me, and maybe even write the trilogy list to add to the craps we can unload as we parent through these crazy teen years.
More Great Reading:
At 15 I Hold Onto the Boy but Also the Emerging Young Man
As a parent... have you decided that something needs to change regarding your child's academics? Have you set your ...Read more
6 years ago I went through a very big mental health crisis and while it was a time in my...Read more
There are so many options when it comes to homeschooling! Add bilingual homeschooling on top of that, and you have...Read more
Credit: Amazon When your child flies off to college or post-grad life, their absence may leave a space in your...Read more