It’s a weird sort of phenomenon. I co-exist comfortably, easily and happily with our two teenagers in this lovely household of ours. My husband also co-exists with our two teenagers in this lovely household, just not always as comfortably or as easily as I do (although he swears up and down that he is quite happy with them – and we all do believe him, except maybe when he’s muttering about towels and dishes under his breath).
So I got to pondering why there is this difference between my life with our two teenagers and his life with our two teenagers.
It didn’t take long before I figured it out. To put it simply:
“It doesn’t drive me nuts that …”
You see, it doesn’t drive me nuts that:
They go through clean towels like crazy. Personally, I see my kids’ point – I like to re-use towels but only a couple of times. And when it comes right down to it, towels are so simple to wash and put away.
Whenever I hear my husband muttering “Another new towel!”, I can never resist pointing out that at least they’ve placed the old towels in the laundry hamper, rather than leaving them on the floor, or draped over the bathtub, or spreading mildew among their dirty clothes scattered on their bedroom floor.
They hoard dishes and water bottles in their rooms and at their computers. If I see an excess of dishes and water bottles in the office, I just gather them up and take them to the kitchen – I pass by their desks on my way out of the room anyway.
And, as long as they’re not doing anything illegal or bringing in mice and/or bugs, I figure their rooms are their space to do with as they please. Sooner or later, they get tired of the mess and clean it up. Yes, that does happen.
My advice? “Just don’t look in their rooms, honey.” That’s why they have doors. And they very cooperatively keep those doors shut most of the time.
My closet is constantly raided. I am the same size as my daughter and most of her friends. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten over any sense of surprise when the door opens and one of my daughter’s friends comes into the room wearing one of my tops.
In fact, now that several of them have part-time jobs and seem to have upgraded their wardrobes, it’s been quite lovely, because I never know what might end up in my laundry somehow, and yes, I harbor no guilt about wearing anything I see that catches my fancy.
Not to mention, they all, very fortunately, have larger feet than I do. So my precious shoes are safe.
The occasional impromptu ramen party takes place in our kitchen. It happens. And when four to eight teenage girls descend on the kitchen to make themselves bowls of ramen, well, you’re going to find ramen noodle wrappers and used soup base packages all over the place, right?
It takes just minutes for me to toss the packaging into the garbage. I’m just happy that they’re having fun here, at our house, rather than somewhere else. It’s always nice when my kids are home.
They play video games or are on the Internet all night long. Well, it’s tough for me to get riled up about this one, isn’t it? Especially since I’m sitting there on my computer next to them the whole time, and if I have any spare time on my hands, I’m playing The Sims 3 …
On the odd occasion when I do find myself getting upset over something teenager-ish (like when I can’t find ANY of my jeans), I find it fairly easy to switch thoughts in mid-gear (plus, they usually leave my skirts alone). On such occasions I usually remember things like:
they (almost) always call to let me know where they are, and when they’ll be home.
they hate asking me for money or asking me to buy them anything. (I can’t quite figure this out because I’ve always spoiled them rotten, and you know what people say about spoiling your kids rotten).
- I don’t embarrass them (much).
they often sit next to me on the couch and help me out with whatever iPhone game I’m playing (especially if I’m playing Bejewelled or Suduko).
if I’m lying on the sofa with a head cold or some such thing, one or the other of them will walk by, pat my head, and say, “Poor mom”.
- they think I’m a techno-wiz when it comes to the computer and social networking (not so much when it comes to working the DVD controls).
we have so many lovely, grown-up conversations, and they talk to me about all the things I want them to be able to talk to me about: sex, friends, school, plans for the future, women’s rights, gay rights, human rights – the list is endless.
it gives them both such delight that they are taller than I am.
spending family nights together on the weekends watching Bones on DVD.
getting the occasional surprise hug from one of them – and almost always, it’s out of the blue.
Most of all, any aggravation I have fades when I look at them and remember that they’ll both be off leading their own lives within the next few years.
And I’ve promised myself I will only cry about it when they’re not looking.