So I have 6 kids, but they are all grown up
and I thank God for that.
I am still scarred from the teen years. I meet young mums down the street, have a chat and a little look at their babies in the prams: “Oh they are so cute! Such a cute little person.” Then I have to bite my tongue because I want to say: “Enjoy them now because all hell is going to break loose when they hit 15 . You can kiss that cute little person goodbye and say hello to the emo, jacked up demon that’ll possess your child during adolescence… have a nice day.”
When my three boys became three teenage boys I didn’t know what hit me. Where did these creatures spawn from and can I take them back & get a refund?
When they were younger and having difficulty with something, I’d say: “Mummy do, Mummy do that for you? ” It was met with an instantaneous, joyous response, matched with palpable adoration in their eyes: “Thank you Mummy! You are the best Mum in the whole wide world!”
“Damn straight, little pooky-bear.”
Now, if they’re having a problem and I offer help – “Mummy do?” I get a lip curl and a snarl just like a mad dog before it mauls a person to death.
Also you can’t ask them to do anything.
For example: I walk down to the bedroom: “Hey teen number 1” – if I forget their names I call them in the order they were hatched, I mean born. “Teen number 1 can you…”
“Nup, I’m busy.”
“I can see that. You’re laying on your bed, in front of your gamer laptop and your right hand is texting multiple people… Yes, you are positively flat out. I should be helping you.”
“Cheers Mum, can you pick up my washing and fix my bed.”
I have noted your sarcasm and ignored it. So I cross my arms giving him the non-verbal signal of ‘I’m not leaving’.
“Now is not a good time. I’m in the middle of a raid and I’m levelling up.”
“I’m in the middle of real life and my energy is running out.”
This leads to an argument.
“All I’m asking is to take the rubbish out.”
This received a grunt, which I understood as an affirmative in teen boy speak.
But 3 days later the rubbish is still there… putrefying, smelling and oozing something brown.
So I go down to his bedroom again: “Hey, is it too much to ask to take the rubbish out?”
Then I wait for the non-responses and repeat. You will not kill the desire to communicate with you… or my will to live.
Finally he answers me, “Is it still there?”
“Looks like you’ve answered your own question.”
“The question you posed: Is it too much to ask… looks like it is.”
I ignore his sarcastic work avoidance response and glare at him.
“Mum, your request was ambiguous and open to interpretation. I didn’t understand it, so I didn’t do it.”
“What? Take out the rubbish! What is so hard to understand?”
“Take out the rubbish… what and where was not specified. You need to be specific mum.”
Then we become locked in a battle of wills, which leads to a massive argument. Hello DEFCON 1.
This went on for years. Argument after argument over petty things. We got to the point where I thought he hated me. So I said, Do you hate me?
Get a load of this response:
“Mum… *sigh* *looks really uncomfortable* *screws up face*… I don’t hate you. I really don’t like saying this, but… I do love you. Errrgh *shudders*. You tell anyone I said that and I’ll fully deny it; then I’ll pound you. Now don’t take this personally, I just don’t want you in my life right now. I definitely don’t want you telling me to do things, especially guide or correct me. Please! I can’t emphasise this enough – if you continue to do this, I will rebel and do the opposite just to make a point to you, so for your sanity and our relationship, get out of my face for a few years. Also, lower your expectations on me helping around the house because it’s not going to happen. Mum, I am having major teen issues, so you can’t expect much from me until I sort them out and it doesn’t look good until mid twenties.”
“And another point, don’t greet me as soon as I walk in the door from high school. It really annoys the hell outta me. Teenage boys do not need that after a hard day at high school, being a guy and all that. Just let me wander off into my room where I can hibernate for several hours. After, I may come out and be ready to verbalise something in the form of annoyed grunt, most likely a demand for food but not real food – the fake kind. So, stock up on corn chips, cheese and microwavable foods. I’m not six! I do not want apples or carrot sticks.”
“Another little pointer, if you try to hug me in public again…I will smash you.”
I thanked him for his directness & honesty.
Then we looked at each other and for the first time in a long time we really understood each other. It was a beautiful moment. I felt like I reconnected with my son.
I took all of what he said, processed it and said:
“Yeah… I’m doing none of that. Newsflash, Castro, carrot sticks and apples are not age specific and I will hug your whenever I want. Also, if you try to smash me, I will pin you down and have you begging for your life in 5 seconds. Now take the rubbish out before I disconnect the internet for a week.”
I didn’t say that… boy, do I wish I did. I took the rubbish out & stayed out of his personal space for three years. It worked. We’re all good now. Sometimes taking the spineless, doormat option really works.