Is you can’t talk at all about what it’s like to parent teens.
My kids give me lots of grief when I periodically put content online about them because they find me embarrassing. Facebook is still my “freedom” zone because they know it’s mostly people I know in the real world (including some friends from the interwebs who I’ve never met in person) and mostly old people. Their friends, however, follow me on instagram so I’m banned from referencing them in any way without their prior approval.
This blog is kinda safe because they know about it, but they don’t read it because they find it boring AF.
I’ve also been shamed for posting on instagram about things unrelated to them…like bitching about boobsweat, referencing the app TikTok, and cursing. But I stand by my First Amendment right as a parent to use my social media however I choose if I’m just referencing my own old-lady boring life. I have been ranting about boobsweat since before you were born, I’m not going to stop now, kid. BOOBSWEAT IS A FACT OF LIFE AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IT.
But it’s tough because some days I’m wanting to share new discoveries with the world! Like…we all know that social media can create unattainable expectations for beauty, but did you know teens get Home Envy too? Just like how we adults feel inadequate looking at the nice houses in the backgrounds of our instagram feeds? Well…there’s a similar thing with teenagers. There’s a lot of popular young adults on social media with homes/bedrooms TO DIE FOR and just like you and I have to learn not to compare our homes to those, our kids need to learn not to compare their bedrooms to the bedrooms of kids who make $5,000 a month being an “influencer.”
It’s actually something I’ve been able to bond over with my kids. Wes gets jealous when he sees the background bedrooms of his favorite gamers, or their game setup. Nikki wants her bedroom to look as amazing as some of the art/lifestyle content creators she follows. And I can talk to both of them about how even some of my real-world friends trigger my own envy monster when I see their gorgeous homes in the background of their pictures and videos. I KNOW YOUR PAIN, KIDS. And I remind them that outside the frame of EVERY photo/video there is stress and sadness and hidden messes and insecurities and we ALL need to be careful about comparing real lives to the curated lives of others.
Sometimes I feel like we need to plan top-secret support group meetings at undisclosed locations where we all have to sign a blood-oath not to repeat anything we hear so that we could all FINALLY VENT ABOUT THE HARDSHIP OF PARENTING TEENAGERS. Because some days I think, “This is the day. This is the day I run away to a cabin in the mountains and never come back.”
(If I ever run away and never come back know this: MY TEENAGERS FINALLY BROKE ME.)
But man…it’s also a special kind of rewarding. I remember with E bonding with him over books and thinking, “Oh…shit. THIS is an unexpected benefit of the teen years. BUILT IN BOOK CLUB!” I also love how much my kid’s humor matures in the teenage years. They all started making me LEGITIMATELY laugh in their teen years and there’s something even special about that laughter because there is no pride your kid feels as great as watching their parent almost wet their pants because of something THEY SAID.
Like yesterday…me and the kids were joking about how my husband is all self-righteous about not using social media but he’s still on his phone more than the rest of us. And Nikki snarkily replied, “But he’s still not replying to our texts.” I laughed SO HARD because OH MY GOD THAT IS SO TRUE. Donnie is always playing games on his phone but he NEVER answers calls or texts. I’ve had to “drop in” to my Alexa in my kitchen before and just holler at the house, “SOMEONE TELL DADDY TO CALL ME.” He is the hardest person to reach for being someone who is always on his phone.
So it’s not all bad, at all. But the “bad” is challenging in new and unexpected ways because ALL OF US ARE BANNED FROM TALKING ABOUT IT. And at this age the sense of urgency in parenting is a lot stronger because you feel like your power to shape your kids is dwindling and if you don’t do it right in this moment, your chance may be gone forever to keep them from becoming homicidal sociopaths.
If anyone wants to start a secret Huntsville chapter of Parents of Teens club I promise I won’t talk about it to anyone.