When Everything They Warn You About Is True
Just wait until they’re teenagers, people would tell me, as I struggled up a flight of stairs with a double stroller and a Baby Bjorn strapped to my chest, at least obscuring my leaky boobs if hurting my lower back. I was too exhausted to reply with a clever quip, but my deadpan stare surely said shut the fuck up.
Without saying they were right, because clearly they were spiteful, I acknowledge there is a certain truth to their words: parenting becomes more difficult, in different ways, when children are older.
The hard labour of diapers and car seats and stalking pediatricians is replaced with a constant doubt: am I doing the right thing?
I used to consult baby books, and whether it was Dr. Spock or What to Expect During the Toddler Years, there was a plethora of information, all with clear answers. But teething issues morph into texting issues, how much is too much? being the new hot topic.
Part of the problem is the world has changed. Technology has made the world I grew up in unrecognizable, and I grapple with new decisions, that have serious repercussions. When I wondered if my daughter should have a cell phone, I worried on both sides; whether she would spend too much time texting, and conversely that she would be left out of the conversation if she didn’t. Same thing with Facebook, Skype, Instagram, etc. I attended a lecture about the dangers of teenagers and social media, the message being use caution and hope for the best.
Okie-dokie, that was helpful. Two hours I won’t get back.
Then there are the age-old problems that I’m facing for the first time as a parent. Reports of drinking, rumours of drugs, whispers of sex; none of which are in our lives yet but are hovering on the horizon, far too soon. I want my daughter to have fun and enjoy her youth, and yet I quell a desire to lock her in her room every weekend.
With high school came makeup. One morning I noticed a hint of mascara, the next day it was a full-on smoky eye. The first day it was okay, fun! I even thought; the next day I made her take it off. The short shorts. The high heels. The cropped/backless/lace tops. No. No. No. Every morning she wakes, it seems she is a full inch taller and wanting to wear more makeup and less clothing.
As I deliberate the line between right and wrong, there is the attitude to deal with. What to do when your daughter talks to you like you are an imbecile? What is the appropriate comeback to shut up? Timeouts have had their time in the sun; I try to take away her computer, but then she can’t do her homework. Instead I take away her phone, but of course she simply uses her computer to talk to her friends. I try different measures, in the same way I continually try different brands of running shoes: I hope they will fix my injuries, but know they likely won’t.
These are just a few of the issues. Everyday there are more; more limits to set and more boundaries to create, which almost inevitably lead to lengthy discussions and the slamming of doors (sometimes hers, sometimes mine).
Attitude comes with the teenage territory, and the ground that we now tread on is full of potential landmines. I couldn’t see them back when I was pushing that double stroller, but to be fair I couldn’t see to the end of the day in that sleep-deprived state. As my friend explained to me the other day, all she wants to do is what’s best for her daughter. Something simple in theory, much harder in practice.
That could be what those seemingly spiteful people meant to say, all those years ago.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
It’s Rarely About Me, But Here Goes
I’m less verbose on TwitterMy Tweets
- Father’s Day Reflection
- June Bugs and Strawberry Shortcake
- Cheerfully, The Answer is No.
- A Teacher Who Made a Difference
- Ask.Fm: Where Wild West Meets Social Media
- The Maze of Uncertainty Under My Feet
- Running Towards the Smoke in Boston
- Stay Gold, Ponyboy
- Back Off Winter Sports, It’s Spring
- Holy Smoke
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010