It has come to my attention that over the past few months of writing this blog, I may have come over as being a whinging old bag. A hormonal, moaning Brit expat. The mother of two teenagers.
It dawned on me, when reading through a couple of my old posts, that the main content of my new found hobby consists mainly about my life with two homeschooled teenagers and the struggles that both of these present. While there are a couple of entries that show my life in a positive light (and it is, I promise!) the words mainly portray a woman who, to help her get through the task of homeschooling two teenagers, drinks copious amounts of red wine and locks herself in the toilet to cry.
And why? Well, would you really be as interested in reading this blog if every single entry was all about me joyfully skipping through the beautifulness of home educating my two teenagers while drinking algae smoothies, getting high on a maths topic, looking young and never, ever crying? Would you? No. I didn’t think so.
You have all been so sweet and loyal in your support for me over the past few months, and because of this, I feel that I owe you a bit of payback.
Some of the readers of this blog are parents to young children. After reading my harrowing accounts of parenting teenagers, they leave comments such as “Oh no! I’m dreading the teenage years.” Or “mine are only 5 and 8, and I thought this stage was hard”. Even, “I’m not looking forward to my little boy becoming a teenager, he’s lovely at the moment, what the hell is he going to turn into?”
As a special treat, for those parents (and, because I am writing this post in a super chilled out place without the distraction of my demanding, hungry buggers bothering me),
I am here to tell you that parenting teenagers isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. Honestly. Nowhere near as bad. In fact, it’s nice.
Ok, Liz. Don’t push it.
Those parents of young children, I don’t want you to have to worry unduly about the onslaught of the teenage years. Don’t waste all of those precious hours that you have with your little ones, fretting. You need to be enjoying the present moment. Turning your attention to thoughts such as why does the wendy house smell of wee and is it really too much to give them pasta and pesto three times a week. (Throw a couple of cherry tomatoes on the side, that’ll confuse them.)
There are many wonderful things that teenagers bring to your life, and I will share a couple of those with you. It’ll hopefully calm your nerves. If this doesn’t work, I recommend wine.
You will never, ever have to worry about not getting a lie in again. Teenagers don’t know what the morning sun looks like and even if they do wake up earlyish, they certainly don’t want you to talk to them until at least 1 pm. Think papers, think coffee, think long lazy mornings in bed. Nipping out to the local coffee shop for a pastry and some adult conversation. It’s coming your way soon my poor tired Mummy and Daddy, I promise.
Teenagers will cook. And we are not talking play dough cookies with some frozen peas stuck around the edge and a dollop of spit on top. No. Teenagers love to be in charge in the kitchen. If you can turn your eye (and by the time comes, you will do, believe me) to your kitchen being turned into something resembling an upside down dumpster, you will be rewarded with a delicious spaghetti bolognese or a fragrant stir fry. All you have to do is put your feet up, have a few gin and tonics, and I promise you, by the time dinner is served you won’t care less that they’ve snapped the end off your Japanese filleting knife, or that they used the bread board to chop the garlic.
Bins. We all know the amount of waste a new parent handles within one day. Poo, sick, mushed up banana, sick, snot, smeared melted chocolate biscuits, poo, cat sick and poo. All expertly wiped, concealed, and disposed of by you. Remember, with teenagers come jobs. And guess the very first job that every parent assigns their teenager? Bins.
“Take the bins out”. “Empty the bins.” I’ve even heard of one callous homeschooling mother who makes her son wash and swill the bins out with bleach every single Thursday after lunch… honestly. How anal. It may take some
screaming , cajoling, but I promise you, your hands will never touch the inside of a swing lid ever again.
Teenagers make you laugh. Not to be confused with the sort of laughing you do when your toddler says something funny to Granddad. No, teenagers have a wicked sense of humour, and if you can relax the sergeant major façade that you tend to employ, you will enjoy those belly laughs that you haven’t had since the days of your A level English class when you and your mates stuck that note to the teachers back. (Remember? You were a teenager once…)
Gardening. For years it seems that all little children want to do when it comes to gardening is ‘help’. This usually involves making mud pies or digging tunnels through your daffodils so that Thomas can get through with his little blue engine.
I wouldn’t say teenagers are begging to help, but the difference is, is that when they do venture out into the garden with you, they are strong. No more heaving and pulling for you. I have found that teenagers like to prove their worth by tugging up and lifting out the heaviest roots in the garden.The same goes for the grass. Once a teenager is on the scene you’ll never have to risk pulling your arm out of its socket by yanking that pulley thing on the lawnmower ever again.
Going to the supermarket. The days of screaming toddlers, torn off french sticks and having a panic attack at the checkout because you’ve dropped the dummy under the pile of processed food in your trolley are over.
Admittedly, the supermarket now becomes a place where you might as well just get a light and set fire to your purse, but a quick trip to the supermarket can also give you 5 minutes to sit in the car on your phone. Don’t hold me to this one, it’s not a given. But occasionally, if you smile sweetly and say “will you just nip in for me?” they will fly out of the car like Superman and be back in their seat again before Pinterest has even loaded. Panting and hungry. Annoying, but a lot less stressful.
So please, parents of young children. Don’t read my blog and sit there quivering in your boots about what demons your little ones are going to turn into. For every one negative that people like me tell you about teenagers, there are plenty of positives to balance the scales. It’s just that they wouldn’t make for such funny stories and…
I wouldn’t have an excuse to drink wine.