Several years ago when we were contemplating child number six, my mother-in-law made the comment, “Little kids, little problems…big kids, big problems.” I brushed the comment aside and said, “Not our kids.” Well, here I am now with five teenagers and while they’re really good kids in general, I am exhausted. It’s Monday, and I should feel recharged, but I’m dragging.
Let’s start with my 19-year-old son who decided to live at home while going to college after living on campus for only one semester. We encouraged him to stay and give it more time, but he was adamant. So I took a deep breath and said, “Ok.” My first complaint is how little time he actually spends at school or studying. When I was at college I was always at class. Half of the time he says his class has been cancelled or there is some online thing he has to watch or do. I guess with the technology of today, teaching is different. So with all the extra time on his hands we suggested he get a job.
Honestly, he needs to get a job for spending money. His idea of applying for a job is sending in a few online applications and waiting. Probably forever. We keep suggesting places to go, connections we have, etc., but he keeps dragging his feet and saying, “I don’t want to work THERE!” or “They don’t pay enough!” He seems to forget that he’s 19 and has no job skills other than serving pizza at the local water park for the last three summers. All he wants to do is have fun with his friends. It’s maddening!!!!
Then there is my first experience with a teenage daughter. Let me tell you, when it comes to the drama department, boys are sooooo much easier. There is no drama! She is in eighth grade and the paradise of sixth and seventh grade is gone. While I would say she doesn’t really cause the drama, it constantly circles around her. One girl is being mean to another girl, which means certain people can no longer “hang” together. Often times, insensitive comments are made that really hurt. I just don’t know how to help her get through it all. And she still has high school to go through!
My eighth grade daughter has a twin brother. Both of them like to spend money on clothes, movies and drinks at the local hang out. I decided it was time for them to earn some of their own money so I signed them up to take a course to become a certified soccer referee. The complaining was unbelievable. Why did they have to give up their Friday night and all day Saturday to sit in such a boring class?
Now that they’re certified, they’re actually refereeing games. Usually one or two games on an occasional Sunday. The moaning and complaining that started Friday for the upcoming games on Sunday were miserable. I kept pointing out that it was a beautiful day and they were earning money. And besides, what else did they have to do?
I could continue with more stories but I’ve run out of space. I think as parents we love our children so much and we want to make sure they’re always happy and successful in whatever they do. I really internalize their unhappiness. I’m working on trying to let it go. I’m a mom that likes to be in control, but I also need to have less stress in my life for my own happiness. Letting them figure things out for themselves is not such a bad thing. I will keep repeating that to myself.