Parenting Toddlers vs Parenting Teens. Which one is harder?
Last night at 10pm when I was ready to climb the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, hit the hay, retreat to my pit (aka go to bed) it occurred to me that my teen was not home and had not sent me the usual text of “Can I stay at…….house”?
I wanted to go to sleep so I had to text to ask him what his plans were, and yes he was staying at ……house but he had “Forgot to ask me (insert laugh til you cry emoji)”
It’s ok, I completely get how that could happen when his phone is constantly in his hand responding to texts, snapchat, WhatsApp and uploading to Instagram. Sure, of course it’s possible that he’s ‘forgot’ to text the one person who he should be sending one solitary lone text to??
How is it that I spend all day trying to dodge the constant demands from the toddler praying that he’ll nap for at least 5 minutes so I can draw breathe. Yet I find myself chasing around after my teen hoping that he’ll throw me a bone?!
The contradiction between toddler and teen has me getting whiplash. My toddler thinks I’m his world, he needs me, he wants me (even when he thinks he doesn’t want me, I know that he does) and my teenager doesn’t need me (unless he has his eye on a new phone/guitar/skateboard). He doesn’t see me. He doesn’t even consider me.
The parenting process is a son of a bitch, every time you settle into some sort of pattern, the parenting gods decide to fu*k with your flow and throw everything up in the air as a way to test your ability to change and adapt in the blink of an eye.
When the kids are little and they get ill, have you noticed that it’s the very day where you are thinking
I can not take another day covered in medicine that’s been spat back at me, pinned to the sofa by a child who may projectile vomit at any given moment nor can I carry the phone around hovering over the bast*rd 111 buttons any bloody more
The very next day, as if by some parenting miracle, you get up and they’re fine? Like it never happened?
It’s the same with potty training, with smacking of other kids (them smacking other kids, not you just randomly happy smacking other kids) and them behaving as if you are trying to kill them by feeding them green things. Just as it all gets too much, they never mess themselves again, they stop smacking and actually start playing and the biggest shock, they pick up the broccoli and eat it without so much as a wahhaaaaa, nooooo it’s poison.
It’s the same when they become teenagers. They plod along at school, you watch them establish friendships, sit exams, and start learning about themselves. You have to watch behind glass as it’s a delicate process. A teen needs the space to do these things alone, in their own way, but know that you’re there should they want/need you (and occasionally they do).
Just as you settle into this new slightly more hands off stage of parenting, nothing like the ‘drop everything and tend to them’ stage that you were well versed in from when they were younger, they drop you like a mother fu*king rock!!!
You hold NO weight anymore, their friends become their family, you are no longer behind glass, you’re locked out, triple bolt, lazer security maze and intruder alarms out my friend.
You’re so far out you don’t even exists in their own minds even. In a football chant stylee “who are ya”???
If you have one or more children who are all close in age I imagine this is a fairly organic process, you can evolve as a parent alongside them, evolving as adults, it’s done (I imagine) at a natural steady pace. But when you have a toddler and a teen you are having to constantly flip from toddler mum, to teen mum, from a you’re my everything mum to stop following me mum. It’s a real head fu*k I can tell ya!
The only saving grace is that I’m not a toddler mum and a Grandmum!! It could happen!! I simply can not be scrambling around the soft play one minute and then knitting booties sucking on a Werthers original and complaining about Fiona Bruce’s leather jacket, at her age? That is a step too far!
*This is the Grandmum I plan on being, obvs not all Grandmums are so stereotypical but I plan on being a right cantankerous old biddy, plus I’m secretly already thinking that about ole Brucey!
So for now (until the next parenting change) I will continue to tend to my toddlers every whim and harass my teen ever 12 hours or so until he is forced into some kind of communication with me, his hideously demanding, controlling mother/stranger.
Lauren is a Mum to 6 humans in her blended family.They are the modern day Brady Bunch and you can read more about her life of late teens and toddler tantrums at her blog The Perfect Blend. Her family is complicated, challenging, expensive and sometimes, just sometimes mainly when the moon shines a bright blue rewarding. This post was originally published at The Perfect Blend.