I will start off by acknowledging that the last week of school is always stressful. The schedule is never regular, there are often overnight school trips which mean less good sleep, and most of all, parents moving mountains to get the teenagers to all the school and social engagements that come with the last week of the school year.
But damn, last week was HARD. Even the usually calm and easy going teen lashed out at me.
Example one: the teen girl asked on Thursday on the way home from school if we could stop by Wal Mart so she could get her advisor an end of year gift. I was thinking a card or trinket, but instead she went to the art section and got a paint set and a stretched canvas. She said she was going to paint him a scene from Wyoming. Note: her advisor grew up in Wyoming and has told the advisee group amazing stories about it. A few hours later, she came downstairs with her painting – the featured blog post picture. I was blown away. I had no idea she could paint like that, so I asked her how she did it. Apparently, she watched a Bob Ross video tutorial to paint the picture. Amazing, right? And like all things I think are amazing with my kiddos, I took a picture and shared on old people social media (AKA Facebook). As I was sharing with her that my friends would actually pay her to paint scenes like the one she painted for her advisor… She. Freaked. Out. Crying and screaming about how I violated her privacy by sharing something that was so ugly. For real? I took the high road, but added that she did not dictate what I shared on old people social media. WTF!
Example two: Friday morning, the last morning we had to do our usually painful morning routine. Note: I would love to use natural consequences for not being ready for school on time, but we live 30 mins from school and carpool with another family. If we are late, then not only are all the kids late for school, but the amazing mom that takes my kids to school 4 of out of 5 mornings a week will also be late for work. This means that I have to scream at my oldest to get up, get dressed, get downstairs on time. That last morning was awful, and I did not figure out why until I was driving away from carpool drop off hoping that was not our last verbal exchange as mom and son. Last week of school = no homework = he most likely stayed up past his bedtime gaming with friends online. Oh, and this was after camping away from home for a week.
Now, intellectually I know that children, especially teenagers, save their worst selves for their moms, but that did not make my week any better. Both teens apologized for their behaviors and acknowledged that they overreacted. But here is the real question. Why are moms the proverbial punching bag for grumpy teens? Why not dads? Do they feel safer with moms, or am I just a spineless mom who lets her kids run all over her? I don’t think that is me, but after this week I am rethinking.
I am glad that they both apologized and accepted their consequences, but that in the moment lashing out at me really hit me hard. I think we all need a more relaxed schedule for a while, but help me fellow parents of teens. Do your teens lash out and apologize? Do you accept the apologies as lessons of learning how to manage stress and lack of sleep? Please tell me I am not the only mom who is the proverbial punching bag for grumpy teens.
Want to chat about parenting in the teenage years? Check out the Let’s Talk Parenting link and get in touch. I would love to talk with you.