The Perfect Teenager

Recently, a friend of mine used the “P” word to describe her middle schooler. Not the Trump “P” word (get your mind out of the gutter). The word she used was “perfect.” I held my tongue because I love my friend and her son is honestly a great kid, but he’s still young. Hormones and high school haven’t wreaked havoc on their world yet.

As a mom with slightly older boys, I’m going to drop a truth bomb … There’s no such thing as a perfect teenager. The perfect teenager is a myth. A unicorn. A falsehood. An alternative fact, even. I was reminded of this today when I ran into another friend who was lamenting her teen’s behavior — a boy who is, by all accounts, kind, courteous and earnest, not to mention smart and talented. He is a “good boy,” but he is a teenager, so it goes without saying that he is also a hormonal, dramatic, capricious asshole at times.

Phone number, please!

Humblebrag alert: My boys are “good boys,” too. I’m often told how handsome, bright and athletic, as well as kind, polite and respectful they are. Even helpful at times! But I am a realist (at times, a cynic) and know this is only a half-truth, at best. At home (read: with me), my boys are less kind, polite, respectful and helpful. At home (again, read: with me), my boys are often temperamental, argumentative, uncommunicative and negligent. Just like most teenagers. It’s infuriating and exhausting, but it’s also par for the course.

I think I owe my parents an apology … Sorry, Mom and Dad!

Since I still have a few more years to go before escaping this teen stage, I’m trying to keep my sanity by remembering these four truths:

  1. It’s only a phase.¬†Like all other childhood phases, it will pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but once their skin clears up and they graduate from high school, my kids will magically turn back into decent, loving human beings again. I hope.
  2. It’s not all bad. Every now and then, they do or say something that fills my heart with joy and gives me a glimmer of hope that the end is near … until their moods swing back and they suck again.
  3. It’s not just my kids.¬†From what I hear, I’m not the only mom who sometimes feels unappreciated, disrespected and used by her own offspring. Maybe that’s why the expression, “Misery loves company” resonates so strongly with me.
  4. It’s not me, it’s them. I like to think that the reason my boys behave like responsible young adults in public (despite how they behave at home) is because of my good parenting. And even if it’s not, just let me have this one.

#parentingishardwork

My kids are far from perfect. Very far. But as imperfect as they are, I love them with all my heart. No matter how frustrating this stage may be, and no matter how loudly (and often) I bitch about it, I’d still do anything for them. Sure, I’d like to strangle them most days, but I will always have their backs. Always. I may be their biggest critic, but I am also their biggest supporter.

Selfie with my loves, last summer

– LJDT

Putting My Mask on First

I don’t like to brag, but last Tuesday, I hopped on a plane in the middle of the school week to visit my best friend in Florida for her birthday. I was only gone for 36 hours, but it was fantastic! I am a lucky girl.

Happiness is … celebrating over thirty years of friendship with this #bosschick

My husband agreed to pick up the slack for two days so I could take this somewhat spur-of-the-moment trip. I felt very Eat, Pray, Love — dropping everything and running away from my life, even if only for a day and a half. It was exciting and fun and just what I needed. Who couldn’t use a little break from their everyday life once in a while?

#adultingishard

My time away was both glorious and illuminating. Here are just a few of my brilliant insights from last week:

  • The lead up to leaving your family behind is hectic for a mom. In addition to making sure my roots were touched up, my legs were shaved and my bag was packed, I had to prepare meals, wash uniforms and outline the drop off/pick up schedule for the time I was away. A dad would have just left (not hating, just saying).
  • As a “just in case” person, I have trouble packing everything I might need in a small carry-on bag — and it takes me FOREVER to decide what to eliminate. What if it rains?!
  • I am like a kid on Christmas morning when I travel. No snooze button needed here!
  • It is very dark at 5AM and there are remarkably a lot of cars on the road at that ungodly hour … And just as many in the airport, too. WTF?!
  • The world is one big gym, but people will stare when you use the airport work space as a makeshift workout station. Oh well. #nevermissaworkout
  • Frontier Airlines is a cheap/decent option when traveling alone, without checked luggage. Just bring your own drinks/snacks.
  • I’m still perplexed as to why people clap when the pilot lands the plane successfully (read: does his job). Do those same people clap for their taxi driver, too? Or their dentist?
  • Florida weather and my hair do not get along!
  • Sometimes, a short break is all you need to get back on track. Asking for a break isn’t selfish, it’s enlightened.
  • Quality really is more important than quantity, especially when it comes to time. Make it count with deep conversations and even deeper belly laughs.
  • Bestie time is the best time — no matter how short.

Truth be told, this trip wasn’t just a present for my bestie; It was also a present for me. Leading up to my brief excursion, I was in a bit of a funk. My usual routine felt stale and simultaneously overwhelming. I was exhausted, stressed and bitter. This short break from reality was the antidote I needed to snap out of it. Yes, a day and a half isn’t much of a “getaway,” but it was the perfect amount of time to recharge and appreciate all that I have at home. Big shout out to my hubby for holding down the fort and kinda-sorta cleaning up around the house so my zen vibe wasn’t killed the minute I walked through the door (messes stress me out).

I know that skipping town in the middle of the week probably won’t happen again for a very long time, but I do plan on taking more local mini-breaks. A mani/pedi here, a coffee/tea date there, even a solo run through the hills followed by lunch at home while watching This Is Us On-Demand all sound pretty doable to me.

Preach! I don’t know who said this first, but it’s the truth.

In this crazy world of parenting, self-care is vital. In the words of the Frontier flight attendant, “Secure your mask first before assisting others.” It’s the only way to survive.

– LJDT