I have four children, three of whom are adults and have (thankfully) flown the coop. I thought I had this whole, raising-teenagers-in-a-stress- free-zone thing down. Even patted myself on the back for getting them off to college without an arrest record or a shotgun wedding. And then came wild child number four. This boy is the reason behind the industrial-size bucket of hair dye I use monthly to cover my gray, and why I am a gold card-carrying member of the local Wine-Mart. A typical morning with this kid involves matches, an aerosol can of cologne spray, and a plastic milk jug to set off the fire alarm … long before my coffee has kicked in.
THE GOOD ABOUT RAISING TEENAGE BOYS
Despite the gray hairs and minor heart attacks I suffer daily from my son, I’ve discovered the positive side to raising teenage boys:
You’ll no longer need to waste money on expensive theme parks with fast rides. Your teen will gladly attach your rolling office chair to his bike with a rope and pull his buddies down a busy highway. Like heart-stopping rides? This one’s for you.
Pee yellow will become your favorite bathroom tile shade because there isn’t enough bleach in the world to make those urine stains around the toilet disappear.
Like exotic pets? Great, because small critters love to nest in the smelly pile of laundry in the back of your son’s closet. Dirty dishes and half eaten cheese sticks will also invite armies of cockroaches to set up their vacation homes under his bed.
If you failed science in high school, don’t worry. You’re going to get a hands-on education about fire, electricity, and how much damage a potato bomb can do to your neighbor’s fence.
You’ll lose those last, stubborn ten pounds because all boys are born with noses like bloodhounds. They’ll sniff out every hidden cookie, potato chip, and even the chocolates from Mother’s Day that you tried to disguise in an empty tampon box. Your grocery bill will triple during his teen years but your waistline will shrink from the stress. Just be sure to lock the liquor cabinet before he turns fifteen.
Miss those nights of club hopping from your twenties? Relive your youth when your teenager hosts raves in his room while blasting techno and dubstep from subwoofers the size of refrigerators.
Even though there will be days when you’ll wish you could lobotomize your son or trade him in for a house-trained Labrador, just remember how much fun it’ll be when he has sons of his own. Grab a lighter and load up the potato gun. Karma has a sense of humor, after all.
THE GOOD ABOUT RAISING TEENAGE GIRLS
As the mother of two daughters who are only two years apart, I’ve witnessed my share of teenage drama. While raising boys makes a mother’s hair turn gray, daughters make us bald.
You’ll have to make certain sacrifices during this time period, like holding your bladder while your daughter and her besties confiscate the bathroom to take duck face selfies to post on Instagram.
If your daughters are prepubescent, here are six things you can look forward to as they greet the teen years:
You’ll save money buying feminine hygiene products in bulk every twenty-eight days. Mothers and daughters often share the same menstruation time during their monthly cycles. This allows the father a free pass on alcohol consumption and spontaneous man cave time.
You’ll have a free fashion consultant around the clock at your disposal. Teenage girls will convince you to ditch that sky blue eye shadow you’ve been wearing since the eighth grade and the eau de mothball parfum grandma gave you last Christmas. Your daughters will also trick you into spending your entire tax return on a new wardrobe which you will never see because they’ll “borrow” every bit of it, down to your favorite pair of Jimmy Choos.
Forget spending extra money on cable channels featuring reality TV programs. You’ll have your own live dramas similar to the cattiness on Housewives of Beverly Hills appearing nightly in your living room. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.
Teenage daughters will teach you how to twerk and drop it low with women half your age. You’ll discover muscles you never knew existed, but keep a bottle of ibuprofen on the nightstand if you expect to get out of bed in the morning.
You’ll learn how to perfect the fake smile when the first boy comes calling.
As a child, your daughter will clomp around the house in your high-heeled shoes and pretend to be you. As an adult, she’ll fill those shoes and become the woman you’re proud to call your best friend.
Word of advice: Hide the Jimmy Choos and save the sky blue eye shadow for your granddaughters. You never know when shoulder pads and parachute pants might come back into fashion.