If you didn’t already know by now, I am an exhausted mom with five children. Five children whom I love but five children who drive me crazy. I literally feel crazy any time they’re home.
They’re loud. They’re messy. So unbelievably messy. They don’t take responsibility for anything. I’m surprised that they’re able to breathe on their own some days. They’re rude. They’re mean to each other. They call each other names. They don’t want me to get involved in their fights and then they ask why I don’t do anything when so-and-so-sibling does something to them.
And me as a parent? I can’t get it right! Not that I try hard to win their approval. They’re constantly reminding me of all my perfections. You know that one time I said “shut up” and that one time I got so mad I left them in the vehicle and called them “assholes” and began to walk home? (Plantar fasciitis prevented me from doing so). Well, now they can say shut up to anyone whenever they want. And I’m sure asshole is used a lot too.
But I still do nice things for them.
For example, I buy them food. I make them supper. I taught them how to do their own laundry. My husband and I provide them with clean, dry, warm beds. And plenty of fresh water to drink and bathe in. We buy them school supplies and send them to school. I made the necessary medical appointments for them and drive them there myself. I take care of them when they’re sick.
So here’s the deal. My oldest two sons are 14 and 15 years old. Oh what a wonderful age, right? As a parent I probably roll my eyes just as much at them as they do at me.
They’re so mixed up! One minute they need you to buy them new boots or find their winter jacket, and the next minute they tell you to leave them alone because you’re looking at them like that.
They’re obnoxious at home. They terrorize the youngest three children whenever they’re not playing on their laptops or their phones. Let’s not get started, okay? We have rules which the teenagers apparently were born to break. Do their laptops sometimes disappear? You bet they do! Do they have to pay their own cell phone bills? Yes. Yes, they do.
So we’re working on it. I’m doing my part to raise adults who will not be lazy and do stupid things.
The kicker though is that, right now, they are lazy. And they do a lot of stupid things.
They drive me nuts.
So when it’s time for PT conferences, you bet your buttons that I’m going to be there.
Two weeks ago, I went down into the teenager dungeon to look for a library book that I needed to return. In a general sweeping search of the room, I spotted a suspicious paper. Hmmm, a report card. And a note that PT conferences are…TODAY! Tonight?! I cleared my calendar and studied his report card to see which teachers were a priority.
The 15 year old kid’s marks looked like this: 84, 89, 97, and 58.
58? What was up with that? I went to see the teacher and he had mainly good things to say about my son. He’s quiet and polite — wait, you have the right boy here, right? Yes, yes, he did. He just doesn’t take pride in his assignments. It’s not that he’s not smart. He’s capable. He just doesn’t “see the point”. <insert my eye roll directed at my son’s attitude> Yes, that does sound like my kid.
So all he had to do to raise his mark was complete and hand in four assignments. <eye roll>
Let’s just say he worked hard that weekend.
The other three teachers had good things to say about him. He’s a good kid. He’s polite. He’s respectful. He’s an amazing athlete (he got a 97 in gym). He’s a hard worker.
In other words, everything he’s not at home.
Then it happened again today. Not quite the same, but almost.
This time I had to book my PT conferences in advance. Thank goodness some schools take advantage of email these days to keep parents in the loop. Those schools understand how teenagers communicate.
Boy number two, the 14 year old, had received two marks of 99, one 97, another in the 80s and one in the 70s. Not too bad. But this time, every single one of his teachers talked about how quiet my son was.
Quiet! My 14 year old! Surely you must be joking!
Quiet, polite, gets his work done, good student.
“He should push himself to participate in class discussions,” one teacher asked me to relay to my son.
My response? “He participates really well at home!” My husband and I joke that everyday is a full moon with this particular kid!
Do you see now why I have to go to PT conferences? If my impression of my child was based on what I see of them at home, I would think both of my teenagers were doomed. Doomed to a life of crime and slovenliness. Doomed to be a miserable, angry adult who would be jailed for a violent road rage attack. Or involved in a hit and run. “I didn’t do that! It was their fault!”
Seriously! Or is it just me? Am I the only mother out there who only sees the worst parts of her child/teenager?
From my conversations with other parents, I know I’m not. But some days, it’s just too much for me to handle.