You know how your parents always used to say, “You’ll thank me when you’re older?” And it was usually right before or after they did something annoying, like lay down some silly rule about curfews or dating. As soon as they said it, I knew I wouldn’t thank them when I was older. I would still find them just as annoying even years later after reflection and adult growth.
Well. I’m navigating being a mom to two teens and a toddler (sounds like a scary movie), and I’m beginning to echo those annoying parent words that I knew I would never say. Here are just a few gems that now seem to ring true years later.
1. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
How annoying! ALL the good things happen after midnight when you’re a teenager or young adult. But I get it now. I’m convinced there is some sort of scientific research to support this fact, that you can only get into trouble with after midnight activities. Surely it has something to do with sleep deprivation, the position of the moon, something. And by the same token, surely no teen shenanigans would take place in the safe space before 11:59 p.m.?!
2. Take Some Advil and Put Some Ice on it
Like, Dad, my arm is literally broken. “You’re fine, just take an Advil and put some ice on it.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard this and thought I was dealing with a crazy person. My version is “shake it off,” “you’re fine,” or something similar. I’m realizing now that was his way of telling us to take a deep breath and a minute to consider being slightly less dramatic, but GOSH, Dad, I stubbed my toe!
3. I’m Not You’re Friend, I’m You’re Parent
My friends had the coolest parents. Parents with limited rules who were more like one of the gang than an adult twice our age. This is so hard, especially with teenagers. I struggle so much between wanting to be a “cool” adult who listens without freaking out, but on the inside, I AM FREAKING OUT! How are these BABIES possibly ready for this?!?! But I also don’t want to panic or be unreasonable and close off communication by making them feel bad. It’s a hard balance, and I understand now why this is such a difficult position. I’m ultimately just constantly proving how uncool I am.
4. You Don’t NEED it, You WANT it
This distinction was always so frustrating. And they were right, I didn’t NEED the thing, but doesn’t wanting something bad enough turn it into a NEED?! I get it now. The toddler still just wants everything, but I know we’re nearing the stage where the justification turns to “need” and me turning into my parents.
5. If You (do this thing), You Can (have that thing later)
Oh bribery. I don’t remember explicitly being bribed, but I’m sure it happened. I more specifically remember me not doing whatever the thing was and then not getting the thing I wanted. I’m not sure this is a good policy to begin with the dictator toddler, but sometimes the promise of the cookie is the only thing that gets me a cart full or groceries.
Oh well. I turned out OK, right?! Surely my kiddos won’t suffer too dearly from my parenting like my parents some of the time. Just take an Advil, and put some ice on it. You’ll be OK.